Scale of abuse allegations in Dunedin Diocese revealed

Abuse allegations were levelled at nearly one in five Dunedin Catholic priests since 1950, the church has revealed.

New research has been published by Te Ropu Tautoko, the group that co-ordinates Catholic Church engagement with the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care.

It revealed 26 priests, 18% of the 131 who served in the Dunedin Diocese since 1950, have been subject to complaints.

Proportionally, it was the fourth highest number in the country.

Of the 39 complaints against members of the diocese, 20 were allegations of sexual abuse against children.

The Otago Daily Times has reported extensively on several allegations of faith-based abuse in Dunedin.

In March, the church announced Dunedin’s Kavanagh College would be renamed after an investigation found its namesake, former Catholic Bishop of Dunedin John Kavanagh, failed to take appropriate action over abuse claims.

Male Survivors Otago manager Michael Chamberlain said the statistics showed the high level of abuse in Dunedin, and it was prevalent in most teaching orders.

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