13 February 2015
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has handed down its findings in relation to Case Study 8 – the John Ellis experience of the Towards Healing process and ensuing litigation.
The lengthy report made 34 findings following the three weeks of public hearings in Sydney during March 2014.
The Commission found the Archdiocese of Sydney had fundamentally failed Mr Ellis in its conduct of the Towards Healing process and did not act fairly from a Christian point of view in the conduct of the litigation against Mr Ellis.
Another finding said the Archdiocese failed to conduct the litigation with Mr Ellis in a manner that adequately took account of his pastoral and other needs as a victim of sexual abuse.
The Commission also noted in many of the findings the failures outlined had been acknowledged by those involved in the process during their evidence to the Commission and in a review process instigated by the Church and Mr Ellis.
Commenting on the findings the Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP the Catholic Church has been and will continue to be fully transparent and cooperate fully with the Royal Commission.
Archbishop Anthony said;"People, myself included, have been shocked and ashamed by what they have seen and read about sexual abuse. As a Church we must be completely transparent and repentant, genuinely sorry and determined to improve.
"I have heard the evidence and I have read the reports. We cannot undo the past but we can learn from our mistakes and I believe we are doing that. Now we need to put into place everything we can to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"I said when I became Archbishop of Sydney that child abuse in the Catholic Church has been a scourge and no one is served, not the least survivors, by creating mythologies about child abuse. There are no glib explanations or simplistic solutions. The Church certainly can do better and I continue my commitment to giving a lead.
"I think the Royal Commission will help us do so in very practical terms, for example we now need to look at redress schemes as well as the ongoing needs of victims", Archbishop Anthony said.
Full report on the Case Study plus comments here
Royal Commission – Ellis Case Study Findings
Truth, Justice and Healing Council Submissions Response
Report from Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
Report from TJHC on Ellis Case Study