Sacked Toowooma bishop expected at sex abuse enquiry in Brisbane

Sacked former Bishop of Toowoomba, Bill Morris, is expected to give testimony at the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Brisbane.

Before being sacked by Pope Benedict over ongoing doctrinal issues, Morris, formally admitted Catholic Church liability, opening the door to a large compensation payout to 13 schoolgirls.

The Brisbane hearing is the first time the Royal Commission will be held outside Sydney

High on the Commission’s agenda is an investigation into a pedophile teacher’s continued access to primary school children despite Catholic education authorities knowing he was a risk.

The hearing at the Brisbane Magistrates Court will inquire into the response of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Toowoomba, to allegations of child sexual abuse against teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes at St Saviour’s Primary School in 2007.

Byrnes was jailed for 10 years in 2010 after pleading guilty to 33 counts of indecent dealing with children under the age of 12, 10 counts of rape and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 12.


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