Retired Newcastle Bishop Brian Farran Opens His Evidence

By Ian Kirkwood
Newcastle Herald
November 16, 2016

THE previous Bishop of Newcastle has told the Royal Commission he had “a terrible time” in the city and only gradually worked out that he had a “significant problem” with child sexual abuse in his diocese.

Brian Farran, who was Bishop of Newcastle from 2005 until 2012, gave about 45 minutes of evidence on Wednesday afternoon before the hearing was adjourned until Thursday.

He said he received no handover from his predecessor, Roger Herft, when he arrived, and said it was only after Michael Elliott, the diocese’s director of professional standards, briefed him and he met some people from the Wallsend parish – where the subsequently disgraced priest Peter Rushton had been – that he realised there must have been “some sort of network”.

Mr Elliott began his job in 2009. Mr Farran said he was “not sure, actually”, if he ever saw the yellow envelopes that contained the misconduct files: he “presumed” some of them contained allegations of child sexual abuse.

He had known Graeme Lawrence since they shared a house in the early 1960s.








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