14/3/13 ABC; Michael Vincent, Lateline. Former policeman, now NSW MP, Troy Grant, has told the NSW Parliament that leaders of the Catholic Church in the Hunter Valley in NSW either turned a blind eye to, or actively covered up complaints of sexual abuse made by 35 people who were abused by one priest. Source: Lateline Transcript
TONY JONES, PRESENTER: A New South Wales Government MP has accused leaders of the Catholic Church in the Hunter Valley of a gross betrayal of child sexual abuse victims.
Former policeman now Nationals MP Troy Grant has told Parliament that Church leaders were responsible for “turning a blind eye, actively covering up” and “dismissing complaints” by 35 individuals abused by one priest.
Michael Vincent reports.
MICHAEL VINCENT, REPORTER: Troy Grant used to investigate major crimes in the Hunter Valley. One priest still haunts him.
TROY GRANT, NSW MLA (March 13): I saw firsthand not only the devastating impacts that one individual had on 35 young lives with the most grotesque crimes imaginable being perpetrated.
MICHAEL VINCENT: He says the Church let the abuse happen.
TROY GRANT (March 13): What I saw and what goes to the heart of this Royal commission was the critical role that leaders within that institution played in either turning a blind eye, actively covering up, the dismissing of complaints or the facilitation and the removal of the offender for a short time out of the diocese until the heat was off.
MICHAEL VINCENT: Troy Grant has already succeeded in getting a special state inquiry underway. Now he’s speaking in support of the national Royal commission.
TROY GRANT: Look, this is an opportunity for those to finally be held to account who should be held to account, to make sure the institution’s practices are in line with communities’ expectations and they no longer support or encourage the covering up or putting the institution’s interests ahead of the victims.
MICHAEL VINCENT: The Diocese of Maitland and Newcastle referred Lateline to the Church’s national spokesman on the Royal commission, but no comment was available.
The NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into allegations of clergy abuse in the Hunter is already underway taking private evidence. Public hearings begin on May 6th in Newcastle.