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Prominent NZ priest steps down after sex misconduct claims

High-profile Christchurch Catholic priest and justice campaigner Jim Consedine has stood down from his parish amid allegations of sexual misconduct against women.

The former prison chaplain, champion of the underdog and leading advocate of restorative justice has left his parish of 17 years to undergo therapy in Sydney.

Bishop of Christchurch John Cunneen is sending Fr Consedine for treatment after receiving complaints from four women of inappropriate sexual behaviour dating as far back as the early 1970s.

Last week during a mediation, Fr Consedine apologised to one complainant, a suburban mother who claims he touched her inappropriately last November.

Bishop Cunneen told parishioners in a statement last weekend that he had discussed "certain historical allegations" with Fr Consedine, who accepted he needed counselling.

The Press


A prominent lawyer is planning a group action against the St John of God Brothers for alleged sex abuse suffered by boys of a former residential school.

So far, he says, more than 20 alleged victims are interested in pursuing action against the St
John of God Order, which ran Marylands - a school for boys with intellectual and learning disabilities until 1984.

But the action is also dividing the Marylands complainants, some of whom have faith that the order's ongoing negotiations will lead to adequate compensation.

Nearly 100 men contacted the order's Sydney headquarters in the four months since The Press broke the story of sexual allegations against four brothers from Marylands.

Br Peter Burke, the Australasian head of the order who has made multiple trips to New Zealand to meet complainants, said 70 of the men have "genuine and serious" complaints about their time at Marylands. He said matters were progressing as fast as possible.

The Press


Two well-known figures in the Irish Church yesterday added their voices to calls for an investigation into allegations of child sex abuse.

They were speaking in reaction to an Irish television program which reported the Dublin Archdiocese is facing 450 legal actions as a result of claims of clerical sex abuse. Prime Time detailed accounts of cases of abuse by eight priests, of which it said at least six bishops became aware.

Fr Aidan Troy, parish priest of Holy Cross in Belfast, said that the time for church explanations was over, and that an investigation now had to be put into place.

He said today: "I have to come out with my hands up and say listen, the time for explanations is far gone. There has to be a legal process now."

The Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh, said that everybody should face criminal proceedings for crimes they have committed. He told a radio station that if the structures of the Church were not working for its people they should be changed.

Bishop Walsh also said it would appear the Archdiocese of Dublin did not adequately inform its priests about a Church court's decision to defrock Fr Tony Walsh - a known child abuser - in 1992.

Irish Examiner

Catholic Church in New Zealand
Disgrace for Catholic Church (TV3 video)

22 Oct 2002