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New church abuse claim

Tasmania's Catholic Archdiocese is responding to new allegations of child abuse, with a newspaper report today documenting the standing down of a senior parish priest.

The incident arises from claims by a 32 year old former Hobart man who now lives in Melbourne. Derrum Kearns says he first told Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle of the allegations in mid-2001 of his alleged abuse at the hands of a Hobart priest as a teenager.

The Mercury newspaper reports that following further letters and the threat of legal action, the priest stepped aside from his duties two months ago. The allegations have been handed to Tasmania Police.

Mr Kearns has called on Archbishop Doyle to resign over the issue, saying there has never been a denial by the church about the allegations. He said he was indecently assaulted by the priest for four years, from age 14, and most of these events occurred in the anteroom of a Hobart chapel.

The church has not commented on the claims.

Archbishop Doyle wrote to Kearns in April informing him that the accused priest had "taken leave of the parish" for six months to receive "professional counselling and whatever assistance may be helpful for him to address this issue openly and honestly".

The Mercury

Archdiocese of Hobart

11 Aug 2003