Hollingworth allegations ‘under investigation’
QUEENSLAND Police are reportedly reviewing serious allegations against former governor-general Bishop Peter Hollingworth linked to his handling of sexual abuse cases, Seven News says.
Police told Seven News they had received information and are investigating alleged evidence that relates to allegations that Dr Hollingworth failed to act on sexual abuse allegations against priests and teaching staff in the 1990s, when he was Anglican archbishop of Brisbane.
Last week, Victorian Reason Party MP Fiona Patten backed calls for Dr Hollingworth to stand down amid reports of survivor complaints about his continued status in the church.
In a statement last Wednesday, the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne rejected any implication it ignored complaints about Bishop Hollingworth. "All complaints against clergy are taken very seriously," the church said. The former Brisbane archbishop became governor-general in 2001 before resigning in 2003 following pressure over his handing of child abuse cases. He apologised in 2016 during the child sexual abuse royal commission for failing to take action against paedophile priest John Elliot.
The commission last year found Dr Hollingworth made a serious error in judgment in allowing Elliot to remain in the ministry following an abuse complaint. It also found he failed to take into account psychiatric advice that Elliot was an untreatable paedophile.
Ms Patten noted Dr Hollingworth was allowed to continue working as a minister following his evidence at the commission.
"I question whether there is another employer who would permit their staff member to continue working with children after such allegations were levelled against them, and as an act of contrition he should be asked to resign," the MP said in a statement on Wednesday.
She also questioned how Dr Hollingworth was granted a Working With Children Check.
Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier said complaints against clergy were handled by independent professional standards body Kooyoora Ltd.
"My role is to respect that independent process and allow it do its work, free of interference or public commentary from the church," he said.