Former bishop of Newcastle to be expelled from the Anglican church

The former bishop of Newcastle Roger Herft will be expelled from the Anglican Church after it was found he failed to deal with allegations of child sexual abuse.

An internal investigation found he was “unfit to remain in Holy Orders” and should be deposed in relation to charges he failed to deal appropriately with allegations while he was the bishop of Newcastle. That’s based on findings out of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Steve Smith is an Anglican abuse survivor who had told Roger Herft about sexual abuse he suffered.

Mr Smith said he reported his abuse by priest George Parker to the then Dean Graeme Lawrence who told Mr Herft but Mr Herft covered it up and failed to report Parker’s abuse.

“There were a few things Herft did that were particularly harmful to me I reported him in 1996 and 1999 to the then Dean Graham Lawrence who as we know is now in gaol and deposed as well, he reported to Herft abut Herft covered it up and filed to report Parker’s abuse,” he said.

Mr Smith said George Parker then moved on to Ballarat.

“He failed to tell the Ballarat bishop that these allegations had been made and he, he just ignored it, it should’ve been reported to police at the time and he didn’t do it. He set about with others to discredit me and he lied to my face.”

“He’s got what was coming to him and as far as I’m concerned he should’ve been charged as well.”

“His failures caused a great deal of harm in Newcastle,” he said.

Mr Smith said since the royal commission he’s happy with how things are dealt with now.

“I still have a fair bit to do with the church, they keep in regular contact with me about what’s going on in the place and I’m quite happy with how they’re dealing with things now,”

“I’m satisfied that since the royal commission and since the changes that have been made in the Anglican church that it is a pretty safe place for kids now,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith added the report now and the Royal Commission made it clear Mr Herft always knew about the child sexual abuse and never said anything which is something he has to reconcile with himself.