By John Martin
An Australian bishop has resigned after joining a harrowing three-year investigation into sexual abuse and cover-ups by clergy. The Rt. Rev. Greg Thompson, Bishop of Newcastle, said in August 2014 that as a child he was abused by Bishop Ian Shevill, now deceased.
Bishop Thompson said he was stepping down to put his personal health and family first. Earlier he told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that his endeavors to deal with the toxic situation in the Diocese of Newcastle triggered hostility and pressure to eject him.
“The impact of leading the diocese at various levels and addressing that culture has had a personal impact on my health, and I think has been something that got me thinking about how long I could have done it for,” Thompson said.
He said he had worked hard to end a culture of not listening. “I think the serious matters of the past, the crimes against children, the culture of not wanting to know, and the culture of covering up are being addressed.”
The search for his successor begins in May and the royal commission’s work will continue. More than 1,100 complaints of child sexual abuse have been made against the Anglican Church of Australia.