Catholic Church admits moving paedophile Jesuit brother interstate after complaints of sexual abuse
The Catholic Church has admitted it shifted a paedophile Jesuit brother from a prestigious Adelaide school to another in Sydney, despite multiple complaints about his offending.
Victor Higgs was found guilty of numerous offences from the 1960s to the 1980s
A review has found he was moved interstate when abuse complaints were made
A prestigious college in Adelaide has apologised for allowing the abuse to occur
Australian Jesuit provincial Father Brian McCoy has announced the findings of an independent review into the movement of Victor Higgs in 1970 from Saint Ignatius’ College, in Athelstone, to Riverview in Sydney.
The former Victorian chief justice Marilyn Warren was appointed to undertake the review in 2018.
Her review found at least three complains were made to the then-rector of Saint Ignatius’ College in Athelstone, Father Frank Wallace SJ, regarding Higgs’s conduct.
It also found at least some of the complaints were conveyed to the-then Provincial, Fr Francis Peter Kelly SJ, prior to the movement of Higgs.
And the complaints were a factor in the decision to move Higgs to Riverview in 1970.
In 2016, Higgs was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault against two students at Saint Ignatius’ College between 1968 and 1970.
Last year he was also found guilty of 16 offences committed against students at Riverview between 1971 and 1981.
College apologises for ‘hurt, suffering and pain’
In a letter from Saint Ignatius’ College principal and rector to parents, caregivers and former students, the school apologised for allowing the abuse to happen.
“That a Jesuit against whom complaints were made was moved from one school to another is a shameful example of how these matters were handled in the past,” the letter said.
“We reiterate our unreserved apology to them that these events were allowed to occur and for the hurt, suffering and pain that resulted.”
Saint Ignatius’ College campus in Athelstone, north-east of Adelaide.(Www.Ignatius.Sa.Edu.Au)
The letter went on to describe the college’s “sincere hope and endeavour” that current guidelines would make sure abuse would never occur again.
“We continue to extend our care and concern to all those who have suffered from past abuse at our school,” it said.
“We remain committed to providing a safe environment for our students and to supporting anyone who may wish to contact us about past abuses.”
‘We are deeply ashamed and sorry’
Fr Brian McCoy also released a statement apologising for the “failings” following the outcome of the review.
He said the abuse of any child was contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and Higgs had left the Jesuits in 2001.
He said he hoped the findings would bring some sort of closure or healing to those impacted by Higgs’s actions.
“It is with much sadness and contrition that I acknowledge and apologise for our failings with respect to these events some 50 years ago,” he said.
“We continue to hold those who have been abused in our hearts and in our prayers and extend to them our unwavering support. We are deeply ashamed and sorry.”
Fr Brian said the Australian Jesuit Province would continue to review the report and consider any further action that needed to be taken.
So, the Jesuits were at the “move the paedo about” stunt in Aussie.
And if they were at it there they were at it everywhere.
The Jesuits are no different than all the other dioceses and orders.
Put the church first and ignore the victim.
No.part of the RCC will ever successfully police itself.
It will have to be done by the civil authorities.
I have a friend feeling that the Aussies will lead the way.
Well done to them.
The Irish Jesuits currently have an opportunity to show us how just and open they are as they handle the current complaints against Father Paul Prior.