Bunbury bishop Gerard Holohan writes to parishioners to reiterate apology to church sexual abuse victims

Diocese of Bunbury bishop Gerald Holohan has written to parishioners to reiterate his apology to victims who suffered abuse at the hands of Father William Kevin Glover in the 1960s and 70s. 

Last month, the Mail published documents tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in February that revealed in 1959, Bunbury bishop John Goody agreed to hire a priest despite knowing he had previously sexually abused a number of boys. 

Father Glover ministered in Esperance, which was part of the Diocese of Bunbury from 1959 and was shifted to Margaret River in 1979 where he remained until his retirement in 1992. He died six years later. 

The commission has recorded five allegations of child sexual abuse filed in WA between 1997 and 2014 against Father Glover for offending in the Diocese of Bunbury between 1967 and 1986. One was also received in Victoria in 1998 for alleged offending in 1956. 

Current Bunbury bishop Gerard Holohan emailed a letter out on Friday, saying he felt the need to give a “brief explanation” to the congregation. 

“The fact that there have been instance of priests who abused the young in our history is humiliating for Catholics and a source of horror and shame,” he said. 

“I have the deepest compassion for victims and their loved ones and I remain committed to help them in every way possible within the resources of a small country diocese.”

Bishop Holohan said the writs against Father Glover and the Bunbury Diocese were issued despite “our best efforts to negotiate”. 

“The Diocesan lawyers have advised that the Diocese has no legal liability in these matters and is entitled, like anybody else, to due legal process,” he said. 

“The Diocese will renew its offer of pastoral support, including counselling and reparation.”

Bishop Holohan said he wished to repeat an apology he first made to victims in December, 2015. 

“I apologise to victims of abuse in the past by priests and others in the Church. I extend this apology too to the families of victims who always suffer with their abused loved ones,” he said. 

“I apologise to all feeling alienated by Church leaders in particular who, instead of loving victims of the different forms of abuse, failed knowingly in their responsibility to protect our young and vulnerable.” 

He also said he did not intend to comment further on these matters while legal proceedings continued.