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Dean to be unfrocked

14 September 2012

A RETIRED cathedral dean and a retired archdeacon from the diocese of Newcastle, in New South Wales, are among three clerics to be unfrocked after the diocese's Professional Standards Board found them guilty of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy in the 1980s (News, 18 February 2011).

The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Brian Farran, said in a statement this week that "some of the respondents engaged in serious sexual misconduct, including misconduct when the complainant was a child." The respondents had breached their pastoral responsibility, and had not shown remorse, he said.

The Revd Graeme Lawrence, who was Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, from 1984 until his retirement in 2008, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1998 for his part in the restoration of the cathedral after damage caused by an earthquake in 1989. The Revd Bruce Hoare was formerly Archdeacon of Newcastle.

The Professional Standards Board recommended unfrocking in 2010; but the Bishop's response was delayed when Mr Lawrence, and another priest, a Newcastle rector who has been banned from ministry for five years over the same misconduct, attempted to overturn the Board's decision through the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The case was rejected.

The police in New South Wales are now reinvestigating the matter. The clerics deny the charges.


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