The NSW government intends to make a formal submission to the Royal Commission alleging two senior Salvation Army officers lied over their account of that church’s handling of a child’s sexual abuse, reports The Australian.
Cross-examining one of these officers this morning, the barrister representing the state, John Agius SC, said a letter signed by the pair describing why they were leaving a NSW country town in 1990 was 'full of untruths.'
In the letter, sent to other local members of the Salvation Army, Colin and Kerry Haggar said 'we are taking a break from the duties of officership so that we can spend time on our own spiritual growth.'
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard the pair were forced to leave their positions after Mr Haggar admitted to sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl.
'So you lied to them, because that will be our submission at the end of the day?' Mr Agius asked Mrs Haggar, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Salvation Army, who was recently forced to stand down from her position on its 'cabinet' of senior administrators.
'I don’t believe we lied. At the end of the day, you’re going to believe what you chose to believe,' she replied.
After leaving the country town in 1990, Mr and Mrs Haggar continued to live in Salvation Army accommodation, while Mr Haggar worked in a hostel for adolescent boys, the Commission heard. Both were subsequently readmitted as officers of the church, and both subsequently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.