NZ cardinal opens inquiry into dead bishop’s abuse response

Cardinal John Dew (CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal John Dew of Wellington has asked for an independent investigator to determine whether the late bishop of Dunedin took proper action when he received complaints of sexual abuse. Source: Crux.

The Church in New Zealand’s National Office for Professional Standards has appointed Christchurch senior investigator Micky Earl of the firm Corporate Risks to conduct the investigation into Bishop John Kavanagh, who led the Dunedin Diocese from 1957 to 1985.

A statement from the New Zealand bishops conference said Cardinal Dew reported a number of victims of abuse in the Dunedin Diocese had complained that Bishop Kavanagh, who died in 1985, had not properly dealt with their complaints of sexual abuse by priests.

Cardinal Dew referred the concerns about Kavanagh to Rome under Pope Francis’s 2019 decree, Vos estis lux mundi.

“I was advised by Rome that the complaints about Bishop Kavanagh’s handling of abuse complaints do not come within Rome’s scope because he is deceased. I therefore instructed NOPS to undertake an investigation under our Church protocol for matters of abuse, A Path to Healing,” the cardinal said in his statement.

He said Mr Earl would investigate “what information Bishop Kavanagh held regarding complaints of sexual abuse and whether he met his obligations as bishop in how he responded to and managed those complaints”.


New Zealand cardinal opens inquiry into late bishop’s actions on abuse (Crux

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