Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 05/05/2003, pg. 1

GOVERNOR-General Peter Hollingworth faces a new claim that he appointed a priest while knowing he was the subject of sex-abuse claims.

An Anglican board of inquiry last week reported that then Archbishop Hollingworth had allowed pedophile priest John Litton Elliot to remain a minister despite knowing Elliot had sexually abused a boy.

The new claim is that Dr Hollingworth insisted Canon John Payne work in a parish despite accusations he had molested two altar boys, one of whom was intellectually disabled, when previously working there.

In other developments:

* Federal Treasurer Peter Costello increased the pressure on Dr Hollingworth to resign, saying he could do so at any time.

* A parent of a former student at St Paul’s School, Bald Hills, said then headmaster Gilbert Case had accused her of being a liar and of “not knowing her son” when Case allegedly dismissed her claim of a teacher molesting a young student in 1984.

The teacher, who later moved to Darwin, was jailed in 1994 after pleading guilty to 15 sex offences which included masturbating naked schoolboys tied to a table as part of a bondage session.

* Premier Peter Beattie said Prime Minister John Howard had committed an “error of judgement” in not tabling the Anglican’s sex abuse report in Federal Parliament. He said Mr Howard should bow to the public’s decision on whether Dr Hollingworth remained governor-general.

* Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett said he would table the Anglican report in Federal Parliament and seek a no-confidence motion in Dr Hollingworth when the Senate resumed next week.

A church warden yesterday told The Courier-Mail that two complaints had been forwarded to Dr Hollingworth about the incidents relating to Canon Payne but “nothing was done about it — one of the victims told me that”.

A spokesman for Brisbane Archbishop Phillip Aspinall last night said the Payne matter had been referred to the board of inquiry examining sexual abuse in the church but did not appear to be mentioned in its report.

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Leahy’s view, Page 10

Hollingworth to face new claim over priest

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The spokesman said Dr Aspinall had withdrawn Mr Payne’s licence as an Anglican priest, but because of an unrelated sexual assault claim.

A source told The Courier-Mail that Dr Aspinall was notified about the altar boy cases when he became archbishop and was given the information again because the letters of complaint could not be found in church files.

Dr Hollingworth’s press secretary, Martin Bonsey, last night said he did not think the Governor-General would respond to cases beyond those covered in the report of the Anglican inquiry.

Mr Payne, when offered the right of reply, said he was not prepared to talk about the incident.

“People can say what they like about me,” Mr Payne said.

The church warden said that Dr Hollingworth sought to appoint Mr Payne for a second locum term but church wardens and the incumbent priest fought the decision because of what allegedly happened the first time around.

“Archbishop Hollingworth shouted down the phone `If I don’t send him, I don’t know who I will send’,” the warden said. “I told him we’d manage.

“We had the most frightful barneys. I was strong enough to stand up to Hollingworth but I became a persona non grata.”

The warden said that after the altercations, local Bishop Ray Smith would not run the risk of putting Mr Payne in the parish and the plan, stridently supported by Dr Hollingworth, was dropped.

In another development, Brisbane southern region Bishop Ron Williams, who ministered in the Anglican Church under Dr Hollingworth, has said he would be happy to share the blame over the handling of sexual-abuse complaints.

Copyright 2003 / Courier Mail