Kavanagh removes offending photos

Photographs of alleged sexual abusers remain part of a display board charting the history of...
Photographs of alleged sexual abusers remain part of a display board charting the history of Kavanagh College. Photo: Supplied
Photos of alleged sexual predators have been removed from the walls of a Dunedin school following anger from survivors and advocates.

Former St Paul’s High School pupils touring Kavanagh College as part of a class reunion at the weekend were shocked to see photos of Br Richard Glen, Br Francis Henery and Br Victor Sullivan.

The three men, all of whom have died, have been publicly accused of historical sexual abuse by multiple survivors in Dunedin.

College principal Kate Nicholson told the Otago Daily Times on Tuesday the school was working to replace all displayed photographs and memorabilia as it transitioned to its new name, Trinity Catholic College.

"As this is a significant piece of work, we anticipate it will be completed in the early part of 2023 as new imagery including the refreshed crest becomes available."

However, she said yesterday the images had been taken down.

Mrs Nicholson did not respond to a request for comment.

Kate Nicholson
Kate Nicholson
In a statement on the school’s website, she said it was not the school’s intent to cause distress to survivors, past pupils or their families.

She said "as soon as we found out through the ODT that this has happened, the boards were taken down and will remain down".

She had no knowledge of the alleged abusers and said there were no records of the accusations.

Allegations against all three men featured in an ODT series on historical abuse in 2018.

Some of those on the tour of the school at the weekend said seeing the photos left them feeling disgusted, in disbelief, and frustrated.

It was a difficult position to be in as a principal of a Catholic college, Mrs Nicholson said in her statement.

"Finding a balance between recognising the positive history and honouring the positive traditions and experiences that make past pupils proud of their place in Catholic schooling in Dunedin, has become a real challenge in the last few years.

"I hope that our current whanau and wider community recognise the significant commitment we have made to the survivors of abuse, and to all the young people in our care as we undertake to begin a new, forward looking and exemplary history as Trinity Catholic College next year."

She said she wanted all families and visiting groups to feel welcomed, valued, and safe within the college environment.