News

Damning report on conduct of the Neerkol authorities

NEERKOL INJUSTICES: A Sisters of Mercy nun watches over the children at Neerkol Orphanage. Yesterday, a submissions report by Sophie David SC was released to the public.
NEERKOL INJUSTICES: A Sisters of Mercy nun watches over the children at Neerkol Orphanage. Yesterday, a submissions report by Sophie David SC was released to the public. Contributed Rokneerkol

THE Royal Commission Inquiry has released a damning report relating to the misconduct of government and Catholic Church authorities in the wake of the Neerkol Orphanage hearings in April.

Earlier this year, the Royal Commission panel heard from 13 witnesses, who were former residents at the orphanage between the 1940s and the 1970s, about their experiences of physical and sexual abuse by former employees, Catholic priests and Sisters of Mercy nuns.

Senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission Sophie David SC made her submissions in a report that was made public yesterday.

RELATED STORIES:

Neerkol victim's harrowing account of sexual abuse

Commission to review information after Neerkol inquiry

Neerkol orphanage victim continues her fight for justice

569 Royal Commission referrals made so far

Former Sisters of Mercy boss says victims 'changed my life'

Church leaders renew apology as child abuse hearing winds up

In it she stated every complaint received about a child at Neerkol Orphanage during its time of operation, and the punishment inflicted, was to be recorded in a punishment book.

The book was required to be produced to the director or officer of the Children's Services Department on demand.

Ms David's submissions report stated neither the Sisters of Mercy nor the State Government of Queensland produced copies of the punishment books from the orphanage.

Furthermore, she said in her submission that former Rockhampton Bishop Brian Heenan supported pedophile priest Father Reginald Durham after he was charged with criminal offences by authorising the Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton to pay his legal costs.

 

Ms David stated she believed Bishop Heenan's written response to the Ministerial Statement in 1996, when he referred to the allegations of sexual and physical abuse as "scurrilous" and "scandalous", was dishonest.

She stated that was because Bishop Heenan, at the time, knew of and believed the truthfulness of allegations of sexual abuse made by witnesses AVC, AVB, David Owen, AVQ and AVP.

"Some children at the orphanage did not report the sexual abuse to anyone at the time it was occurring," she said.

"They had little or no opportunity to speak with the departmental inspectors, they did not think they would be believed and they were frightened of reprisals from the Sisters of Mercy or Neerkol staff if they complained of sexual and physical abuse."

Bishop Heenan, who is based on the Sunshine Coast, yesterday declined to comment on the report.

The Royal Commission will now review Ms David's submissions. They will be considered for the commission's recommendations report to the Federal Government in 2017.

Topics:  child sex abuse, neerkol, neerkol inquiry, neerkol orphanage




EVICTED: We've goat to move you off GKI

ARE YOU KIDDING? Some of the feral goats removed from Great Keppel Island.

146 feral animals moved during muster on GKI

RAM RAID UPDATE: Fingerprints lead police to suspects

Stolen car allegedly used to ram raid three businesses overnight

Latest deals and offers

#SaveMarinaJoyce: How ISIS theory took over youtube channel

One young Youtuber accidentally gave rise to a conspiracy theory

Talking whiskey with Jack Daniel’s master distiller

It all comes down to the distillery

SIXTY MILES AHEAD sign with Eclipse Records, prepare new album 'Insanity'

Sixty Miles Ahead sign with Eclipse. Photo Contributed

Sixty Miles Ahead to release new album on Eclipse

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Queensland's $1 town goes under the hammer today

The township of Yelarbon is up for sale.

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Iconic Denison St building sold for close to $1M

The Swan Hotel building in Denison St.

ONE of Rockhampton’s most iconic buildings has been sold

Unique Rockhampton bar hits the market

HOT PROPERTY: Cuban themed bar Chango Chango is up for sale.

Popular Rocky bar hits the market.

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd