Graeme Russell Lawrence is an ongoing trial accused of child sexual offenses

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17 June 2019 18:02:28

A court heard the oldest Australian Anglican cleric accused of child sexual abuse used his power and influence to dissuade his alleged victim from revealing the abuse.

Key points:

  • Newcastle's former Anglican Dean Graeme Russell Lawrence is on trial for child sex charges
  • The prosecutor told the court that a 15-year-old was "silenced" by Mr. Lawrence
  • Mr. Lawrence pleaded not guilty to all the charges

The former principal of the Anglican diocese of Newcastle, Graeme Russell Lawrence, was tried on charges of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault.

The alleged crimes against a 15-year-old boy in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales date back to 1991.

Mr. Lawrence pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was on bail since he was indicted in December 2017.

Up to 28 Crown witnesses will have to testify in the coming weeks.

Crown says the boy is silenced by fear

The court heard that the fifteen-year-old was sexually and indecently assaulted after a performance by young musicians in Christchurch Cathedral in Newcastle in 1991.

The Crown claims that the boy was taken to a room in the nearby deanery, where Mr. Lawrence lived, and where there were pictures of naked boys on the wall.

Crown prosecutor Craig Leggat SC said the boy was nervous when he realized he was just a person there.

He said Dean then removed the boy's shirt and forced him to the ground before sexually and indecently assaulted him.

The court then felt that the boy thought of telling his mother, but decided against it.

"The evidence will be that he thought he would tell his mother what the defendant had done, but he didn't think she would believe him," Mr. Leggat said.

The prosecutor said that Mr. Lawrence also encouraged the boy to keep quiet.

"The defendant tried to talk to him later when he was in a group, when he would have ignored the accused," Mr. Leggat said.

"However, there was an occasion where the accused spoke to the boy and said:" Don't bother to tell anyone, you know who I am, no one will believe you. " .

Defense attorney Paul Winch stated that the defendant was in a position to be presumed innocent.

"It is not up to Mr. Lawrence to prove anything, it is for the Crown to prove its cause beyond reasonable doubt.

"In addition to his plea for not guilty, Mr. Lawrence's position is that there was no sexual conduct.

"On no occasion did he invite the boy to the deanery and they were never alone together at any time."

The police act at the request of the royal commission

Strike Force Arinya was formed several years ago to investigate allegations of sexual violence in the Anglican diocese of Newcastle.

The police of New South Wales received a postponement, accusing the abuses committed by Lawrence, from the Royal Commission to institutional responses to child sexual abuse in 2016.

Lawrence studied at St Johns Theological College in Morpeth in the 60s and was the Anglican director of Newcastle from 1984 to 2008.

The royal commission felt that it was very revered and that it was once lined up to be the next bishop of the city.

The support service for survivors of the Anglican Church can be contacted on 1800 774 945 or 4907 5730.

Themes:

Religion-and-spirituality,

sexual misconduct,

law-crime-and-justice,

Short-and-tests,

Anglicans,

Newcastle-2300

First published

17 June 2019 17:10:05

. (tagsToTranslate) anglican (t) court (t) trial (t) sex (t) abuse (t) clergy (t) crime (t) graeme russell lawrence

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