Riverina abuse claim sparks priests court action

ABC News, Australia/May 23, 2011

Two Anglican priests from Newcastle are seeking to overturn a decision that they be de-frocked over an alleged incident in the Riverina more than 20 years ago.

Last year the Anglican Church's Professional Standards Board held hearings into allegations that the former Dean of Newcastle, Reverend Graeme Lawrence and Reverend Graeme Sturt had been involved in an incident involving a teenager at a clergy camp in the Riverina in the 1980s.

The board recommended the priests be stripped of holy orders.

Both deny the allegations and said the hearing lacked procedural fairness.

The DPP chose not to pursue the matter.

The priests are seeking damages and are challenging the board's findings this week in the Supreme Court.

The outcome will determine the future of the Anglican Church's professional standards protocols for dealing with misconduct of clergy and church workers nationally.

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