A FORMER Anglican priest at Griffith defrocked four years ago following allegations he sexually abused a teenage boy has given evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Graeme Lawrence, formerly a reverend at St Alban’s Church, denied in the witness box this week he had ever acted inappropriately.
And he claimed to knowing next to nothing about the sexual abuse of minors by others in the church.
Lawrence left Griffith in 1984 when he was appointed 13th Anglican Dean of Newcastle.
He was credited with great leadership following the devastating earthquake in 1989 that killed 13 people.
But he was later confronted with allegations he was in a “gang of three” that protected a paedophile priest and claims he was also a child abuser.
It was alleged by the Anglican Professional Standards Board Lawrence was seen kissing and having sexual contact with a teenager while at an Anglican seminar at Narrandera in 1984.
Lawrence went into the Royal Commision witness box this week as part of its case study into the Anglican Church at Newcastle.
Asked by counsel assisting the Royal Commission, Naomi Sharp, if he was “the leader of a circle of abusers” within the Newcastle Diocese, Lawrence replied: “Certainly not”.
The current Bishop of Newcastle, Greg Thompson, told the Commission on Thursday he had been repeatedly pressed by people to undo the disciplining of Lawrence and other priests defrocked by his predecessor, Brian Farran. – with The Newcastle Herald