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Victims' group uses media to threaten archbishop

Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has expressed his disappointment at a victims' group's attempts to get him to act on alleged cases of clergy sex abuse my making threats through the media.

Survivors Confronting Child Abuse and Rape (SCAR) issued an ultimatum after a meeting with Archbishop Doyle yesterday. He was told through the media that if he does not take action within a week against a priest accused of sexual abuse, two of his alleged victims will out him.

Archbishop Doyle said in a statement late yesterday: "I am very disappointed that the media has been used to call for me to take immediate action when no such request was made during the meeting this morning."

"Despite no request being made for me to act I have, in fact, already acted to arrange a meeting with the priest concerned to put this second allegation to him.

"I have also asked that the second victim be contacted again by specialist staff to ask whether she wishes to take the matter further."

After the long morning meeting, the second alleged victim said she had spoken up because Archbishop Doyle had failed to take action on the first alleged victim's story.

In 1998, Pauline took her story to the church, but Archbishop Doyle left the priest on the professional standards committee until this year - which he has said was a mistake.

Yesterday, the second alleged victim said she was so shocked that she decided to tell Archbishop Doyle her story. "He was devastated," she said.

After the meeting, a visibly upset Archbishop Doyle refused to be interviewed, saying he had taken part in a "very, very significant meeting" with representatives of SCAR.

Victims' threat on accused priest (The Mercury 5/12/03)

Politician urges Hobart archbishop to step aside for inquiry (10/11/03)
Woman feared priest's power (The Mercury)
Catholic Faithful (ABC TV Stateline)
Bishops and wellwishers back Hobart archbishop (6/11/03)
Beseiged Tasmanian archbishop speaks out (5/11/03)
Marist abuse allegations (The Examiner)
Doyle stands firm amid calls for resignation (3/11/03)
Fury as Doyle digs in (The Mercury)
Archbishop resists pressure to resign (ABC/Yahoo)
Heat on Doyle to step down (The Mercury)
Tasmanian archbishop's remorse for complaints handling (30/10/03)
Hobart Archbishop refuses to quit over abuse cases (ABC)

Irish bishops welcome report on clerical child abuse (Independent Catholic News 4/12/03)
Irish bishops release study on sexual abuse (Catholic World News 4/12/03)
Boston archbishop's residence to be sold to pay abuse victims (New York Times/Contra Costa Times 4/12/03)

5 Dec 2003