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Stand-off in Tasmanian abuse case

Co-chairman of the church's National Committee for Professional Standards Br Michael Hill has confirmed that a former Hobart man cannot have his complaint investigated until he accepts the church's Towards Healing investigation process.

32 year old Derrum Kearns told The Mercury newspaper that since a media appearance, he had been "inundated by people from across Australia who are bitterly disappointed by the way they were treated by Towards Healing".

Mr Kearns says that when he was a teenager in a Hobart parish in the late 1980s he was abused by a senior Tasmanian priest over four years. He detailed his claims in correspondence with Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle, from mid-2001. This resulted in the priest at the centre of Mr Kearns's allegations being stood down for professional counselling earlier this year.

Br Hill said the committee's hands are tied because Mr Kearns had rejected requests to take part in the church's Towards Healing investigation process.

"If Derrum wants to follow the procedure then we'll go through it," he said. "The church is saying 'Yes, we will investigate it', but we need a complaint under the procedures.

Mr Kearns said: "It is a disgrace that the church considers me to have never complained, even though I have written letter after letter. If that is not a claim of abuse then I don't know what is."

The Mercury

Archdiocese of Hobart
Victims group wants Hobart Archbishop's resignation (1/9/03)
Priest on leave after sexual misconduct claims (29/8/03)
Towards Healing
Archbishop says fine-tuning making abuse protocol more 'victim-friendly' (3/7/03)

4 Sep 2003