Child sex abuse royal commission: Salvation Army commissioner took year to report that officer allegedly sexually abused girl, report finds

ABC News
August 3, 2015

Commissioner James Condon was supposed to report the allegation as soon as Captain Haggar was given the new role.

A Salvation Army commissioner failed to report to authorities for more than a year an allegation that one of its officers had sexually abused an eight-year-old girl, the child sex abuse royal commission has found.

Captain Colin Haggar admitted to sexually abusing the girl in the state's central-west in 1989.

After initially being dismissed, he was later given a position with managerial responsibility for children within the Salvation Army.

In a report handed down on Monday, the royal commission found commissioner James Condon was required to report the allegation to the state's Ombudsman in September 2012, as soon as Captain Haggar was given the new role.

However, Mr Condon failed to report the matter to the Ombudsman until December 2013 because, the report said, "he had received equivocal legal advice as to whether he was required to report".

The commission found Captain Haggar should not have been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel within the organisation.

Last year the commission heard harrowing details and accounts from victims of child sexual abuse that occurred in four boys' homes run by the Salvation Army in NSW and Queensland.

A royal commission report released in March found the Salvation Army did not protect young boys from being abused while in its care from the late 1950s to the early 1970s.

The commission said the boys who reported abuse were punished, disbelieved and accused of lying.

It also found the Salvation Army's policies and procedures did not enable the prevention or detection of child abuse, and that it failed to provide appropriately trained staff to ensure child safety.


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