Australian archbishop resigns in wake of child abuse probe

Melbourne, Dec 16 (IANS) Anglican Archbishop of Perth Roger Herft, one of Australia’s most senior church figures, has resigned after admitting that he had failed to inform police about alleged child abuse by a senior cleric.

The resignation, reported by the Australian media on Friday, makes Archbishop Herft the highest-ranking casualty of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, Xinhua news agency reported.Reverend Herft, who has been Archbishop of Perth since 2005, stood aside in October as the Royal Commission enquired into alleged sexual abuse of children by Dean of Newcastle Graeme Lawrence.

Herft served as the Bishop of Newcastle between 1993 and 2005. Lawrence was defrocked by the Church in 2012 but he has not been charged by police.

In a statement late on Thursday, the Church revealed that Archbishop Herft would not return to his position. Herft gave evidence at the Royal Commission in August that he was told about the sex abuse of children but failed to tell the police about it.