Anglican Church in Tasmania covered up abuse


anglican church in tasmania

A judge this week ordered the Anglican Church in Tasmania to pay $2.4 million in damages to John Steen after the church covered up his abuse for decades.

Paedophile priest Louis Victor Daniels abused John Steen in the 1980s. John Steen told the ABC that he reported the abuse to then-bishop Philip Newell in 1987. He notified another bishop of the abuse in 1994.

“As a 16-year-old, I did my best to try to get Daniels removed from positions where he could assault other children. That didn’t happen.

“Again, I tried in 1994, when I was 23, to get justice — this time through civil action.

“That didn’t work very well. There was a [$34,000] settlement [paid by Daniels] and I was shut down by a legal agreement.”

Justice Brett of the Tasmanian Supreme Court described the abuse of John Steen by the Anglican Church in Tasmania as ‘serious and damaging’. He said the church made the abuse worse by its response.

“The extraordinary and almost immediate promotion of Daniels to positions of high authority and responsibility in the Church, and the failure to remove him from any position in which he could have contact with children… is conduct that was likely to impact heavily on [Mr Steen], and his emotional and psychological health.

“This impact was confirmed by [Mr Steen] in his evidence.”

Primary concern was to avoid public disclosure

“It is clear from Bishop Newell’s subsequent actions in promoting Daniels to higher office and not informing others about what he did, even at the point of Daniels’ resignation in 1994, that his primary concern was to avoid public disclosure of Daniels’ actions.”

Bishop Newell died in 2022.

Daniels received a six-year jail sentence last year after pleading guilty to two counts of persistent sexual abuse of a young person, which included the abuse of Mr Steen.

He has served two previous jail terms for child sexual abuse.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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