Former Victorian Supreme Court chief justice Marilyn Warren has been engaged by the Jesuits to investigate how pedophile Victor Higgs was able to offend in two states. Source: The Australian.
Former brother Higgs has been convicted of molesting boys from Sydney’s St Ignatius College Riverview and St Ignatius in Adelaide and was moved interstate after offending the first time.
The Australian Province of the Society of Jesus will open its books to Ms Warren to determine what the schools knew and when about Higgs’s offending.
Her findings will be published.
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, who attended Riverview in Sydney, has said it was an open secret in the Riverview boarding house that Higgs was a sex offender.
Higgs was sentenced last month to 12 years’ jail for abusing six boys aged about 12 in the 1970s and 1980s. Critics claim that Higgs was shifted to Riverview in the early 1970s after the Church was told that he had offended.
Higgs was charged with abusing students in South Australia and pleaded guilty before his 2015 trial; he was then extradited to NSW after he was released almost three years ago.
Jesuits’ professional standards director Simon Davies said the order understood the community concerns about Higgs’s activities and movements in Australia after offending.
“We understand and acknowledge the concern people have about how the Jesuits may have handled complaints about Higgs in the past, and the need to understand the circumstances of Higgs’s move from Adelaide to Sydney at the end of 1970,” he said.
“We have therefore, in consultation with those who have experienced abuse, appointed an independent expert to review the Higgs files and witnesses. We have shared all our documents and witnesses regarding Higgs with the police in both South Australia and NSW to assist with their investigations and will continue to do so if new information comes to hand.”
The Jesuits have relatively fewer sex offenders than other orders, such as the Christian Brothers, but 13 complaints dating from as far as the 1950s to this decade were received last financial year.
Judge to review Jesuit abuser (The Australian)
Redress, Review, Reporting (Australian Jesuits)