As Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Port Pirie, I wish to acknowledge publicly the crimes of child sexual abuse committed by a former priest of the Diocese, Arthur Joseph Conway, over many years until his death in 1975.
On behalf of the Diocese, I apologise unreservedly to those who have been harmed by sexual abuse perpetrated by Conway, who held a position of power and trust in this Diocese. He abused this power, and he betrayed this trust.
I make this public acknowledgement bearing in mind all of Conway’s victims:
- The many who have come forward, whether officially or in private conversations with their parish priest or other diocesan leaders,
- The many who have chosen not to come forward, and who have addressed the situation in their own way,
- The many who have passed away, without ever receiving any redress for the crimes committed against them,
- The partners of victims – there have been destructive impacts on marriages and relationships,
- The children of victims – the effects of abuse have also been felt by the children of victims,
- The parents of victims – who may have suffered feelings of guilt and anxiety at what happened to their beloved children, and who were entirely innocent.
As well as apologising for Conway’s crimes, I also acknowledge the profound failure of the Diocese in past years to protect children and young people from the predations of people like Conway and other child sexual abusers in our region.
I want to assure the wider community that the Diocese now has significant child protection measures in place. These measures are constantly being scrutinised and improved, using Australian best practice standards for safeguarding children and young people, and vulnerable adults.
As the previous two bishops have done, I too recommit the Diocese to listen to victims and survivors, and to respond to their needs.
If you are aware of any cases of child sexual abuse in the past or have been abused yourself by any member of the clergy or anyone holding any office in the Diocese, there are options for redress available for you. You may contact our Professional Standards Office (ph 08 8210 8275), the National Redress Scheme (ph 1800 737 377), or seek legal advice.
I myself would welcome anyone who wishes to speak to me about these things and work together with you to find ways to assist the journey of healing.
Bishop Karol Kulczycki SDS
31st January 2024