Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis defended the Church’s reputation when he fronted the Victorian parliamentary inquiry on child sex abuse in the church this week.
The Bishop said the church and the police had a strong relationship and the Church made it its prerogative to inform police of any criminal behaviour.
“The church would never seek to cover up or sweep under the carpet anything serious,” he said.
He mentioned the church has a rigorous process for dealing with misconduct complaints, including reporting criminal behaviour to police, but revealed it had never been tested in an allegation of child sex abuse.
The Greek Orthodox Church kept records of its clergymen and complaints against them, Bishop Iakovos said.
It has defrocked two ministers following investigations into complaints but neither related to child sex abuse.
In one case, a priest had been keeping the fees paid for marriage licences.
If a serious complaint was made the church would establish a board to investigate the claim, Bishop Iakovos said.
“If there is any criminal element the authorities are notified, of course,” he said.
But Bishop Iakovos did concede that victims might feel embarrassed or ashamed to come forward.
Last week the Salvation Army and the Jehovah’s Witnesses told the inquiry they felt it was a victim’s responsibility to report abuse to police.
Source: ninemsn.