Statement on the Sentencing of Ross Browne – December 2021

Bishop Ross Bay issued this statement following the sentencing of Ross Browne in the Auckland High Court on Thursday 2 December, 2021.

Today, Ross Browne has been sentenced in relation to offences of sexual abuse during the time he was employed as a Chaplain at Dilworth School (1980-2006).
On behalf of the Church, I apologise unreservedly to those who have suffered as a result of Ross Browne’s offending, and recognise the impact it has had on their lives. There is no place for this within the life of the Anglican Church. The Diocese of Auckland expresses its regret and sorrow that this has occurred. These actions are a source of shame for us, and we will continue to work to learn from what has happened so that our places of ministry are safe for all.
The Diocese has worked cooperatively with the NZ Police and with Dilworth School since the complaints came to light and is glad that this point has been reached. There has been no evidence nor any complaints of offending by Mr Browne since his resignation from Dilworth School. An independent review of church processes is being commissioned in relation to Mr Browne’s subsequent appointment as a parish priest.
Mr Browne was suspended from all church duties at the time that he was charged by the Police last year, and he subsequently resigned his ministry. Now that the court process has been completed, Church authorities will proceed with a Tribunal to determine Ross Browne’s standing in the Church. Deposition from the exercise of ordained ministry, which is the permanent removal from priesthood, is one of the sanctions available following a finding of misconduct by a priest.
Ross Bay
Anglican Bishop of Auckland