1 September 2022
Bishop Ross Bay has issued the following statement:
I write to advise you that I have imposed the Outcome of Deposition on former priest, Ross Browne. This action follows the recommendations of a Church Tribunal which found Ross Browne guilty of misconduct as a result of his conviction in relation to charges of sexual abuse during his time as a Chaplain at Dilworth School. The findings of the Tribunal are available on the Ministry Standards website https://ministrystandards.org/tribunal-findings
Deposition is the most serious outcome that can be imposed by the Church. It is the permanent taking away of the right to perform the duties of every office for which Holy Orders are required, and ineligibility for re-election or re- appointment to that office, or any other office in this Church.
An independent enquiry into the processes leading to Ross Browne’s appointment to other ministry roles (including as Vicar of Manurewa) following his resignation from Dilworth School has now been completed. The Hon Rodney Hansen, QC, undertook this work and his report can be found here.
Two significant matters are highlighted in the report. One is the conflict that arose in a bishop’s pastoral responsibilities towards clergy and a bishop’s responsibility to hold clergy accountable to standards of ministry. This issue is being resolved through the changes made to the Canons on Ministry Standards in Title D.
The other matter is the importance of full disclosure of information to relevant parties during the process of making any appointments in the Church. This is an important learning of which bishops in particular must take heed.
Further work needs to be undertaken to understand the nature of abuse in the Church and to ensure that appropriate accountabilities are put into effect. The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has a commitment to continue this work.
Where to get help:
See our Complaints Procedure page
Ministry Standards Commission
NZ Police services for sexual assault victims
Victim Support 0800 842 846
Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00
Rape Prevention Education
HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700
Safe to talk: A 24/7 confidential helpline for survivors, support people and those with harmful sexual behaviour: 0800 044 334
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.