Report into former Dunedin bishop’s conduct completed

A draft report has been completed following an investigation into whether a former Dunedin bishop failed to deal with complaints of abuse.

In November last year, the Catholic Church appointed an independent investigator to look at whether Bishop John Kavanagh took proper action when he received complaints of sexual abuse during his tenure, between 1957 and 1985.

The investigation could also have ramifications for Kavanagh College, the Dunedin high school that bears his name.

Metropolitan Archbishop of New Zealand Cardinal John Dew yesterday said the investigator had presented a draft report to the church’s National Office for Professional Standards.

‘‘Once the report has been finalised, the Church’s Complaints Assessment Committee will review the investigator’s report and make a recommendation to me on Bishop Kavanagh’s actions.

‘‘I will consider the recommendation of the Complaints Assessment Committee and make a decision whether the complaint regarding Bishop Kavanagh is to be upheld. I will advise the Bishop of Dunedin, Bishop Dooley, of my decision.’’

The Otago Daily Times previously revealed the actions of a former Catholic priest, Magnus Murray, who offended against boys in Dunedin from the 1950s to the 1970s, were brought to Bishop Kavanagh’s attention in 1972.

Bishop Kavanagh moved Murray to Australia, and later allowed him to resume public ministry in the North Island, where more victims have since emerged.