Anglican investigator found ‘more than enough’ evidence to revoke Peter Hollingworth’s holy orders


Updated

August 11, 2018 10:08:04

The former director of professional standards for the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne last year told a survivor of sexual abuse that he believed there was enough publicly available evidence to revoke Peter Hollingworth’s bishop’s orders.

Key points:

  • Vincent Lucas, who worked in professional standards for the Anglican Church, said there was already enough evidence to justify the removal of Holy Orders
  • He told an abuse survivor he couldn’t understand why Archbishop Philip Freier hadn’t acted
  • Dr Hollingworth resigned as governor-general in 2003 over his handling of sex abuse allegations against priests, teaching staff

Vincent Lucas was the director of professional standards at Kooyoora Ltd between July 2017 and June 2018.

In October last year, he told a survivor: “I just don’t understand why [Archbishop] Philip Freier … hasn’t just said, ‘That’s enough, you can’t be in Holy Orders’.”

Dr Hollingworth was forced to resign as governor-general in 2003 after a series of scandals over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests and teaching staff while he was the archbishop of Brisbane in the 1990s.

A 2002 inquiry by the Brisbane diocese found Dr Hollingworth allowed paedophile priest John Elliot to continue working until retirement, despite Elliot admitting to Dr Hollingworth he had sexually abused two boys.

Last year, there were more adverse findings against Dr Hollingworth from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which found Dr Hollingworth made a “serious error of judgment”, and failed to take into account a psychiatrist’s advice that Elliot was an “untreatable” paedophile who posed a risk of reoffending.

Later in the year, Mr Lucas told a survivor he believed that the findings of those inquiries — as well as a Supreme Court case — provided more than enough information on the public record to have Dr Hollingworth’s bishop’s orders revoked.

“I don’t have to prove anything. The evidence has already been examined, understood, and found over a number of years,” he said.

“I’ll present a complaint to the professional standards committee. There’s more than enough justification to prove [Dr Hollingworth’s] unfitness to hold Holy Orders.”

Mr Lucas told the survivor he was uncomfortable about putting abuse survivors through the pain of yet another inquiry.

“I met somebody in Brisbane the other week. She’s married and she’s got kids. Does she have to be put on a stage again?” he said.

Dr Freier is the Archbishop of Melbourne and is also Primate of the Anglican Church in Australia, its most senior figure.

A spokesman for Dr Freier told the ABC the Archbishop could not comment on complaints being handled by Kooyoora Ltd.

In a statement earlier this week, Dr Freier said: “My role is to respect that independent process and allow it to do its work, free of interference or public commentary from the Church.”

Kooyoora declined to comment. Mr Lucas did not respond to emails from the ABC.

Editor’s note (10/08/18): An earlier version of this story said the ABC understood Mr Lucas expected to continue his employment at Kooyoora Ltd beyond the expiration of his contract in June. Kooyoora has said Mr Lucas “chose for his own reasons not to seek a renewal of his employment”.

Topics:

anglicans,

religion-and-beliefs,

community-and-society,

royal-commissions,

law-crime-and-justice,

vic,

melbourne-3000,

qld,

brisbane-4000

First posted

August 10, 2018 05:01:47



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