Friday, 29 November 2013

How the Anglican Church and its Grafton Diocese failed Northern Rivers communities

The Anglican Church North Coast Children’s Home has been the subject of eight days of evidence before the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses To Child Sexual Abuse.

Most of this evidence points to a manifest failure by the Anglican Church, its clergy and Grafton Diocese's administrative body to protect those children in its care and under its protection.

It comes as no surprise then to find that to date, despite his history while an active member of the Anglican clergy, now retired priest Allan Kitchingman’s name has never been entered onto the church’s own national register of all clergy against whom a notifiable complaint or a notifiable charge has been made.


Newcastle Herald, 6 August 2002, Page 7:

Judge Coolahan said he accepted that Father Kitchingham assaulted the boy during a 12-month period and had been of good character before and after 1975.
Newcastle Anglican Christ Church Dean Graeme Lawrence had spoken in support of Father Kitchingham [sic] in court.
References on Father Kitchingham's [sic] behalf were tendered from Bishops of Brisbane and Bathurst, which were not publicly available......
Anglican year books show Allan Kitchingman was at Singleton from 1963-66, Wallsend 1966-68, Lismore 1969-70, Eureka/Clunes/Dunoon 1971-72, Lismore 1973-76, Mullumbimby 1976-81, Tweed Heads 1981-88, Tamworth 1988-97, and Darwin 1997-2000 until he retired.

Newcastle Herald November 14 2010:

The names of a number of other former Newcastle Anglican members will be entered on the church's national professional standards register according to the terms of a church canon in 2007.
They include Robert Ellmore, jailed for nine years for offences against children over more than four decades; trainee priest Ian Neil Barrick, jailed for two years for offences against a 14-year-old in 1998; Allan Kitchingman, jailed for offences against a 14-year-old in 1975; and Stephen Hatley Gray, 68, a former rector of Wyong given a good behaviour bond after sexually abusing a juvenile in 1990.

Newcastle Herald, 8 November 2013:

THE late Newcastle Anglican Bishop James Housden kept a ‘‘very careful watch’’ on Allan Kitchingman when the former ‘‘nightclub entertainer’’ and major record company public relations officer studied to be a priest at St John’s College, Morpeth, from 1960.
That was because of Kitchingman’s ‘‘earlier background and associations’’, the bishop said in a letter in 1968.
But when Kitchingman was charged with a ‘‘child sex matter’’ in 1968, the bishop offered his immediate support and pledged to keep him in the ministry ‘‘under a bishop who would be fully informed of the circumstances’’.
Two weeks later, in late December 1968, Kitchingman was interviewed by a Grafton Bishop and appointed to Lismore parish, which included the church-run North Coast Children’s Home.
In a letter to Kitchingman in January 1969 Bishop Housden wrote that he was ‘‘glad to know that the Bishop of Grafton was so kind and understanding’’.
‘‘I ... believe that you can and will have a happy and fruitful ministry there,’’ Bishop Housden wrote.
In 2002 Kitchingman pleaded guilty to five charges of sexually abusing a North Coast Children’s Home youth, 14, in 1975 and 1976. He was jailed for 18 months.....

Newcastle Herald 22 November 2013:

HISTORICAL Newcastle Anglican diocese files alleging ‘‘falsification of records’’, including those of child sex offender priest Allan Kitchingman, were found this year and referred to police, an explosive statement to the royal commission into child abuse has said.
Diocese professional standards director Michael Elliott has told the commission about an anonymous 2002 letter which said the ‘‘disappearance’’ of Kitchingman from a clergy list in 1968 and his subsequent move to the Grafton diocese ‘‘could today be construed as a type of cover-up’’.
‘‘This ‘disappearance’ was deliberate,’’ the  letter said.
In 1968 Kitchingman was convicted of an indecent assault on a male, although the commission heard on Monday ‘‘such an act is no longer a criminal offence’’.

Reverend Kitchingman was convicted in 1968 of one
count of indecent assault of a male while he was a priest
in the Diocese of Newcastle. He was sentenced at the
Newcastle Court of Sessions, placed on a recognisance and
given a two-year good behaviour bond. The Bishop at the
time wrote a reference for him, which he sent to the judge.
The offence did not apparently concern his priestly duties
and today such an act is not a criminal offence.
Nonetheless, Reverend Kitchingman was removed from his
position in the Diocese of Newcastle and the bishop
assisted him to find a place in the Diocese of Grafton.
The then Bishop of Grafton accepted him in the knowledge of
the offence and undertook to place him with an archdeacon
who understood the situation. Reverend Kitchingman then
moved to Lismore in the Diocese of Grafton where he became
assistant priest.
By 1975, he was the chaplain of the North Coast
Children's Home and had conducted evening services there
for several years. He had also had frequent access to
children in the home, teaching them music, drama and
performance, as well as in his pastoral duties.
In 2001, Reverend Kitchingman was arrested and charged
with a number of counts of indecent assault on a 12 and
13-year-old boy who was under his care at the time. The
indecent assaults involved Reverend Kitchingman
masturbating his victim and performing oral sex on him on
numerous occasions over a 12-month period.
He was sentenced on 5 August 2002 to periods of
imprisonment of 9, 10, 11 and 12 months for the first four
offences, to be served concurrently, and a partially
concurrent sentence of two and a half years for the fifth
and most serious offence. His non-parole date meant he was
to serve a maximum of 18 months' imprisonment.
At the time of Reverend Kitchingman's conviction the
then Bishop of Newcastle, Roger Herft, now the Archbishop
of Perth, was informed by an anonymous source that the 1968
conviction had not been put before the District Court. The
evidence is likely to reveal that he raised the issue with
the Office of Public Prosecutions.
The primary question for this public hearing with
respect to Reverend Kitchingman is whether steps were taken
to discipline him in the Diocese of Newcastle and in
Grafton after the conviction.
Reverend Kitchingman was resident in the Diocese of
Newcastle up until his conviction and then after his period
of imprisonment. Evidence will be adduced that during the
period 2002 to 2007 his name appeared in the Anglican
Directory as a member of clergy.

Q. Ms Cosenza has just received an email from your office
annexing, in relation to the national register, what
appears to be a national register report. I will just hand
up three copies for the Bench and one for Mr Drevikovsky.
The email we have received is from Ms Mary Phipps-Ellis.
Is that your executive assistant?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. You will see that this is a national register report
with respect to Reverend Kitchingman?
A. Yes.
Q. There is a note at the bottom there that says:
There is currently no information on the
National Register for a person with the
name ...
Do you see that?
A. Yes.
Q. The information we had from Bishop Stuart was dated
14 November.
A. That's right.
Q. So do I take it that it is correct to say that
notwithstanding that communication from Bishop Stuart,
there does not appear to be an entry in the register for
Allan Kitchingman?
A. That is technically a correct conclusion, but I don't
know that it addresses the substance of what Bishop Stuart
has said.

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