New South Wales police have launched an investigation into historical child sexual assault allegations linked to the Anglican church in Newcastle.

A strike force, codenamed Arinya-2, has been formed to investigate allegations of assaults by people associated with the Newcastle diocese of the church in the 1970s, including the handling of child sexual assault claims.

“As part of the investigation, police invite anyone with information to come forward,” police said in a statement in Tuesday. “The NSW police force has firm policies and systems in place to manage victims of sexual assault who make a report.”

The inquiry is the latest in a series of high-profile investigations into sexual abuse in churches in and around Newcastle. The police have not confirmed that they are connected with the new investigation.

In 2012, senior Anglican clerics Andrew Duncan and Bruce Hoare, as well as the former dean of Newcastle, Graeme Lawrence, were defrocked over allegations they were involved in group-sex sessions with a teenager. A fourth priest, Graham Sturt, was given a five-year ban from exercising ministry and a schoolteacher, Geoffrey Goyette, was disciplined over the alleged abuse.

Newcastle’s Anglican bishop, Brian Farran, said at the time that open hearings before the church’s professional standards board had “considered some very disturbing material and determined that some of the respondents engaged in serious sexual misconduct including misconduct when the complainant was a child”.

The board found that Duncan began an “ongoing sexual relationship” with the boy, who was 14 at the time, in 1979, which continued for five years. The priests and the schoolteacher reportedly denied the allegations.

The alleged victim, identified only as “M”, was found to be a credible witness and received an apology from the diocese.

“Speaking the truth is the right thing to do; it sets us free from the cruel pain associated with so many lies and deceptions,” M said in a statement.

The NSW police investigated the claims in 2012, but laid no charges.

Article source: The Guardian 26/8/14

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