Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Abuse: SJOG Bros oppose extradition to NZ/Canadian Court decision worry

Police in NZ say three St John of God brothers who are accused of sex abuse have indicated they will oppose extradition from Australia to face the charges. In Canada a court decision is causing worry that many Church social welfare services will need to close or be curtailed.

One News in NZ is reporting:

Police in Christchurch say three brothers from the Catholic order, St John of God, who are accused of sex abuse have indicated they will oppose extradition from Australia to face the charges.

Police have laid 47 charges against the men, aged 56, 67 and 81, following investigations over complaints by former pupils at the order's Marylands Residential School in Christchurch.

Detective Sergeant Earl Borrell says the Australian Federal Police have advised them that the brothers were arrested in Sydney shortly after Christmas and remanded on bail to a hearing next week. But he says their defence lawyer has indicated that the men will oppose extradition.

Meanwhile in Canada, the Western Catholic Reporter carries a background story on a looming decision from the Supreme Court of Canada that has potential horrific consequences for many Catholic social welfare endeavours:

The charity work of the Catholic Church and Catholic organizations in Canada could be crippled if the Supreme Court of Canada rules that the Church can be sued, says lawyer William Sammon.

Such a decision would mean, "every Catholic organization, whether it's corporate or unincorporated, whether it's lay or religious will be subject to being sued as one corporate entity," Sammon said in a CCN interview Jan. 12. That would "expose the assets of all of these charitable organizations to the endless liability involved in the Indian residential school litigation and other litigation," he added.

Sammon is representing the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) in a case to be heard by the high court Jan. 15 on whether the Church can retain the legal immunity it has enjoyed for about 150 years.

One News/ – Accused likely to fight extradition
WCR – Court decision worries church

16 Jan 2004