Buisness as usual Christian Pedophile may remain priest after jail
Posted in the Brevard County Forum
#1 Jul 12, 2010
CONVICTED pedophile Robert Sharwood may be allowed to remain an Anglican priest after he is released from prison next week.
The Brisbane Anglican Church's Professional Standards Board, which is holding a special investigation into Sharwood's status, has written to his victim, now an adult, and invited him to re-present the evidence he gave to the trial, as well as evidence about how the events affected him.
The victim was warned that if he chose to give evidence, he could be cross-examined by his abuser.
Sharwood will be released on November 8 after serving one year of a 33-month sentence for sexually assaulting and sodomising the victim when he was a boy of 13 in Brisbane 30years ago.
The Brisbane District Court was told last November that Sharwood, then a 30-year-old priest, groomed and seduced the boy, picking him up at the bus stop most school days and having oral and masturbatory sex with him on 300 occasions. Anglican church officials knew of Sharwood's pedophilia, but despite that knowledge appointed him chaplain at the prestigious Brisbane Anglican private boys' school Churchie from 1985 until 2002.
The letter from the Diocese of Brisbane Anglican Church's director of professional standards, Rod McLary, to the victim says a directions hearing "relating to Father Sharwood's fitness to remain in Holy Orders was held on October 9, 2007".
Asked yesterday by The Australian if an option for the church was to allow Sharwood to remain a priest, Mr McLary said: "Yes, one outcome would be that he could be fit. We can't pre-empt the decision of the board."
The hearing will comprise a three-person panel headed by the board president, Supreme Court judge Debra Mullins.
Mr McLary said the board had transcripts of the evidence given to the trial in which Sharwood was convicted, but the church had "a process to afford him fairness and natural justice".
Church 'risks credibility' if pedophile remains a priest
THE Anglican church will lose all credibility if a convicted pedophile is allowed to remain a priest after he is released from prison next week, a child protection group says.
Robert Francis Sharwood, 62, of Brisbane, was jailed for 12 months last November after being found guilty of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in Brisbane more than 30 years ago.
The boy played the organ at the same parish when Sharwood seduced him through their shared love of classical music.
During the two-and-a-half years, Sharwood, then 30, molested the boy up to three times a week, including when he picked him up after school, at the rectory, during musical concerts, at their homes and in a car.
Sharwood is due to be released on November 8 after serving one year of a 33-month sentence.
The Brisbane Anglican diocese is holding an investigation into Sharwood's status and has invited his victim to give evidence, which could include cross-examination by his abuser.
The diocese's Professional Standards Board began the process last November, but no further action could be taken once Sharwood was jailed.
A statement released today by Brisbane Anglican Archbishop Phillip Aspinall said the board, headed by Supreme Court judge Debra Mullins, had determined that Sharwood should be "given the opportunity to make a submission before any decision is made on his future" on his release.
Archbishop Aspinall said the investigation was a process that needed to be undertaken.
But he said his views had not changed since he outlined new principles in 2002 guiding the church's response to complaints of sexual abuse or misconduct, which state offenders "will not be permitted to continue to exercise a ministry which exposes vulnerable people to further harm".
"The families involved deserve closure but we have had to wait for the legal system to take its course and as a church we also have to ensure due process," Archbishop Aspinall said in the statement.
#2 Jul 19, 2010
Peter Scott, 39 Melbourne Christian school teacher. Pleads guilty in Melbourne County Court to 6 counts of committing indecent act on 5 girls, aged under 16, between 1991 and 1993 while teacher at Westbourne and Williamstown Grammar school, in Melbourne's west. Court hears Blencowe, of Newport, encouraged girls to touch him through his pants. Judge describes offences as "bizarre and ludicrous". In 1980, Blencowe placed on 3 year probation after being convicted on 5 counts of indecent assault against 3 young girls at Dandenong primary school where he taught. In 1993, Blencowe accepted position as head of junior campus of Firbank Anglican Girls School, Brighton, where he worked until charges laid in 1995.
#3 Jul 20, 2010
A woman allegedly abused by a Westside pastor accused of abusing other children nearly 30 years ago said the church has known about the allegations against the pastor for years.
Dr. Robert Gray, 80, a former pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, was arrested and charged with capital sexual battery on two children last week after two women came forward, saying he molested them when they were 6 years old and attending a school associated with his church.
One alleged victim talked to Channel 4 reporter Melanie Lawson, saying officials at Trinity Baptist knew what was going on, but failed to take action.
Sandy, who asked that the station not use her last name, recently told investigators about abuse she said she suffered at the hands of Gray. Sandy said that when she was 12 years old Gray sexually abused her during a church camp, but she said she told the same story to church leaders in 2004.
Sandy said that back then she called the church because she did not think church leaders knew about the allegations against Gray, but she said, to her surprise, it was well known.
"He told me that in 1992 when (Gray) stepped down that he had confessed, repented and had gone up under disciplinary actions, basically, through the church," Sandy said.
So, almost two years later, Sandy said she sent an e-mail to the church again addressing Gray, stating: "You may recall our conversation by remembering that I asked you to look at your children and ask yourself that if it happened to your children, would you have made the same decision?"
Sandy said her e-mail was not the only proof she had that the church knew about the allegations. She said she talked with many of the accusers
One of the accusers gave investigators a letter on Trinity letterhead that Sandy said was signed by a church leader acknowledging the allegations, and even apologizing for Gray and stating the church was handling it internally.
"We have tried to deal with the situation and tried to take the matter seriously. While some people do not agree with how we handled it, we have tried to handle it nonetheless," Sandy said.
The church's attorney, Ed Trent, told Channel 4 that the only comments he could make about the Gray case are what's on the church's Web site.
The church has been assuring its members that neither the church nor its current pastor have been the subject of any criminal investigation and they have pledged full cooperation with Gray's investigation.
However, Sandy said, the church is doing too little too late.
"Until the pressure went on that's when they decided to do something. They were just hoping it was going to go away," Sandy said. "Well, the congregation has a right to know this."
#4 Jul 26, 2010
A former youth pastor here has been charged with forcing a 12-year-old girl to perform oral sex in a hospital bathroom, police say. Troy Glenn Clark, 34, of Lexington, N.C., has been charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
#5 Aug 5, 2010
William A. Beith, 28, was charged Thursday with coercing and enticing a minor into sexual acts and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes in connection with the disappearance of Gabrielle Grace Marshall.
#6 Aug 12, 2010
A former music pastor at a Scripps Ranch-area church who admitted to molesting a 14-year-old boy last year was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea Thursday, after a judge told him he would face prison time instead of probation. When Richard Abram Elliott, 31, pleaded guilty in December to child molestation charges, Superior Court Judge Roger Krauel told him a six-year prison sentence would remain suspended as long as he remained in a counseling program. Elliott resigned as an associate music pastor at Community Bible Church after allegations arose that he molested the boy three times between May 1 and July 14 last year. Elliott had just completed a one-year, church-imposed probation following complaints by female parishioners about inappropriate sexual remarks he made
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