Principal urges Pompallier College survivors to come forward

Survivors of sexual abuse at Pompallier College, Whangarei are urged to come forward if they wish to receive help.

Principal of Pompallier College, Whangarei, Richard Stanton told RNZ, Friday, that a former pupil approached him saying he had been raped by a priest at the college in the late 1970’s early 1980’s.

The former pupil did not name the priest, but Stanton did the maths and feels confident enough to name Fr Phillip Roberts.

Stanton also alleges the provincial of the Society of Mary at that time, moved Roberts from St Augustines College, Wanganui, to Pompallier College with the knowledge he had offended previously.

“It seems they had clear knowledge of the abuse, so why was he moved to our school?,” The NZ Herald reports Stanton as saying.

“I assume it was known back then of his abuse while he was at St Augustine’s, before he was moved here”, Stanton said.

Pompallier College celebrates its 50th Jubilee in June on Queen’s Birthday weekend.

The NZ Herald understands the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care has at least one complaint of abuse by Roberts.

When pressed by RNZ on Friday, the current provincial of the Society of Mary, Fr Tim Duckworth said: “All documents and other matters related to abuse by priests in the Society of Mary have been provided to the Royal Commission for Abuse in Care, in accordance with requests from the Commission.

“I will not be commenting in the media about matters before the Royal Commission.”

At the Royal Commission Duckworth urged survivors with information about sexual abuse to come forward.

“I think that in all spheres of abuse, only some people come forward.

“And whether we’ve got the tip of the iceberg, or half of the iceberg, or whatever percentage of the iceberg… to those people who have found it too difficult to come forward, I would say that if it is a member of the Society of Mary, I really do sincerely apologise if you have never come to us. If you want to come now, at any stage, come.”

Duckworth urged people to go to a counsellor to go to the police, go to a lawyer and get help to come forward.

In her closing submission to the Royal Commission, Sally McKechnie, Counsel for the Catholic Church borrowed a phrase from the Salvation Army, telling the Commission that the Catholic Church’s leaders in New Zealand are not going to “duck and weave” the issue of sexual abuse.

The Society of Mary’s sexual abuse contact person is Judy McCormack. Abuse complaints can be referred to Mrs McCormack on 021 909 749.


Where to get help

  • If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on: 0800 044 334 or text 4334. (available 24/7)
  • Better Blokes which provides peer support throughout Auckland, including a specific Pacific group.
  • Male Survivors Aotearoa offers a range of confidential support at centres across New Zealand – find your closest one here.
  • Mosaic – Tiaki Tangata: 0800 94 22 94 (available 11am – 8pm)
  • If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.
Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, News Shorts.

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