Independent Inquiry Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference for an Independent Inquiry established jointly by the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, and the Bishop of Armidale, Most Rev Michael Kennedy, were announced on 22 July 2012.
The Inquiry will examine the processes related to the management of former priest, the then ‘Fr F’, who is the subject of allegations of abuse of children and complaints received from alleged victims.
‘Fr F’ was incardinated in the Diocese of Armidale and, for a period of time, was also engaged in ministry in the Diocese of Parramatta.
The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry have been developed in consultation with the former Federal Court Judge, Hon. Antony Whitlam QC, who has been appointed to conduct this Inquiry.
The Inquiry is underway and at its conclusion a report will be available for public access.
This is a not a statutory inquiry and will therefore not take the form of a public hearing. Consistent with standard processes related to a privately commissioned inquiry, Mr Whitlam will gather the information required in order to respond to the terms of reference.
The Diocese of Armidale and the Diocese of Parramatta will continue to cooperate fully with the police and all relevant authorities to ensure that any criminal conduct is investigated and dealt with appropriately.
Bishop Kennedy and Bishop Fisher are committed to ensuring that victims of abuse and their families receive justice and are treated with compassion and respect. Once again, the Bishops encourage victims to contact the police.
Terms of Reference
Taking into account the historical context within which the activity under consideration occurred, the inquiry shall examine:
1. The history of appointments, ministry and activities of ‘Fr F’ during the period of his priesthood in the Dioceses of Armidale and Parramatta.
2. The nature and quality of the management of complaints received by alleged victims of ‘Fr F’ when they were received by the Diocese of Armidale or the Diocese of Parramatta including the response of Armidale and Parramatta to:
2.1 the complaints received by alleged victims; and
2.2 those who were responsible for supervising ‘Fr F’s ministry.
3. The nature and quality of the processes that facilitated ‘Fr F’s transfer to the Diocese of Parramatta in 1989.
4. The sequence of events that led to ‘Fr F’s termination from ministry.
5. Information related to the 1992 meeting(s) of the Catholic Bishops Special Issues Resource Committee held in respect of ‘Fr F’s ministry.
6. Whether the action taken by each of the dioceses of Armidale and Parramatta in the management of ‘Fr F’ was appropriate.
7. Comment on any other matters deemed relevant.
This information can be downloaded from the “Bishop of Parramatta” page of the Diocese of Parramatta’s website: http://www.parra.catholic.org.au/bishop-of-parramatta/most-rev-anthony-fisher-op/the-bishop-of-parramatta.aspx
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