Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Canberra-Goulburn update: positive steps

Apologies for the quietness, I've been ill and preoccupied with other things.

But I thought I should provide an update on the situation in the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese that I have previously reported on, particularly as they represent a welcome step forward.

In short, the Archbishop has commissioned an outside review of what occurred, and committed to making it (and the response) public.  Bravo!
Re. Independent Review following decisions about residential arrangements at Lanigan House
Mistakes have been made and I accept full responsibility for my poor judgement in deciding to place Fr Brian Hassett, a retired priest removed from ministry due to allegations of abuse, at Lanigan House in Garran.
I sincerely apologise for the hurt and pain that my decision has caused across the Canberra community over the past fortnight.
Last night, 16 March, I attended a meeting of parents, families and staff at Saints Peter and Paul primary school, Garran. Questions were asked, concerns raised and mistakes highlighted.
As a result of the failings in how this matter was dealt with, I have decided to launch an independent review of the decision to relocate Fr Brian Hassett to Lanigan House.
Barrister, Ms Jane Seymour, will carry out this independent review.
The review will investigate the basis for the original decision, the evidence used including the findings of the risk assessment, the key people involved in the decision and the legislation that was relied upon at the time of the decision.
The review will also examine my response to the matter once the location of Fr Brian Hassett became public and community concerns were raised.
The findings and recommendations of the review will be published in May 2017 and my response to the review report will also be published in June 2017.
I reiterate that as a Church we cannot be careful enough in the area of child protection. The lessons learnt from this experience must change our processes to ensure that such failings do not occur again.
The statement is slightly strange in that there is no signature on it, so we have to presume that the 'I' in question is the Archbishop, and not the media advisor contact or some other diocesan official, but still.

The terms of reference for the review can be found here.

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