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Former Archbishop of Perth to be investigated

08 February 2019


Archbishop Herft leaves the Royal Commission on Child Abuse, in Newcastle, New South Wales, in August 2016, after giving evidence

Archbishop Herft leaves the Royal Commission on Child Abuse, in Newcastle, New South Wales, in August 2016, after giving evidence

THE Australian Anglican Church’s Episcopal Standards Commission has initiated an investigation into the conduct of the Rt Revd Roger Herft, the former Archbishop of Perth, when he was Bishop of Newcastle, New South Wales. His conduct was referred to the commission by the diocese of Newcastle.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found against Bishop Herft concerning the time he was Bishop of Newcastle, from 1993 to 2005, before he was translated to Perth. He resigned as Archbishop after giving evidence to the Royal Com­mission in August 2016. The Com­mission said that his response to child-sexual-abuse allegations in Newcastle had been “weak and ineffectual”, amounting to a failure of leadership (News, 15 December 2017).

A statement from the Episcopal Standards Commission said that it was “investigating the many issues which arise from the information it has received. It will determine its course of action as soon as it can.”

Its announcement comes as a former Archbishop of Adelaide, also criticised by the Royal Commission, has died in Melbourne. The Rt Revd Dr Ian George, who was 84, was Archbishop of Adelaide from 1991 to 2004 when he resigned after pressure over his handling of complaints of child sexual abuse. He had told a Royal Commission hearing in 2016 that he realised that he should have done more to help victims when he was Archbishop.

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