Hunter victims in trans-Tasman push for expanded NZ child abuse inquiry

Hiding behind a paedophile: victims push for NZ inquiry to expand Challenge: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is under pressure to expand the terms of reference of a child abuse royal commission to include churches.
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Notorious: St John of God Brother Bernard McGrath fighting extradition from New Zealand to where he was to face trial for crimes against children at a Morisset boys’ home.

History: Bernard McGrath at Marylands boys’ home in New Zealand in the early 1970s before he was transferred to after child sex allegations were raised with his order.

Jailed: Bernard McGrath in 2014 after losing his fight to stop extradition to .

Serial: Notorious Hunter Catholic priest Denis McAlinden, who was transferred within for decades and to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines because of child sex offending.

Legacy: An n victim of notorious paedophile priest Denis McAlinden.

Ugly: Catholic priest Denis McAlinden had a reputation for anger and terrified his victims.

Failures: The late Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Bishop Leo Clarke who was heavily criticised after the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry in 2013 for failing to stop the crimes of Denis McAlinden.

TweetFacebookIf they don’t expand the terms of reference it will be like St John of God has hidden behind a paedophile, and the New Zealand Government is letting them get away with it.

Mother and sister of Brother Bernard McGrath victim

Last weekPhilippines ambassador to New Zealand, Jesus Domingo, wrote to Ms Ardern calling for an expanded royal commission, in part because of the child sex crimes of notorious Hunter paedophile priest Denis McAlinden. The priest sexually abused at least one girl in New Zealand after Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Leo Clarkesent him there in the 1980s after decades of sexually abusing n children, and allowed the priest to retireto the Philippines in the 1990s where he lived near a school.

In a New Zealand radio interview Mr Domingo said the “first level of concern” for the Philippines Government was “n and New Zealand priests going to the Philippines and the abuse they may have committed”.

St John of God whistleblower Dr Michelle Mulvihill said the terms of reference had to be broadened because the order had been “able to slip under the radar over and over again without public scrutiny or questioning about how they responded to victims” and “still blames the media for all its woes”.

The n royal commission found 40 per cent of St John of God Brothers were alleged child sex offenders,the highest percentage of alleged offenders in any institution investigated by the commission. It advised McGrath victims it could not hold a public hearing into the order because of the risk of prejudicing his trial and that of a second St John of God Kendall Grange offender, Brother John Clegg.

New Zealand-born McGrath, 70, was sentenced to 33 years’ jail in Sydney on Friday after three previous jail sentences in and New Zealand for crimes against children in St John of God facilities. He was charged by Lake Macquarie detectiveswith more than 250 offences at Kendall Grange in 2012 and fought extradition from New Zealand only weeks after the n child sexual abuse royal commission was established in November, 2012.

His sentencing was two months after the royal commission presented its final report to the n Government.

Sydney District Court Judge Sarah Huggett said she had “no doubt at all that systemic abuse of children at Kendall Grange was taking place” during the period of McGrath’s offending between 1978 and 1986.

Judge Huggett said that “appallingly” McGrath was transferred from St John of God’s Marylands school near Christchurch toKendall Grangein late 1977 “when allegations were made about his conduct at Marylands School”.

Dr Mulvihill said evidence at trials in St John of God facilities in New Zealand and showed the need for the New Zealand royal commission to investigate the order, where the current terms of reference restrictedcomplaints to boys at Marylands under state care.

“Surely it is timethe New Zealand Government stood up to this orderand demanded answers,” Dr Mulvihill said.

Long-term Catholic Church whistleblower priestTom Doyle, who is advising and supporting child abuse victims in New Zealand and ,said a royal commission had to expand to cover all church facilities “because they are the worst offenders”.

Hunter man John, a victim of McGrath who suffered severe, painful and humiliating sexual, physical and emotional abuse at Kendall Grange from the age of nine, said churches would be “getting away with it” if the terms of reference weren’t expanded.

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