Sex case ex-priest to be watched

Louise Hall

July 22, 2011

A FORMER Anglican priest who sexually abused young girls over four decades has been banned from having contact with children and using the internet for three years after a court found he was at high risk of reoffending if not kept under supervision.

The serial paedophile Robert Ellmore, who in 2001 became the first Anglican priest to be defrocked since the 1880s, was released from prison in December after serving a nine-year sentence for indecently assaulting three girls ages eight, 10 and 12.

He was found to have abused his position of trust in the early 1980s when he interfered with a 10-year-old girl during confirmation classes and later abused a 12-year-old girl when he visited her home.

He was on parole in 2001 for child sex offences committed in the mid-1970s when he indecently assaulted the eight-year-old daughter of a couple he had befriended.

Yesterday in the NSW Supreme Court, Justice Megan Latham placed Mr Ellmore, 73, on a three-year extended supervision order under the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act.

The order means he cannot change his hairstyle or colour or his facial hair, join or attend a club or group, use the internet, or have a sexual relationship with anyone without the approval of Corrective Services NSW.

He cannot have contact with children under 16, unless in the presence of an adult approved by the authorities and is not allowed near schools, day care centres, caravan parks, children’s playgrounds, parks and playing fields.

Justice Latham rejected an application for a non-publication order on Ellmore’s name.

Police chief and the notorious pedophile

By John Kidman
December 19, 2004
The Sun-Herald

Police Commissioner Ken Moroney was once involved in a failed investigation into an Anglican priest who later became one of the state’s most notorious pedophiles.

The revelation comes just a week after calls by NSW’s top officer for a national summit on the growing menace of child abuse.

The case, which revolved around a complaint of indecent assault of an eight-year-old girl, occurred more than 20 years ago when Mr Moroney was a sergeant at West Wyalong.

Documents obtained by The Sun-Herald indicate police were reluctant to proceed because of the delicacy of placing such a young witness before a court without corroborative evidence.

The law finally caught up with the accused, Robert Ellmore, who is serving an 11-year jail term. His

conviction in February 2002 caused a furore when it was learnt senior Anglicans knew of the allegations years earlier.

At the time The Sun-Herald identified lawyer Peter Young, who advised the church to take no action over the girl’s claims as he reasoned the Church lacked the primary facts. Mr Young is now chief judge in equity in the NSW Supreme Court.

There is no suggestion the commissioner’s or any other officer’s role was in any way improper.

Opposition Leader John Brogden, describing the matter as one of genuine public interest yesterday said, “This matter must be addressed quickly. It is important the commissioner has the support and trust of the people of NSW.”

At the time of the complaint, Ellmore denied the allegation and apparently no further action was taken.

A faded copy of a Department of Youth and Community Services letter addressed to an Anglican bishop outlines at least one version of the events.

“In discussion with the police, it was felt that you should be informed of the complaint for your consideration and, at the same time, affording the Reverend Ellmore the benefit of your counsel,” the correspondence states. “Sgt. K. Moroney or myself are available for any further enquiries you wish to make.”

Long before he was ordained, Ellmore was jailed for a month for aggravated assault on a 10-year-old girl in Toowoomba, in 1957. A decade later, he was fined for indecently exposing himself near Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Despite his dark past, the former panel beater and father-of-two was made a deacon after two years’ study at St John’s Theological College at Morpeth in the Hunter Valley, in 1976.

He lost his licence to preach in 1991, after assaulting a girl aged just five during a weekend trip to Mudgee and was placed on a good behaviour bond.

In 1999 two sisters brought damning allegations against him as a result of their sexual abuse 23 years earlier in country NSW.

The girls were joined by a third victim who, as a seven-year-old, was attacked by Ellmore in the vestry of All Saints Anglican Cathedral at Bathurst, in 1976.

After pleading guilty in all three cases, he was jailed for 12 months.

Legal documents indicate he was pursued by detectives over the molestation of twin girls, 7, at Regents Park in 1998, but the charges were dropped by their parents on emotional grounds.

While still on parole and on bail after being charged with two further sets of allegations dating back to the 1980s, he indecently assaulted a family friend’s eight-year-old daughter in 2001.

Speaking out on the subject of child abuse last week in Sydney, Mr Moroney likened the problem to an epidemic. “We can’t put our heads in the sand,” he said. “We can’t talk about it in hushed tones, as if it isn’t there.”

Sex abuse response still woeful: mother

By Kelly Burke
September 2 2002

The Sydney Anglican Church’s handling of child sex abuse remains woefully inadequate, despite claims to the contrary, according to the Sydney mother of an eight-year-old girl victim of pedophile priest Robert Ellmore.

“I was met with indifference, an uncaring attitude, amateurishness, ignorance of the subject of pedophilia and sexual assault generally, damaging language and lack of pastoral care,” she says. “The church tried to treat me like an idiot housewife.”

Ellmore was sentenced to 11 years’ jail in January, after committing sex offences against girls in the Newcastle, Bathurst and Sydney dioceses over 44 years.

But when the mother of Ellmore’s last victim contacted the Sydney diocese for help last year, she claims she was met with extraordinary insensitivity by the director of the church’s professional standards unit, Philip Gerber.

“He told me he had met [Ellmore’s] wife, that she was a good sort, not bad looking, not ugly or overweight. I replied: ‘she’s not eight’. At the end of the conversation he said to me ‘I’ll pray for you but to be honest, I’ll probably forget. But I’ll get my wife to do it as she’s pretty good at that sort of thing’.”

Mr Gerber has since formally apologised to the victim’s mother for his comments.

A spokeswoman for the Sydney diocese said the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, had shown enormous concern for the victim’s wellbeing, and had met with the victim’s mother.

But the victim’s mother said that while Archbishop Jensen appeared well-meaning, he had resisted calls for an independent inquiry into the church’s role in protecting Ellmore.

“The church needs a team of professionals, not well-meaning amateurs,” she said.


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