Apology from the Order of St Augustine

News

The College advocates strongly that any past student who has allegations of sexual abuse, or who witnessed sexual abuse while a student at Villanova College contacts the police directly.

 

APOLOGY ON BEHALF OF THE AUGUSTINIANS IN AUSTRALIA (December 2018)

The recent Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse of Children in Institutional Care has brought to focus the harm that has been done in institutional settings including within the Catholic community. While many people regularly express their gratitude for the benefits they have received from the pastoral care of Augustinians, this message today has a different purpose.

On behalf of my brother Augustinians, I express sorrow for the distress caused to any child or young person because of the harmful actions of members of our Augustinian Order. The consequences of such harm are deep and enduring. There are those who suffer harm directly, their families and faith communities.

The Augustinians will endeavour to approach the dignity of each person, most especially the young, with respect and integrity. Along with the whole Australian Church, we commit ourselves to policies and programmes which are consistent with such respect and integrity.

I also wish to extend an invitation to anyone who has suffered harm as a young person because of the actions of members of our Augustinian Order to seek to have the Order listen to their story. In all of this we pray together for all concerned but most especially for those whose lives have been wounded by harm. For all we pray for healing that restores hope.

Fr Peter Jones
OSA Prior Provincial Order of St Augustine Province of Australasia

 

Fr Peter Jones OSA Prior Provincial Order of St Augustine, Province of Australasia issued this letter to the Villanova College community, Old Boys and families on Saturday 16 March, 2019. 

The impact of the events leading to the recent trial and conviction of Michael Endicott has been damaging and
distressful for many people connected with Villanova College, particularly the past student and his family. All
past students of the College who are aware of, or who become aware of these events, will be disturbed. All who
have a close association with participants in these events will be distressed, some severely so.

The Augustinians in Australia, and particularly those who have had a close association with the College, are
deeply saddened and troubled by the recent revelation of the abuse of students. I need to express our deep sorrow
for the damage done by a member of the Augustinian Order while on the staff of Villanova. I apologise, on
behalf of each Augustinian, for any damage to a student who was in our care.

I want you to know that in the midst of our bewilderment we are taking steps to know about and reach out to any
past student with a story of abuse. While uncertain about the best way to do this, we are currently seeking advice
from people familiar with the appropriate responses. We look to implement the recommendations of the Royal
Commission, including participation in the National Redress Scheme, for which we have commenced the
application process. To ensure transparency and accountability in our response to any victim, we have included
some past students of the College amongst those who will work with us on the most appropriate, independent and
sincere response for any victim.

It has come to my awareness that an appeal may be lodged against Michael Endicott’s conviction. The Order has
nothing to do with the appeal, the funding of any appeal nor the related recent application for bail pending an
appeal.

I am thankful for this opportunity to use the Old Boys Facebook page to acknowledge the profound wrong that is
sexual abuse. That such abuse has happened at Villanova and aware of the deep hurt it causes to any victim, is a
continuing deep sorrow for myself and my Augustinian brothers.

Fr Peter Jones
OSA Prior Provincial Order of St Augustine Province of Australasia