Remove Fr McInerney from Damascus College Board
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This is about protecting children.
Ballarat SO SAD
If you know children are being raped and abused, and you do nothing, don't report it to police and coverup for the abuser then you are an evil person. In Ballarat survivors have been calling for Fr Adrian McInerney to resign as governor of the board of Damascus College, Ballarat. In light of the Archbishop Wilson verdict (he was found guilty of covering up child sex abuse), they again call for him to go. Here is why:
McInerney was Bishop Mulkearns secretary from 1973 to 1979 and was a member of the his consultors. He shared a house with Ridsdale, and lived at St Alipius, which was on the same grounds as the school. He accompanied Ridsdale to court and gave character evidence for him. The royal commission heard that a student was allagedly thrown against a wall and allegedly threatened by McInerney not to tell anyone after he went to the presbytery to complain of being raped. It also heard that he allegedly knew of the offending of Fr Claffey when they were ordained, and that he allegedly knew that Ridsdale had boys stay with him when he was at the Cathedral.
The RC reported that “consultors and the vicar general were part of the same culture as the Bishop. They sought to avoid scandal and negative publicity and protect the Church and fellow priests." and " The most likely explanation for the conduct of Bishop Mulkearns and other senior clergy in the diocese was that they were trying to minimise the risk of scandal and protect the reputation of the Catholic Church" .In other words, they knew of the abuses of children, and they moved the offenders around the diocese. They knew, and did nothing to protect the children. The children were not protected. They were not helped. The parents were not informed. The Police were not notified. Effectively their actions facilitated the further rape and abuse of children.
Furthermore, when Fr McInerney gave evidence at the RC, he said that when he accompanied Ridsdale to court that he was shocked when he heard the charges (yet continued to give him a character reference). The commission chair, Justice Peter McClellan said" Father, it might be that what you are now telling us about your lack of knowledge (and reaction in court) may not be correct". The findings show that he was aware, as were the other consultors. So therefore he lied on the stand, under oath, to protect the church and his reputation.
The very first recomendation that the Royal Commission made for the Catholic Church was one affecting its' schools. You would therefore think that it must be somewhat important in the protection of children, yet nothing has been done.
"Recommendation 16.6 the bishop of each Catholic Church diocese in Australia should ensure that parish priests are not the employers of principals and teachers in Catholic schools." The commissioners’ discussion around this was that clergy needs to be removed from the positions of actual and perceived control in schools. This is another reason why he shouldbe removed, but all clergy should be removed from school boards.
I have had others tell me that he is a nice man, and has done many good things. People would say the same of ciminals in jail too. Mulkearns has had his name removed from all buildings etc. for his role. The former VG has stood down. The other consultors are either dead or no longer active.
I think that it is a bad look for the school to have someone who has been found to have known about the rape of abuse of children and did nothing about it, which resulted in further children being raped and abused. He could have come forward with the truth at any time, including at the Royal Commission. He could have made a statement to Police at any time. But he did not. So this isn't something that is in the past and should be forgiven and forgotten. Under current laws he could be charged and after the Wilson result, he may well be.
He is another who is refuses to see the harm that he has done. If he had any decency he would have resigned and stood down. He should be begging survivors and the community for forgiveness. The Damascus board and Principal has been aware of this since December last year, and despite further contact from survivors, they refuse to remove him. Perhaps if the community is aware, they will force them to take action.
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