Innocent until found guilty

innocent until found guilty

A photograph of former St Patrick’s College Silverstream rector, the late Father Patrick Minto remains on display at St Patrick’s College Silverstream, despite a survivors’ support group’s wish for it to be removed.

“Unless someone comes to us or police with a credible accusation … Fr Minto is entitled to his good name,” Fr Tim Duckworth, head of the Society of Mary said in a 2019 email obtained by Stuff.

In the email Duckworth said that a group had previously asked for Minto’s portrait to be removed “based on … rumour”, reports Stuff.

Assistant Provincial of the Society of Mary, Fr Thige O’Leary told Stuff the Society is working on “framing a policy about the removal of photos and other honorifics of known abusers … following on from themes arising out of the testimony of victims/survivors at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

“The policy will need to include a wide range of considerations including that it respects the wishes of victims/survivors while at the same time acknowledging the rights to a ‘fair hearing’ of any whose photos or honorifics are to be removed.”

O’Leary said that removing photos at Silverstream was based on whether complaints have been upheld.

He told Stuff that in the case of Pat Minto the church had one complaint, and it had not been upheld.

The commission denied a request from the Catholic Church’s lawyers to suppress Minto’s name from the public record.

Minto, who was a teacher at the school in the 1950s and then rector in the early 1970s, was named as an alleged abuser last November at the Royal Commission into state and religious abuse.

A victim of abuse at Silverstream told Stuff he had narrowly escaped abuse by Minto.

Tina Cleary (pictured) appeared at the Royal Commission reading the testimony of her late father, Patrick Cleary.

Patrick Cleary died in July 2020, aged 82, before he could give his statement to the Royal Commission.

During Patrick Cleary’s submission, he named Minto and another former rector, Fr Frank Durning as abusing him.

Cleary said he did not address his abuse for 68 years because of shame.

There was also no one to confide in, he said.

It was not until homosexual law reform in 1986 that he laid a complaint with police, who took no action.

He also made two complaints to the Society of Mary, one of which was upheld in 2009, and Durning’s photo was finally removed.

Tina Cleary told the Royal Commission that her father did not want to be defined by the damage done to him.

“He was a farmer, a writer, and a rugby lover. He had high regard for what was fair and was just.

“Dad was really courageous and even in his death, he was courageous.

“He was a giant in his death, he was 10 times the size of himself”, she told the Commission.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Palmerston.

Tags: , , , ,