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  Home :: 2006 July :: Victims of abuse question Anglican's $30m deal

30 May 2006

THE Anglican Church in Adelaide began transferring property worth about $30 million to its charity, Anglicare, within 18 months of a church member being charged with pedophilia.

Victims of Robert Brandenburg have questioned why the 31 properties were transferred to Anglicare when the church was aware it could be facing possible claims for compensation.

Last night their lawyer, Susan Litchfield, said the victims could not understand why the Anglican Church was now cutting costs to cover a $4 million legal bill from

Brandenburg's activities. "The victims have become confused when they have heard the Anglican Church is now borrowing money and has no insurance to pay for their claims when, only five years ago, it had assets worth $30 million," she said.

Brandenburg committed suicide in June, 1999, after being charged in February of that year.

The Advertiser has been told by the Anglican Church and Anglicare that money from any sales of the properties cannot be accessed by the church for the

Brandenburg payments because it is a separate legal entity with its own board of directors.

Anglican Archbishop Jeffrey Driver was unavailable for comment yesterday but a spokeswoman said the assets were transferred to Anglicare after it became a separate incorporated entity in 2000. The properties included a large beachfront holding at Port Elliot, St Luke's, which was sold by Anglicare earlier this year for $8 million.

Asked by The Advertiser if the St Luke's transfer could be seen as an attempt by the Anglican Church to divest itself of assets because of potential litigation, the spokeswoman said the two events were unrelated.

According to the Anglican Church's latest financial reports, it now owns six properties worth $6 million - including Archbishop Driver's official
North Adelaide residence, Bishop's Court, which is valued at $2.7 million.

A church statement provided to The Advertiser last night said the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide resolved in May, 2000, to transfer its other properties to Anglicare to provide "a financial base and the capacity to borrow funds".

"The issue of the asset transfer was debated by the full Synod," it said.

"The St Luke's campsite land was identified as Synod property to be included in the assets to be transferred to Anglicare-SA .

"Before the land could be transferred, the Synod needed to resolve an outstanding matter pertaining to the land.

"This matter was not resolved in time for the property to be included in the schedule of assets transferred in June 2000. The matter was subsequently resolved and the land was transferred to Anglicare-SA in August, 2001, in accordance with the Synod policy."

Land Title Office documents show the St Luke's transfer in August, 2001, was authorised by Bishop Phillip Aspinall, who was appointed by former Adelaide Archbishop Ian George to deal with the

Brandenburg issue after he committed suicide in July, 1999.

This included obtaining extensive legal and insurance advice about the possible risk of litigation.

Bishop Aspinall left

Adelaide in 2002 to become the Archbishop of Brisbane, while Archbishop George resigned in 2004 after an adverse independent report into how the Anglican Church handled child sex abuse allegations.

Archbishop Driver announced last week the total bill from

Brandenburg had reached $4 million, forcing widespread cost-cutting across the Adelaide Anglican Diocese.

The diocese is still facing another 40 compensation claims from victims of other Anglican clergy and officials, several of whom have been convicted in the past two years of child sex offences./p>  


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia