30 Jan 2019

Rugby club removes 'inappropriate' award named after paedophile

5:42 am on 30 January 2019

An Auckland rugby club has apologised for awarding a cup named after a Catholic clergyman convicted of sexually abusing boys.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Marist Brothers Old Boys Rugby Club's annual award for most tries scored was named the Brother Claudius Cup.

Claudius Pettit was jailed for child abuse in the 1990s and died in 2015.

Old Boys from St Bernard's College in Lower Hutt, where Pettit abused a student, found out and asked the club to remove the cup.

"It is not appropriate to have any award in the name of a convicted paedophile given to anyone at any point," said Patrick Hill, a survivor of abuse by another staff member at St Bernard's.

The club emailed Mr Hill, apologising.

Claudius Pettit.

Claudius Pettit. Photo: Supplied.

"We acknowledge that the naming of this award is entirely inappropriate and apologise for the oversight in not actioning sooner [on] its removal from our club trophy list and for the subsequent stress that it may have caused.

"We can confirm that we have removed all reference to the Brother Claudius Cup from our club website and have arranged for a replacement trophy to be purchased and issued on an annual basis under a different name."

The club has not responded to RNZ's requests for comment.

It was very prompt and appropriate action, Mr Hill said.

"I've emailed them thanking them and recommending that they double check the other named awards so that they haven't got any other abusers with awards named after them, especially given the Catholic Church's incredibly high abuse statistics."

Former Auckland Marist players includes All Blacks Sir John Kirwan and Zinzan Brooke.

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