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Estate of retired Australian bishop to be used to help child abuse victims

The late Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who ‘regretted’ his handling of abuse cases, left his fortune to the Diocese of Ballarat

The multi-million dollar estate of Ronald Mulkearns, the former bishop of in Ballarat in Australia, will be used to help abuse survivors, the Diocese of Ballarat has said.

Bishop Mulkearns left his entire estate – valued at $2m (£1.1m) – to Bishop Paul Bird to be used “at his absolute discretion", according to local press.

Bishop Mulkearns, who died of cancer in April, was accused of covering up incidents of child abuse in Victoria and allowing priests accused of paedophilia to move freely between dioceses in the Australian state. There have been more than 100 claims of child abuse within the diocese since 1980.

In February, the retired bishop told a royal commission investigating child abuse that he “regretted" that he didn’t “deal differently with paedophilia."

“We had no idea, or I had no idea, of the effects of the incidents that took place," he said.

Australian Associated Press reported that Bishop Paul Bird, the current Bishop of Ballarat, said in a statement that the inheritance would be used to help abuse survivors.

The statement said: “Whatever the diocese of Ballarat receives from Bishop Mulkearns’ estate, I intend to set aside for assistance to victims of abuse."


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