'Reprehensible': Abusers' photos on display at Kavanagh

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
The discovery that photos of three alleged sexual abusers remain on display at a Dunedin high school has sparked disgust and disbelief.

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.

Br Henery was a teacher and rugby coach at St Paul’s High School, which later became Kavanagh College, in the 1970s, while Br Glen was well known in brass band circles.

Br Sullivan was the principal of St Edmund’s School in South Dunedin.

One of those taking part in the tour was Anthony Fogarty, who had flown in from Queensland, for the reunion.

He was one of the signatories on a letter demanding the removal of a photo of convicted sex offender Fr Magnus Murray from the school in 2017.

Seeing the photos upon returning to the school on Saturday left him disgusted and in a state of disbelief.

He felt the church’s promise to put survivors first was lip service.

"They do not want to admit they were at fault."

Fellow old boy Dr Murray Heasley, of the Network for Survivors of Abuse in Faith-Based Institutions, was also on the tour.

He said survivors had been told over and over that the church now had a survivor focus, and there was no longer a default position to protect predators and the reputation of schools.

"Did not a single staff member not find the honouring of these men reprehensible and unconscionable?

"Is there no awareness, no consciousness of the damage to any victim survivor who might chance on the faces of these men on the walls ... ?"

He said Catholics were "spiritually, morally and ethically obligated to share and accept the pain and suffering of those grievously abused by Glen, Henery and Sullivan, not ignore it or dismiss it as unimportant."

"On the contrary, this acceptance is axiomatic and central or it’s all a ghastly grift," Dr Heasley said.

Earlier this year Bishop of Dunedin Michael Dooley announced the school’s name would be changed after an investigation found its namesake, the former Bishop of Dunedin John Kavanagh, had failed to act on claims of sexual abuse by priests.

Bishop Kavanagh died in 1985.

The school will become Trinity Catholic College from January 1, 2023.

College principal Kate Nicholson said as part of the renaming, the school was working to replace all the displayed photographs and memorabilia with images from the newly named college.

"These will fill the display spaces to inspire future generations of young learners.

"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."

Bishop Dooley said he was unaware the photos were on display.

"I understand the school has a plan to address this issue and I support the school in that," he said.

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