Rev Dr Garnsey reads a statement from L Johnson into the transcript..

CS 52 Day Two 20 03 2017. Copy of Transcript (pagination and numbering removed)

THE CHAIR: With respect, so much is evident, but the question I’m asking you is really did you get it wrong in the past in relation to selection and formation? You see, Morpeth College itself comes under significant criticism because of the number of persons who, it is understood, abused who came through the college. What is your observation as to whether or not there was, at least in the past, a failure at the threshold – that is, you had the wrong people and you didn’t do the right thing with them?

REVEREND DR GARNSEY: I would like to refer to a statement tendered to the Commission by my predecessor at Morpeth, Reverend Lance Johnston. It’s in a document he submitted, which was headed, the section of it was headed “My Experiences at Morpeth”, and this refers to some of the reports that have been received by the Commission or have
been noted by the Commission. The first mention is a 7.30 Report on ABC Television which occurred on 20 and 21 July, and this is what Johnston said:

I felt an impression was given that Morpeth College was a den of iniquity,
which it wasn’t. I think the report said something like one-quarter of convicted
paedophiles who were also Anglican priests trained at Morpeth. If that is, in fact,
true it is obviously a bad statistic, but it should not be conveyed in such a way
that blackens the name of the whole institution and everyone associated with
it. In my view, the actual percentage of convicted offenders that attended
Morpeth College should be compared to the total number of offenders, otherwise quoting such a percentage could easily be misleading.”

Quote of L Johnson STAT ( …….? )

I support that statement.

.20/03/2017 (261) 26920 PANEL 2.1 Transcript produced by DTI

THE CHAIR: Well then, could you answer my question. Did you fail to properly select and form priests or clergy for the Anglican Church in prior times?

REVEREND DR GARNSEY: I can only speak with authority on the 11 years for which I was principal and I could say that I do not know of any cases of people who passed through the college in my 11 years there that offended.

THE CHAIR: But what about the church generally? You have been in the church for a long time.


THE CHAIR: What’s your observation as to why it was that clergy have failed in this area and could it be attributed to poor selection and poor training?

REVEREND DR GARNSEY: I would take the same stance as I think Bishop Tim Harris has  taken, in this respect, that in earlier times – and I think probably during the 1980s as well – I think people in authority, both clergy, priests and bishops, assumed that the most important thing was to guarantee the reputation of the church, and that led to, I think, some cases where abuses were not properly dealt with. I agree with that.

20/03/2017 (261) 26920 PANEL 2.1 Transcript produced by DTI

Note Prof Parkinson in his testimony on 1703 Day One CS 52 covers the Statistics in regard to Morpeth College and reasons why these were not included in the Final Report.

Note also that the Statistics are showing a “significant number” of Morpeth College Graduates became abusers between 1960 – 1980. 


Link Stats. 730 Report 20 July 2016.


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