Royal commission gathering evidence relating to Gloriavale


The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care recently announced it will investigate The Catholic and Anglican churches.

It is also going to be carrying out a separate inquiry into Marylands a residential school for boys, many with learning disabilities.

But other investigations into faith-based institutions are also going to be set up, as the inquiry progresses a spokesperson for the commission says.

The commission is now looking into Gloriavale, a closed religious community located on the West Coast with the possibility of an investigation into the community.

It comes amid revelations Gloriavale leaders forced a 13-year-old girl to sit in a room with a man who allegedly groomed her because their versions of events did not match up.

The family left Gloriavale about ten months ago as they felt the community was making the 13-year-old’s life “miserable.”

They had lived there for 40 years.

A police spokesperson said police were notified in June 2018 about an alleged indecent incident involving a young person six weeks earlier.

Police immediately launched an investigation, which included speaking to the young person, their parents, potential witnesses and the alleged offender.

“A resolution was reached that took into account the views of the victim and their family at the time, and addressed the safety of the young person concerned,” the spokesperson said.

At an Unmasking Gloriavale fundraiser held in Timaru, last Thursday former members of the community spoke out about their experiences in the hope of prompting change for those still living there.

The fundraising event was organised by the Gloriavale Leavers’ Support Trust to raise funds to help other families leave the community.

The grandson of Hopeful Christian, the founder of the Gloriavale community, was shocked to discover his grandfather had been convicted of sex offending and jailed.

He had been told Hopeful Christian had been persecuted for his faith.


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