Victims outraged clergy can give evidence in private.
ASHLEY HALL: Victim support groups are outraged that senior members of the Catholic Church will be able to give evidence in private to the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into sexual abuse investigations in the Hunter Valley.
That privilege is normally only extended to victims of abuse.
But the Commissioner, Margaret Cunneen, has ruled that private hearings are appropriate because of the potential for criminal charges to be laid in the future.
Here's Eliza Harvey.
ELIZA HARVEY: Catholic priests Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher were notorious paedophiles.
Both abused scores of children across Australia.
But now a New South Wales inquiry with the powers of a Royal Commission is investigating their crimes in the state's Hunter region.
Specifically, Margaret Cunneen QC is investigating whether the Catholic Church and the NSW Police Force hindered the investigation into their crimes.
Scores of high-ranking police gave evidence at public hearings...
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.