Church apology for orphanage abuse

By Kristin Edge

FAMILY: Beverley Lind is pictured front centre. At top, from left, are sister Maureen, and brothers Barry and Harold. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
FAMILY: Beverley Lind is pictured front centre. At top, from left, are sister Maureen, and brothers Barry and Harold. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The Anglican Church has apologised to a Northland woman who says she was mentally, physically and sexually abused in the care of an Anglican trust orphanage.

Whangarei woman Beverley Lind, now aged 70, received the apology after highlighting abuse suffered at the Orphans' Home Papatoetoe run by a trust established by the Anglican Church.

Mrs Lind spent 13 years at the orphanage from 1947, and believes others were abused. She wants to encourage people to come forward.

The Anglican Church has also formally acknowledged there were failures in meeting obligations to care for Mrs Lind and her three siblings. Mrs Lind, her two brothers and sister were placed in the orphanage after their parents separated and their father was unable to care for them due to a head injury.

He wanted the children to remain together and paid for them to be cared for at the orphanage.

During her 13 years there, Mrs Lind was subjected to serious beatings. She presented a statement to the church which said she was raped twice at the age of 11, while on a property she had been taken to during the school holidays.

After mediation in Whangarei, Mrs Lind reached an agreement with the Anglican Diocese of Auckland and was given a formal written apology from the Bishop of Auckland, the Right Reverend Ross Bay.

The Orphans' Home Papatoetoe was run by a trust established by the Anglican Church and opened in April 1909. In a letter, following the agreed resolution, Mr Bay formally apologised for the pain and suffering experienced by Mrs Lind.

"This has had ongoing adverse consequences for Mrs Lind, and her health and well-being," he said.

"Mrs Lind and her brothers and sister were entrusted to the care of the orphanage by their father. They were entitled to be treated with respect and care. There were failures in meeting those obligations."

Mr Bay acknowledged the courage it had taken Mrs Lind to make her claim and tell her story.

In a statement to the Northern Advocate, Mr Bay said the complaint had been resolved without admissions of individual allegations.

Mr Bay said the Diocese and the Anglican Trust for Women and Children recognised the need to respond sensitively and fairly to complaints of this nature.

Mrs Lind believes there were several children who were severely punished.

"It was pretty gruesome. I want people to know they don't have to carry this burden or carry the shame. There is help out there. I want to reassure them that the shame is not on them, they haven't done anything wrong."

Mrs Lind had begun High Court proceedings but they were put on hold for the private mediation. There were six others who had come forward and given statements supporting Mrs Lind's case.

It took decades of torment before Mrs Lind got the courage to speak up. She credits her strength to husband Mike, who has supported her for 40 years, including 17 years of marriage. Lawyers Henderson Reeves also played a major part in giving Mrs Lind the confidence to proceed with mediation.

"They gave me the trust. I couldn't have done it with out them. I never felt ashamed to tell my story to them and they treated me with the upmost respect."

-Read more about Beverley Lind's story in 48 Hours.

- Northern Advocate

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