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Church sex abuse inquiry begins

Posted by: 2UE | 13 February, 2013 - 9:14 AM
Fresh claims against three most senior Catholic Church figures

A commission looking into alleged Catholic Church cover-ups of child sex abuse in a diocese in NSW opens in Sydney today. Paul Murray with Dubbo MP Troy Grant on abuse claims and scope of the investigation.

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The NSW inquiry, headed by Commissioner Margaret Cunneen SC, will take applications for leave to appear when it is formally opened in a Sydney court on Wednesday.

The commissioner will also make a statement outlining the process and explaining the terms of reference.

The January amendments to the terms included provision for the sharing of information with the federal royal commission.

This means victims or members of the public with information beyond the scope of the NSW special commission of inquiry can have that information provided directly to the royal commission.

As well as reporting on the circumstances in which Insp Fox was asked to cease investigating relevant matters, the commission will also report on the extent to which officials of the Catholic Church facilitated or co-operated with police investigations.

This includes whether any investigation was hindered by the failure to report alleged criminal offences, the discouraging of witnesses to come forward or the alerting of alleged offenders.

This gives the NSW commission scope to investigate how the church handled allegations against convicted pedophile priest Father James Fletcher, who died in jail in 2006.

The NSW commission is to report on or before September 30. (AAP)

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