Assistant bishop set to be defrocked over abuse inaction

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – An assistant bishop is set to become the most senior Anglican in Australia to be defrocked after a church committee yesterday found he took no action when he was told a priest had abused a child.

Assistant Bishop Richard Appleby has 28 days to appeal the decision by the Professional Standards Board of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle to strip him of all roles in the church other than parishioner.

Appleby’s lawyer, Peter Skinner, said he had yet to receive instructions from his 78-year-old client on whether he would appeal.

The church investigation follows criticisms of Appleby in the government-commissioned Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which made its final report in December 2017.

Australia’s longest-running royal commission – which is the country’s highest form of inquiry – had been investigating since 2012 how institutions responded to abuse of children in Australia over 90 years.

The inquiry heard the testimonies of more than 8,000 survivors of child abuse.

The board found Appleby, as assistant bishop in Newcastle in 1984, did nothing after he was told by a victim, identified as CKA, he had been abused by priest George Parker. Parker remained a priest in Newcastle until 1996.

“I am satisfied that because of the conduct found, the respondent (Appleby) is unfit permanently to hold any office,” board president Colin Elliott wrote.