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Troubling Vatican Investigation Into Cardinal John Dew Abuse Allegations – “There Were No Inquiries” Report Survivors

8 June 2024


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Aotearoa New Zealand, is concerned that no inquiries were made by Vatican officials into child sexual assault allegations against Cardinal John Dew.


“This is just another case of the Church claiming it conducted an investigation,” reports SNAP Aotearoa spokesperson Donald McLeish.


Given that no details are known about the Vatican’s presumed investigation, and neither the complainants themselves nor any other key persons outside the church were ever contacted, it is questionable that any investigation actually occurred.


SNAP believes the Vatican may have simply accepted the Police’s current position and aligned its viewpoint accordingly.


SNAP holds that a major part of the evidence is the complainants' testimony and life experience, and that Church standards must supplement those of civil law enforcement.


SNAP is aware that the Police investigation remains open at this time, as it is not uncommon in cases of historical child sexual abuse that there is insufficient evidence at first to lay charges. Often more evidence comes to light over time as other victims find the courage to come forward.


SNAP is also aware of another police report in which Cardinal Dew is named as having committed psychological abuse of vulnerable people in the Catholic Church.


Contrary to earlier claims made by the Cardinal—that priests at St. Joseph’s presbytery did not go to the nearby St. Joseph’s Orphanage, SNAP members have reported seeing priests at the orphanage. There was even a priest's office at the orphanage, which is now believed to be a place where the alleged offending occurred.


SNAP is aware that the Carvell complaint involved three priests and a nun. While one priest is dead, the third priest named in the Carvell report has avoided public scrutiny. Yet he is accused of the same crimes as the Cardinal and is subject to the same safeguarding protocols. But he was not stood down by his bishop, John Adams.


According to SNAP, secrecy, silence, and concealment around church investigations into allegations of priests sexually violating children fuels the church’s coverup, leaves society questioning church leaders’ motives, and further harms the survivors. “We no longer live in a time when it is appropriate to be secretive about dealing with clergy child sexual abuse complaints,” reports SNAP in response to the Vatican’s investigation.


SNAP Aotearoa calls for more transparency, accountability, and a survivor-centred response.


As an independent network, SNAP continues to support all survivors of faith-based and institutional abuse.




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