Bishop ignored child sex charges

THE late Newcastle Anglican Bishop James Housden kept a ‘‘very careful watch’’ on Allan Kitchingman when the former ‘‘nightclub entertainer’’ and major record company public relations officer studied to be a priest at St John’s College, Morpeth, from 1960.

That was because of Kitchingman’s ‘‘earlier background and associations’’, the bishop said in a letter in 1968.

But when Kitchingman was charged with a ‘‘child sex matter’’ in 1968, the bishop offered his immediate support and pledged to keep him in the ministry ‘‘under a bishop who would be fully informed of the circumstances’’.

Two weeks later, in late December 1968, Kitchingman was interviewed by a Grafton Bishop and appointed to Lismore parish, which included the church-run North Coast Children’s Home.

Abuse victim says 'it's time to speak up'

In a letter to Kitchingman in January 1969 Bishop Housden wrote that he was ‘‘glad to know that the Bishop of Grafton was so kind and understanding’’.

‘‘I ... believe that you can and will have a happy and fruitful ministry there,’’ Bishop Housden wrote.

In 2002 Kitchingman pleaded guilty to five charges of sexually abusing a North Coast Children’s Home youth, 14, in 1975 and 1976. He was jailed for 18 months.

In 2007 the victim, then 46, settled a civil claim against the Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney, and attempted to seek compensation from Kitchingman.

A NSW Supreme Court judge was told the impact of sexual and physical abuse at the home, by Kitchingman and others, was devastating.

He had been drug and alcohol dependent from age 15, and for more than 30 years had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and a borderline personality disorder.

The victim had also spent periods in jail after his first stealing offence at 17.

Anglican year books show Allan Kitchingman was at Singleton from 1963-66, Wallsend 1966-68, Lismore 1969-70, Eureka/Clunes/Dunoon 1971-72, Lismore 1973-76, Mullumbimby 1976-81, Tweed Heads 1981-88, Tamworth 1988-97, and Darwin 1997-2000 until he retired.

In May this year, the Bishop of Grafton Keith Slater resigned and apologised for his failings in handling complaints about the North Coast Children’s Home.

The diocese had received allegations of sexual abuse involving staff, visiting clergy, members of holiday host families and other residents, he said.

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