Church's high debt for abuse
Jeremy Roberts. The Australian. Canberra, A.C.T.:Oct 24, 2006. p. 6
THE Anglican Church in Adelaide is set to radically reorganise its financial
structure to repay a multi-million-dollar loan used to compensate more than 70
alleged victims of pedophile church workers.
Church insiders speculate the cost of the new debts could be as high as $17
million, a burden that has triggered the financial overhaul to be adopted at
the church's synod next weekend and revealed publicly on Friday.
In the past four years, the Adelaide archdiocese has been rocked by repeated
child sex abuse scandals dating back to the 1960s.
Archbishop Jeffrey Driver -- who took up the job a year ago -- was the driving
force behind a $4.5million settlement of legal cases with more than 30 victims
of former church youth worker, the late Robert Brandenberg.
But the church is yet to settle with a group of more than 40 alleged victims of
other church workers.
The cost of the abuse claims, legal fees and full-time professional standards
staff appointed to modernise complaints- handling is expected to grow
Archbishop Driver refused to be drawn on the overall size of the debt burden -
- which includes a principal loan and interest -- but said $17 million was too
He said he did not expect the diocese to pay more than $9million in upfront
compensation payments for the victims of Brandenberg and the group of more than
40 other alleged victims yet to settle. Negotiations were stalled because of
the death of a senior lawyer for the diocese.
Synod documents circulated ahead of the meeting -- which is the governing body
for the local church -- show that Archbishop Driver aims to overhaul the
financial structure of the diocese.
An explanatory note to members of the synod says the reorganisation of the
church's business structure "must take account of the changed financial needs
of the synod to fund the interest and principal repayments on the 10-year loan
commitment undertaken this year".
Included in the overhaul will be the merging of two managed funds, which
combined have more than $40 million in funds under management. The merger will
"further grow the funds and enhance returns", according to the synod
To raise funds, the tennis court at the historic archbishop's residence, in
exclusive North Adelaide, has been put up for sale. It is estimated to be worth
up to $2 million.
A church camp site in the Barossa Valley -- once used by the Church of England
Boys Society, Brandenburg's former employer -- is also up for sale.
A planned 10-year levy of 1per cent of income, to be paid by parishioners, has
already been disclosed.
for a listing of alternate locations.