| | Archbishop vows Church will learn from mistakes
Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide said he hoped recognition of"serious mistakes", such as the failure to conduct a background checkwhen employing a bus driver at St Ann's Special School, would helpvictims and their families.
Therevelation of the omission of the check is contained in a reportcommissioned by the Church into the activities of serial pedophileBrian Perkins at St Ann's Special School.
The Advertiser reportsthat the former principal of the school at which 36 students weresexually abused lied to police about conducting a background check onthe convicted pedophile responsible.
Conducted by Adelaide QCBrian Hayes, the report found the church and its agencies failed toproperly exercise their duties in several crucial areas that resultedin bus driver Brian Perkins sexually abusing the intellectuallydisabled students.
Archbishop Wilson said he was satisfied therewas no deliberate cover-up of the abuse, as many in the community hadfeared and suspected.
"It shows clearly that we made terrible errors of judgment and we need to make sure they can never happen again," he told The Advertiser.
"Peoplemade wrong decisions, they did not see or respect the urgency andseriousness of the matter and failed to carry out proper processes toprotect the children and the needs of the families involved," he said.
On12 September last year, Perkins was sentenced to 10 years and sixmonths' jail with a six-year non-parole period after pleading guilty tofive offences involving unlawful sexual conduct with three studentsfrom the school. Perkins was hired as a bus driver at St Ann's in 1986and worked there until 1991, when he fled South Australia after policediscovered evidence of his offending.
Archbishop Wilsonannounced the inquiry in August last year, with its main focus beinghow Perkins gained employment, whether there was any knowledge of hisbackground and how the matter was handled when the allegations wereraised in 1991.
Lies, lies, lies (The Advertiser 3/6/04)
Pedophile bus driver unchecked (The Advertiser 3/6/04)
Victims undecided over suing Catholic Church (ABC 2/6/04)
Adelaide archbishop welcomes paedophile's "appropriate" jail sentence (CathNews 13/9/03)
Church faces class action by parents for damages (5/8/03)
Parents threaten Catholic Church in South Australia (30/4/02)
Adelaide archbishop leads Rome abuse meeting (CathNews 31/5/04)
Archbishop leads war on sex abuse (Catholic Weekly 6/6/04)
Archdiocese of Adelaide
3 Jun 2004
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.Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia