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Teacher and diocese sued for sex abuse

A 25-year-old man is suing his former Christian Brothers teacher and a country church diocese alleging he was sexually abused as a teenager.

The man, who cannot be identified, has filed papers in the South Australian District Court alleging the abuse took place at a school in a regional city.

He says in the papers that he met the brother, who also cannot be identified, in about June, 1992, when he enrolled in the Catholic college. He says he now requires psychological counselling and medication because of the abuse and claims he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder.

He alleges the brother had daily contact with him, including during school excursions and on an overseas trip. He alleges the brother had regular contact with him at home after school and provided him with letters, gifts and cards.

The man says that during the events he became very attached and dependent on the brother, while at the same time becoming confused about inappropriate sexual contact.

The man alleges the diocese failed in its duty of care to protect him and was vicariously liable for the negligent actions of the teacher.

No defence has been filed and the matter has not yet been set for trial.

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Sex abuse protester smashes Melbourne archbishop's window (9/12/02)
Brothers make one-off payment to NZ abuse victims (4/12/02)
Bishops make fresh resolve to follow sex abuse response procedures (2/12/02)


The Vatican is maintaining near-silence on the dramatic visit to Rome by the beleaguered head of the Roman Catholic Church in Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law.

Cardinal Law flew to Italy after abruptly cancelling an appearance at a Sunday mass, as pressure grew on him to resign over his handling of child abuse by priests.

The Vatican confirmed that the cardinal was holding talks with the Holy See, but refused to give any specific details.

The Church in Boston is facing more than 400 civil lawsuits over child abuse claims and is threatening to file for bankruptcy.

"The cardinal came to inform the Holy See about diverse aspects of the situation in his diocese in Boston," said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls in a short statement.

Officials in the Boston diocese said they hoped to give more information later on Monday.

The Boston Church's finance council voted last Wednesday to allow Cardinal Law to take the archdiocese into bankruptcy, provided he had the Vatican's approval.

The move would suspend all civil lawsuits and force claimants to create a single group in a federal court. It would also set a time limit for the filing of new claims.

Vatican approval is needed because the Church's accounts would be opened to public scrutiny.

The scandal deepened last week with the publication of Church records which showed that the archdiocese had allowed priests accused of abuse to keep their jobs.


Exit strategy: Cardinal secretly travels to Rome (Boston Herald)
Rome: Boston cardinal in crisis talks (Independent Catholic News)
58 priests send a letter urging cardinal to resign (Boston Globe)
Vatican may sideline cardinal by naming successor (Sydney Morning Herald)
A church culture draws scrutiny (Christian Science Monitor)
A Law unto himself? US cardinal fights for survival (The Guardian)
Shamed church slow to see the problem (The Guardian)
Catholics blame Vatican as child sex abuse crisis deepens (Financial Times)
Boston's Cardinal Law in Rome for Consultations (Zenit)
Cardinal Under Cloud At Vatican (Newsday)
Boston Priests Urge Cardinal Law to Resign (Catholic World News)


Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is facing a police investigation following the revelation of 12 new child abuse allegations that he failed to report.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor is already at the centre of a police investigation into whether he turned a blind eye to the activities of the pedophile priest Michael Hill.

The latest allegations have been revealed as part of that investigation and also date back to the time he was bishop of Arundel and Brighton.

One of the priests involved, Fr Christopher Maxwell-Stewart, faced allegations of abusing a young girl in the 1990s but the charges were later dropped.

Despite being assessed as "dangerous" he has until recently been based in Kent, where his duties included chaplaincy at a school for young children as well as working at a secondary school.

Catholic World News

British Cardinal stands up to media on abuse case (27/11/02)
Catholic Church in England and Wales
The Nolan Review
Cardinal under pressure again over abuse by priests (The Independent)
Cardinal Cormac's letter to Westminster Diocese over 'media attacks'
Cardinal 'let alleged abuser work on' (BBC 26/11/02)
British Cardinal calls for Church 'honesty' (24/10/02)

11 Dec 2002