The future of a wing named after former Ballarat Bishop Peter Connors at Damascus College remains unclear after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released a scathing report into his involvement in covering up abuse in the Melbourne Archdiocese.
The commission’s report into the Melbourne Archdiocese released a fortnight ago revealed Bishop Connors failed to respond to reports of sexual abuse while in roles such as Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop.
The report found that in instances of reported sexual misconduct Bishop Connors, along with other colleagues, drew an unnecessary distinction between a reported concern and a ‘formal complaint’ as a reason not to pursue complaints further.
Damascus has not yet reviewed the issue, despite the report being issued a fortnight ago.
“The Damascus College Board recognises the terrible harm caused to children while in the care of the Church and will explore the findings of the Royal Commission in 2018 with a sense of hope for the future for all those affected”, a spokesperson said in a statement.
“Those explorations will inform decision making to ensure child safety remains paramount now and in to the future at Damascus College.”
The wing named after the former Ballarat Bishop was constructed in 2012 for year 9 and 10 students and was opened by Bishop Connors himself.
Last week St Patrick’s College announced it would be removing Archbishop Frank Little’s name from a building and revoke his status as an inducted Legend of the College due to his involvement in covering up allegations of sexual abuse.
Headmaster John Crowley said the College aimed to role model the highest possible standards of behaviour to students entrusted to its care.
“The findings demonstrate that Archbishop Little’s behaviours do not meet these expectations,” Mr Crowley said in a statement.
Sexual abuse survivor Phil Nagle said the commission had proven like Bishop Little and fellow former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, Bishop Connors had been complicit in allowing sexual abuse to occur.
“The indication from the Royal Commission was that Connors should have been doing something about it,” Mr Nagle said.
“These buildings were left as a memorial for these guys but they’re undesirable people which has been proven by the Royal Commission.”