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Ed Sheeran

Abuse inquiry seeking predator priest confessions

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An Auckland man who was abused as a child by his parish priest is urging anyone with similar stories to tell them to the Royal Commission on Abuse in State Care and Religious Institutions.

Mike Ledingham says the late Father Frank Green set up gymnastics and other activities in his Onehunga parish in the late 1950s to get close to children he then abused.

The former soldier says he kept quiet about his experience because of the social conditions at the time, but it affected his schooling and subsequent approach to life and he later discovered two of his brothers were also abused by Green, along with at least 30 other children.

Mr Ledingham says it’s important to find if New Zealand had the same level of paedophilia in the Catholic church as was uncovered by the Australian Royal Commission.

"This showed the rate among Catholic clergy ranged from about 7 percent for diocesan priests, 14 percent for other order priests, 22 percent for Marist (brothers) and Christian Brothers, and as high as 40 percent for the St John of God order. Those are horrific figures, given the fact they also had canon law which dictated a priest's name could be protected and secrecy demanded, so the crimes were concealed," he says.

Mike Ledingham says Māori feature disproportionately in abuse statistics, so it is important they come forward with their stories.

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