Anglican Church abuse review finds Peter Hollingworth ‘fit for ministry’

Peter Hollingworth, pictured in 2015, has been deemed "fit for ministry" by a probe into his handling of allegations.

Peter Hollingworth, pictured in 2015, has been deemed "fit for ministry" by a probe into his handling of allegations. Photo: AAP

Former governor-general Peter Hollingworth admits he has made mistakes, as he accepts the recommendations by an Anglican Church review into abuse allegations found he is “fit for ministry”.

The Professional Standards Board for the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne on Monday made the finding.

In a statement, the 88-year-old conceded while he was archbishop of Brisbane in the 1990s he failed to appropriately respond to abuse complaints, but said he did not commit any crimes.

“I made mistakes and I cannot undo them,” Dr Hollingworth said in a statement.

“I accept the board’s recommendations and look forward to these matters finally being put to rest.

“Hardly a day has passed in the past 30 years when I have not reflected on these matters and my failings.

“I had devoted my life to social justice, pastoral care and healing, but I had little experience in dealing with the child abuse issues. Like other church leaders, I was unduly influenced by the advice of lawyers and insurance companies.”

The board dismissed three allegations of misconduct and sustained six allegations.

Dr Hollingworth was the subject of a church inquiry following concerns over his handling of abuse cases while he was archbishop.

He must formally apologise to victims of child sex abuse who were affected under his leadership.

Dr Hollingworth held the role of archbishop for more than a decade before becoming Australia’s 23rd governor-general but resigned in 2003 after a series of revelations about his response to multiple abuse complaints.

Critics had called for him to be defrocked after it was alleged he failed to appropriately respond to misconduct allegations levelled against a teacher at Toowoomba Preparatory School.

He was also forced to deny bombshell claims that he raped a woman during the 1960s.

It follows a private four-day hearing that wrapped up in February following a more than five-year investigation.

Kooyoora, an independent body that issues clearance for ministry certificates on behalf of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, conducted the review.

He apologised in 2016 during the child sexual abuse royal commission for failing to take action against pedophile priest John Elliot.

The commission found Dr Hollingworth made a serious error in judgment in allowing Elliot to remain in the ministry following an abuse complaint.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028


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