Catholic Church in Tasmania to audit all institutions to identify and remove plaques related to convicted sex offenders

Tasmania’s Catholic church will audit all its institutions, including 38 schools and colleges, to identify and remove plaques related to convicted sex offenders.

It follows the removal of a plaque from Hobart's St Mary's Cathedral last year which depicted former Catholic priest, the late Monsignor Philip Green, who was convicted of sex offences.

Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous said the audit also would include nursing homes and hospitals.

“The Archdiocese of Hobart is not aware of any plaques depicting, or referencing any other priests convicted of sexual abuse,” Archbishop Porteous said.

“The audit will determine this once and for all,” Archbishop Porteous said.

“Due to the large number of buildings and properties involved in the audit, it is envisaged that staff of each building, facility, school or parish will conduct the audit of their own premises.

“The process is expected to take up to two months to complete.”

The announcement was made after the Archbishop met with a survivor of sexual abuse on Thursday.

The man described the audit as “fantastic” and said he was pleased the Archbishop had also reiterated his support for a national redress scheme to compensate victims as recommended by the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.

“A plaque on a church can trigger memories,” he said.

“Abuse has a domino affect because it has affected not just me, but my family, my mum and my own children.

“The church must take responsibility for what happened.

“I look forward to working with the Archbishop to help others with their process towards a happy and fulfilled life.” 

However, former Catholic priest Julian Punch, who also attended the meeting said more needed to be done to help survivors of sexual abuse.

“I was very disappointed with the outcome because the church should be working with survivors to help them deal with the past abuse,” Mr Punch said.

 Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the redress scheme must be supported by the Tasmanian Government.

“It is past time the Liberals listened to victims, and now church leaders like Archbishop Porteous, and committed Tasmania to the National Redress Scheme and removal of time limits on compensation claims,” Ms O’Connor said.

“They can’t stall, or ignore their obligation, any longer.”