A former Anglican archbishop has been accused of not doing enough to keep young boys safe from sexual predators. According to media reports this week, Richard Henry “Harry” Goodhew, who used to be the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, has been accused of not protecting young boys from a sexual predator who oversaw church activities in New South Wales in the 1980s. 

The allegation is made in a statement of claim that was filed in July in the NSW Supreme Court by lawyers for abuse victim Alexander Hayes, who is asking the Anglican Church Property Trust Diocese of Sydney for compensation. 

In the claim, Goodhew is accused of not doing anything about the actions of William “Adrian” Richmond Sandwell, a former powerful leader of the Church of England Boys’ Society (CEBS) in NSW. It is said that Goodhew was told about Sandwell’s actions, but he did nothing. 

Sandwell was found guilty in 2019 of sexually abusing Hayes and five other boys between 1965 and 1986. Sandwell, who is in his 80s, denied the charges and in October he will be eligible for parole after serving just three years and seven months in jail. 

In his statement of claim, Hayes talks about how aggravated and indecent assaults by Sandwell at events run by the archdiocese of Sydney or the Anglican Church’s boy’s society between 1980 and 1985 had a terrible effect on him. He was 11-15 years old when abused. He claims Goodhew found out about the abuse in 1982. 

The Archdiocese refused to comment to the media, but released the following statement: 

“We fully support the work of the royal commission into historic abuse cases and the resulting recommendations to keep children safe. We are also committed to engaging constructively with survivors of abuse, regardless of how they make their claim.” 

In a defence filed last month, the church said Hayes did not have a right to damages, interest, or costs, and disputed the claims that Goodhew knew about Sandwell’s crimes. 

Sandwell was a well-known member of the Church of England Boys’ Society for many years. He was given official roles and responsibilities at weekend camps and other events. In NSW, he was the “chief commissioner” of the CEBS in the 1970s. 

According to Hayes, Sandwell’s abuse of him became worse after senior church leaders in NSW, including Goodhew, found out about it. He also claimed he told his parents at age 15 but was not believed. 

Currently 52 years old, Hayes said his adult life has been like a “roller coaster” in a psychological report that came out last November. 

Clinical psychologist Annette Paul wrote, ” He described difficulties with relationships, grief, anger, high anxiety and self-destructing behaviours.” 

Hayes wrote in a recent letter against Sandwell’s upcoming parole that the repeated abuse had ruined his life and Sandwell’s lack of regret only made things worse. 

Hayes also said that he knew of other boys who had been abused by Sandwell, one of whom had recently killed himself, and another who is in jail for killing family members. 

How AJB Stevens Helps Sexual Abuse Victims

Were you a childhood victim of sexual abuse? At AJB Stevens, we care about your best interests. We are experts in abuse law, and we can assist you to report your abuse, or to make a claim through the National Redress System. 

The National Redress Scheme was set up by the Australian government to help people who had been sexually abused as children in an institution. It includes access to counselling, a redress compensation payment, and a direct personal response to admit wrongdoing. 

Our experienced and caring team can help you complete your application and provide advice on whether going to court to get a better outcome is the best thing to do. Get in touch to discuss what we can do for you.