Church to audit plaques to identify abuse offenders

The plaque that was removed from Hobart cathedral last year (ABC/Peter Curtis)

Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous has ordered a full audit of all Catholic institutions in Tasmania to identify and remove plaques depicting convicted sexual abuse offenders. Source: ABC News.

It follows the removal last year of a plaque from the exterior of Hobart’s St Mary’s Cathedral which depicted a former Catholic priest convicted of sex offences. Victims of clergy sexual abuse had demanded the controversial plaque be taken down.

The artwork from the 1980s depicted the late Msgr Philip Green as part of a memorial to former Archbishop Guilford Young. In 2004, Green pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a former altar boy and was given a three-month suspended prison sentence

After meeting with another of Green’s victims yesterday, Archbishop Porteous issued a statement which said there would be a full audit of all Catholic institutions. The audit would cover more than 100 sites and was expected to take about two months to complete.

He said due to the large number of buildings, it was envisaged staff would audit their own premises. Any plaque mentioning the name of a convicted sex offender or has images in their likeness would be removed.

“The audit will determine this once and for all,” Archbishop Porteous said. “The Archdiocese of Hobart is not aware of any plaques depicting, or referencing any other priests convicted of sexual abuse.”

Former priest Julian Punch who was at the meeting to support the victim believes the audit does not go far enough.

“Most of those plaques have already gone, our request is much deeper than that,” Mr Punch said. “They need to set up an inventory of every place, every school, every catholic institution that’s been a site of sexual abuse, and that’s substantial.

“We’re asking for a program of redress to be included at any site that has been used to sexually abuse children and young people.”

In his autobiography, Gay with God, Mr Punch claimed Green sexually assaulted him when he was a student at the Corpus Christi College at Mount Waverley in Melbourne in 1968.

FULL STORY

Tasmania’s Catholic church to audit plaques to identify convicted sex offenders (ABC News)

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