Thursday, March 09, 2017

Lanigan House: Children not at risk

St ChristopherThe director of Canberra's Institute for Professional Standards and Safeguarding, Matt Casey, has assured the Canberra community that children have not been put at risk through the accomodation of clergy at Lanigan House in Garran.

A statement published on the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocesan website revealed a former parish priest of Tumut, Fr Brian Hassett, was yesterday moved from Lanigan House to appropriate alternative accommodation, in response to recent community concerns.

Fr Hassett was the subject of sustained complaints relating to his time in Tumut. 

An investigation into complaints against Fr Hassett commenced in 2013. They were overseen by the NSW Ombudsman.

Fr Hassett was temporarily moved from Tumut to Lanigan House in early 2014 in response to the preliminary findings of the investigation.

In late 2014, the investigation was finalised and the allegations against Fr Hassett sustained. 

He appealed the matter. 

In August 2015, Fr Hassett tendered his resignation. He continued to reside at Lanigan House given its proximity to Canberra Hospital and his ongoing medical condition.

Following the establishment of the Institute for Professional Standards and Safeguarding, the Archdiocese conducted a thorough risk assessment of the case. Given the location of Lanigan House near two primary schools, the principal of Saints Peter and Paul primary school, Garran, was advised in May 2016. “It is important to note that there were no concerns about Fr Hassett’s behaviour during his time at Lanigan House,” Mr Casey said.

“Based on recent community concern and acting on my advice, today the Archbishop relocated two other priests from Lanigan House. Both men were removed from ministry for other matters. I reiterate that the safety of children was not compromised at any time.”

Two priests remain in Lanigan House, one who has retired for health reasons, the other having submitted his resignation. Both men are in good standing and exercise their priestly faculties.

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