11 Nov 2018

Wellington Catholic school has no records of sex abuse

2:46 pm on 11 November 2018

A Wellington Catholic college says it has no records of sex abuse committed by a priest against boys.

Rector Fred Durning, right, next to Father Michael Shirres, who  was recently exposed as a pedophile, with St Patrick’s College (Upper Hutt) students at a sports event in 1955.

Father Fred Durning, right. Photo: Supplied

Some old boys of St Patrick's College Wellington have spoken of being molested by Father Fred Durning, who had top positions at the school in the 1940s, 1950s and in 1982.

The church recently admitted the priest, now dead, abused multiple boys.

"Our college deeply deplores and regrets all incidents of abuse," St Patrick's rector Neil Swindells said in a statement.

"From all that we are hearing, it is clear that in past years, justice to survivors of abuse was not always forthcoming."

Mr Swindells declined an interview.

The college had no photos on display of Father Durning, he said.

However, it did have a picture of a second priest who has been accused by an old boy of molesting him in the 1950s at another Catholic school.

That school, St Patrick's College Silverstream, has been asked by victims to take down its portraits of both this priest and Father Durning, but it has refused.

St Patrick's College Wellington had not received such a request, Mr Swindells said.

"As far as our college is concerned, we are confident that the injustices of the past will not be repeated here.

"Depending on the nature of the abuse, parents or caregivers, Oranga Tamariki or the police, would be notified promptly."

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