Church’s Suicide Victims
CONFIDENTIAL police reports have detailed the suicides of at least 40 people sexually abused by Catholic clergy in Victoria, and have urged a new inquiry into these and many other deaths suspected to be linked to abuse in the church.
In a damning assessment of the church’s handling of abuse issues, the reports say it appears the church has known about a shockingly high rate of suicides and premature deaths but has “chosen to remain silent.”
Written by Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson, the reports state that while conducting lengthy inquiries into paedophile clergy, investigators have discovered “an inordinate number of suicides which appear to be a consequence of sexual offending.
Rob Walsh, whose cousin Martin, and brothers Noel and Damien committed suicide after being abused. Photo: Paul Rovere
“The number of people contacting this office to report members of their family, people they know, people they went to school with, who have taken their lives is constant. It would appear that an investigation would uncover many more deaths as a consequence of clergy sexual abuse,” one of the reports states.
The revelations will increase pressure on Premier Ted Baillieu and state Attorney-General Robert Clark to respond both to the growing calls from victims for a broad inquiry into clergy sexual abuse, and to the February recommendation of Justice Phillip Cummins for a formal inquiry.