Allegations of Abuse in Institutions

Salvation Army Homes - Main Index

Index 2004

Sunday Star Times
July 18 2004

The Sins of the fathers
Letter to the Editor
by Peter Murphy, Hamilton

If Craig Dunford and others are trying to understand why all clerics are under suspicion of being perverts ("The curse among the clergy", July 11), the answer is simple.

For many years the Roman Catholic Church, the Salvation Army and perhaps other religious outfits, have protected abusers by covering up when complaints have been made.

Abusers were moved to locations where their history was not known, to continue abusing. In the Salvation Army known abusers were promoted.

The practice of collusion and protection by the churches means there is no way for outsiders to distinguish the perverts from their peers. All religious staff, from the very top down, are under suspicion.

The underlying beliefs of the churches mean that abuse and covering up is likely to continue. After all, they adhere to a higher law than that of our "unjust" democratic legal system.

My opinion is based on experiences and observations during an unfortunate 10-year period when I was "cared for" by Salvation Army officers and other employees.

It was a time of daily cruelty, misery, exploitation, neglect, abuse and constant Bible-banging. My family, which paid the bills, was told I was happy and well.

Some may tell you the good outweighed the bad and that we were taught moral values.

I learned only one useful thing at the hands of Christians - that big people can beat up little people.