The GreensNew South WalesMedia Release4 October 2013
CHURCH OPERATED UNDER ARRANGEMENT WITH POLICE TO SANITISE ABUSE REPORTS
Documents released to the Greens under FOI have revealed for the first time theinformal agreements under which the Church was working with NSW police for yearsup until 2003 to provide edited and sanitised reports of child abuse.The documents also reveal how one senior officer, the Commander of the ChildProtection and Sex Crime Squad believed that the arrangements under which theChurch had been operating for years were in direct conflict with the requirements toreport abuse under s316 of the Crimes Act. As reported on Lateline:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-03/foi-reveals-church-attempt-to-conceal-crimes/4997784Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:“It is clear from these documents that the Church had decided that it would notprovide crucial evidence of abuse cases to the NSW Police unless and until theywere ordered to do so by a Court."A key clause of one agreement that the Church believed was in operation withPolice from the late 1990's to at least mid-2003 read:"Church authorities shall make available the report of an assessment and any other matter relevant to the accused's account of events only if required to do so by courtorder."Mr Shoebridge said:“The Church’s position was not only a gross breach of its duty to protect childrenfrom abuse, it also appears to be have been in direct conflict with its obligationsunder the Crimes Act to provide this evidence to police.“It is appalling that the Church’s institutional position was it would not provide itsdetailed investigations on abuse cases or any incriminating evidence from accusedpriests unless it was ordered to do so by the Courts.“The Church had a legal and moral obligation to provide this material to police whichthey ignored in order to protect the alleged perpetrators of abuse.“It is equally remarkable that the NSW police seem to have accepted the Church’ssanitised and partial reporting of abuse cases for years, given the serious criminalconduct it was hiding.