A brother of the Society of Mary convicted last month of sexually abusing boys in his care some 20 years ago, has expressed concern about the welfare of the young men involved.
Brother Andrew Cody has begun a two and a half year jail sentence after admitting the abuse before a judge in the Wellington District Court on 26 August.
The offending took place when he was working at Hato Paora Māori boys’ college at Feilding between 1981 and 1984. He worked on administration there and would help care for the boys when they became ill.
The Society of Mary’s delegate on sexual abuse matters, Fr Philip Cody, says Br Andrew deeply regretted his actions. The society acknowledges the hurt that has been done and hopes that now healing can happen for those involved.
Fr Cody says Br Andrew asked the Society of Mary for help and, according to the Catholic Church protocol outlined in A Path to Healing [1998, reviewed 2001], he was removed from ministry and undertook a six-month rehabilitation programme.
The Dominion Post reported on 27 August that although Judge Davidson took account of Br Andrew’s poor health when sentencing him, he ‘could do no better than to read the words of one of the victims: “I have difficulty going to sleep; when I close my eyes I see my abuser’s face.”’
Fr Cody said the society has already approached Hato Paora and Hato Paora Old Boys to encourage any who needed help in this area to call either Fr Philip Cody on (04) 3802060 or the Society of Mary Helpline 0800 764 357.
The society is committed to assisting people in this way and has a team including a counsellor and social worker available to help.