Allegations of Abuse in Institutions

Salvation Army Homes - Main Index

Index 2003 (Sept-Dec)

The Dominion Post
October 3 2003

Sallies staff accused of abuse still at work
by Leanne Bell

Two Salvation Army employees accused of sexually abusing children decades ago are still working for the religious charity.

Commissioner Shaw Clifton, responsible for the Salvation Army in New Zealand, said the alleged offenders -- a man and a woman -- now held management positions with the Salvation Army.

"Neither of the two is any longer working in a direct or hands-on relationship with children," he said.

A woman employed by the army had been named by two men as having sexually abused them when they were in Salvation Army residential homes. Another former resident told the army a male employee had sexually abused her.

The alleged offences took place about 35 years ago, Commissioner Clifton said.

Extensive interviews took place before allegations were put before those accused.

Four or five retired officers and former residents had also been accused.

"There are a small number of people being named who are still alive but most of those are very elderly and feeble," he said.

The Salvation Army had received 23 formal claims, of which 15 had emerged after recent publicity, and an office has been set up to deal with former residents.

"The investigation is not a flabby, ad hoc thing," he said.

Most complaints originated from stays at Hodderville Boys Home in the Waikato town of Putaruru, and a Salvation Army home in Masterton.

Some wanted counselling or their file, and others merely wanted to tell their story, while some sought financial compensation.

The army was tailoring its response to each former resident's request. It had not yet involved the police but would do so if it was appropriate. It was keeping an open mind about an independent inquiry but would continue its own "vigorous" investigation in the meantime.