Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge
Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge

Archbishop’s handling of sex claim probed

THE Archbishop of Brisbane is under investigation for allegedly dismissing information on child abuse within the Catholic Church over a decade ago.

The complaint against Mark Coleridge relates to 2006 meeting with a Canberra woman who had offered information about child sexual abuse.

At the time Archbishop Coleridge was the archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn.

It is alleged he called the woman a "gossip" and acted aggressively towards her.

Archbishop Coleridge strongly rejects the allegation.

In a written statement the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn confirmed an independent investigation had been launched last year.

"The Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn and the Archdiocese of Sydney were a few months ago made aware of allegations made by a woman regarding a meeting in 2006," the statement read.

"Discussions between the two archdioceses led to agreement that Canberra and Goulburn would establish an independent investigation of the allegations.

 

Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge
Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge

 

"Archbishop Mark Coleridge has co-operated with the investigation and strongly refuted the allegations.

"When the complainant was invited to co-operate with the independent investigation, she chose not to engage with the process.

"She has instead chosen to take these allegations to the media, which is deeply disappointing."

A media representative for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said he could not go into detail regarding the complaint or the investigation, for privacy reasons.

"These processes are designed to be confidential to protect the identity of all involved," the spokesman told The Courier-Mail last night.

"And even if that weren't the case, I simply can't get answers to those questions at this hour."

The Brisbane Archbishop attended the Catholic Church summit on child sexual abuse at the Vatican.

He said at the conference on the weekend it was very clear there was no place for child abusers in the church, or anywhere.

"In the Catholic Church there is nowhere for anyone who thinks they can get away scot-free with abuse," he said.