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Catholic order head says abuse allegations 'traumatising'

The Australasian head of a Catholic order accused of sexually abusing boys at a New Zealand boarding school yesterday described himself as "traumatised" by the allegations.

Br Peter Burke, head of the St John of God Order, is in Christchurch this week fronting up to allegations being made against brothers from its former Marylands residential school in the 1960s and 70s.

Br Burke is holding meetings with over 20 complainants, and in a radio interview yesterday described the process as "traumatising".

"I'm absolutely horrified and it's tearing me apart, but I'm determined to deal with it and bring it to some resolution," he said.

Four brothers from Marylands have had abuse allegations made against them. The order has paid $A261,830 to five complainants so far.

"I'm absolutely horrified to think this tragic and traumatic situation has taken place under our name at that particular time. I'm hearing stories of lives that have been devastated," Br Burke said.

He said allegations involved children as young as eight or 10, "which is despicable".

St John of God Brothers to pay out $3.6 million (13/6/02)
Hospitaller Order of St John of God (Australia)

NZ Herald

19 Jul 2002