Church tax exemption & choir founder charged with child sex offence

Tax concessions granted to religious organisations see the Federal Government miss out on taxing $30 billion of their revenue each year, according to an article in The Age.

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Image: ABC

The Catholic Church accounts for more than half of this amount, with annual revenue in the vicinity of $16 billion. The rationale for a religious organisation tax exemption is that Churches use profits to provide charitable services, but the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse has told a different story. The Royal Commission has uncovered criminal activities, corruption and incompetence in the Church. Is it time for the churches to be held accountable for how they spend their money?

The Catholic Church has again angered child abuse survivors by refusing to make public more than 2000 secret files on 63 paedophile priests. The files are a collection of confessions and complaints compiled by the Church’s insurance company since the 1990s, and contain enough legal evidence to send bishops, police and insurance types to jail. While the files have been handed to the Royal Commission, the Church has resisted calls to release the documents to the public.

Choir founder charged with child sex offence

In other news, one of the founders of Tasmania’s Rosny Children’s Choir, Ian Filby, 78, has been charged with having regular sex with an under aged choir girl in the 1980s. Police questioned the alleged offender six years ago but did not pursue their investigation.

However, the victim complained to the Child Abuse Royal Commission during its hearings in Launceston last year. The Commissioners referred the complaint to the police and Filby was charged earlier this month. Two years ago the choir organist was jailed for abusing the same girl.

About Peter Kelso

I am a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. I have been admitted to practice since 1984. I am the principal and founder of Kelso Lawyers which has operated in Newcastle since 1986.

I have been an advocate for compensation for victims of abuse since the commencement of the Victims Compensation Tribunal in New South Wales in 1988. I conduct the largest victims practice in New South Wales. I have a high level of engagement with numerous NGOs such as woman’s refuges, sexual assault services, community organisations and healing centres.

On 31 October 2012 I was a finalist for the Justice Medal, presented by the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales.

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