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Sex abuse protester smashes Melbourne archbishop's window

A woman smashed a window and trespassed at the residence of Archbishop Denis Hart to protest against her alleged abuse by a priest, a court was told on Friday.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard Anne Furness, 45, of South Yarra, threw rocks at the private residence of Archbishop Denis Hart last Wednesday, breaking a second-floor window worth $500 before calling police herself.

The next day, she walked onto the suburban Kew property, telling staff she would not leave until she was arrested and that the archbishop, as head of the Catholic Church, was refusing "to give my dignity back".

Pleading guilty to counts of criminal damage and trespass today, Furness said: "My dignity has been taken away.

"There's been a reign of terror, it's very hard to explain all that's gone on.

News Interactive


Cardinal Bernard Law cancelled a public appearance at Sunday Mass as his leadership of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston plunged deeper into crisis over an escalating clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Law abruptly pulled out of the 11:00 a.m. mass at Boston's Holy Cross Cathedral, the archdiocese confirmed. Protesters had expected to gather outside to denounce the senior US prelate's handling of clergy sexual abuse.

The planned protest followed a week that brought more lurid disclosures of sexual abuse by archdiocese priests, and of church leaders' attempts to squelch potential scandal by shuttling accused clergymen from parish to parish.

Public anger over the revelations took on added intensity as the archdiocese threatened to declare bankruptcy as a way of dealing with the estimated 450 lawsuits it faces from alleged clergy sexual abuse victims.

Two Boston newspapers reported that priests of the Archdiocese had drafted a statement calling for Law's resignation.

"The priests and people of Boston have lost confidence in you as their spiritual leader," according to a copy of the letter published in The Globe.

The Globe said the group hoped to gather at least 50 signatures before delivering the letter to Law. The Herald reported that 50 priests had already signed the letter, and that it would be delivered to Law on Sunday.


Cardinal Law Wrestles With New Charges (Associated Press)
Boston Archdiocese preparing for bankruptcy (3/12/02)
Parishioners use power of the purse to protest scandal (Boston Globe)
Sued church 'ponders bankruptcy' (The Australian)
Bankruptcy Said Likely for Boston's Archdiocese (New York Times)
Archdiocese of Boston

9 Dec 2002