Perth archbishop retires early after admitting he let down abuse victims

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The Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, will take accrued leave until his retirement in June 2017. Photo: Anglican Taonga
The Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, will take accrued leave until his retirement in June 2017. Photo: Anglican Taonga

The Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, is to take early retirement, he said December 15. The announcement comes two months after he voluntarily stood aside from his duties after admitting that he failed to act on repeated reports that some priests in his former diocese of Newcastle, in the Anglican Church of Australia, were sexually abusing children.

Roger told his diocesan council that he would continue to take accrued leave until he retires on July 7, 2017, a year ahead of schedule.

The diocesan council thanked the Archbishop for “his significant contribution to the Anglican Church of Australia and the wider Anglican Communion over 43 years of faithful ministry, and particularly as Archbishop of Perth since 2005.”

A Royal Commission in Australia is currently investigating how child abuse claims were handled by a number of institutions. The Church of England and the Church in Wales are the subjects of a similar investigation in the UK. In August, Roger admitted that he had given “incorrect” evidence under oath to the Commission when he denied knowledge of accusations against a priest.

In a letter to the diocese in October, announcing his decision to stand aside, the archbishop said: “I have taken this decision after much prayer, thought and consultation with my advisers to allow for the mission and ministry of the diocese of Perth to flourish. I am humbled by the courage and fortitude of survivors and victims of child sexual abuse as they continue to bear witness to their stories of suffering.”

A committee of clergy and laity elected by the diocesan synod will meet to appoint a successor Archbishop of Perth early next year.

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