Change Kavanagh College’s name

Regardless of the outcome of any investigation, Kavanagh College’s name should be changed, Dunedin lawyer David More says.

Concerns around former Catholic Bishop of Dunedin, Bishop John Kavanagh are the reason for the push to change Dunedin high school’s name.

An independent investigation has been started into the way Kavanagh handled sexual abuse complaints during his time as bishop.

More, who has been a barrister for 50 years and is Catholic, said regardless of the investigation’s outcome, the school should be changed to St Paul’s.

Kavanagh College opened in 1989 as a result of a merger between St Paul’s High School for boys and Moreau College for girls.

The Vatican was informed last year of the concerns about Kavanagh, however, because Kavanagh died in 1985 the investigation will be independently managed in New Zealand.

The Vatican’s scope is limited to complaints about living clergy.

A concern about Kavanagh involves his response when informed of the actions of former Catholic priest, Magnus Murray.

Murray, who offended against boys in Dunedin from the 1950s to the 1970s, was brought to Kavanagh’s attention in 1972.

Kavanagh’s response was to move Murray to Australia. He later allowed him to return to New Zealand and resume public ministry in the North Island. More victims have emerged from that period.

Male Survivors Otago spokesman Michael Chamberlain says he is unhappy the investigation is being conducted by the Church.

The church’s National Office for Professional Standards will undertake the investigation, which it has contracted to Christchurch senior investigator Micky Earl, of the firm Corporate Risks.

Chamberlain says he is hopeful Kavanagh College’s name will be changed.

“It’s coming out, and it will come out from others, how much blood Kavanagh’s got on his hands.”

Earlier this week Kavanagh College’s board of trustees chairwoman Barb Long declined to comment on the investigation.

The investigation is independent and the school is not part of it, she explained.


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