Bishop apologizes for sexual abuse committed by clerics in Dunedin

The Catholic bishop of Dunedin apologized for sexual abuse by clergy against children in Otago, in an open letter to churchgoers.

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The Otago Daily Times has performed a series in which this and other abuse is exposed, and the cover of the church.

"There has been a lot of publicity in recent weeks about sexual abuse in our diocese, by Magnus Murray, a priest who used to work in our diocese, and Des Fay (now deceased) who taught as a Christian brother in Dunedin," Bishop Michael Dooley wrote in the letter.

"This is shocking and painful for many of us to hear and the damage to victims is particularly harrowing."

This comes at the same time as the revelations of widespread Catholic clergy abuse of children in the United States have prompted the Pope to promise to break the culture of the church from obscuring.

"The Church's treatment of past crimes is under control and we are open to any investigation to discover the truth," Bishop Dooley said in the letter.

He encouraged other victims to contact the church or the police.

"I apologize as a bishop for the suffering that victims and their families have endured through this abuse.

"These are crimes that harm us all in our church community."

The ODT has reported that a Dunedin mother, who is nameless, blames the suicide of her son for abuse by Br Fay.

The Catholic authorities have previously asked the government to include them in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in state care.

The government has yet to issue the conditions for the investigation, despite the chairman of the committee, Sir Anand Satyanand, who submitted his report on these conditions in May, but made it clear that it did not want non-state groups to be involved.

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