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The Salvation Army has defended the way it has treated the sex abuse victims of its former employee John Francis Gainsford.

Gainsford was jailed for 10 years yesterday on more than 20 charges of sexual offences against children in his care at Bramwell Booth Children's Home in Temuka, South Canterbury, during the 1970s.

One victim has accused the army of "dragging its feet" over compensation and apologies.

The woman, whose name is suppressed, told National Radio Gainsford's victims held the Salvation Army accountable for its active role in enabling him to avoid the consequences of his offending.

After the abuse in Temuka was discovered by management, the organisation sent Gainsford to a new post in Auckland, rather than reporting the matter to police.

But none of the victims had received a public apology from the organisation, she said.

Compensation payments were erratic, and the army had been slow to deal with victims' requests for a meeting.

Salvation Army spokesman Major Ross Gower said the organisation had aired an apology for all abuse in children's homes, on national television in 2003.

He said whenever sex abuse victims were paid compensation, they always received a written apology as well.

"The letter at the end (of the compensation process) will always include an apology for any injuries or abuse which has occurred to them while they have been in our care."

But the Gainsford victims want a public apology for their case.

Mr Gower said the army would need to consider whether this would be helpful to the situation.

" I can hear that they are asking for it; it's not personally my decision but we do need to reflect on that."

Six of Gainsford's eight victims had been paid compensation, he said.

The amounts paid out varied according to the level of offending against each person.

The Salvation Army had waited until Gainsford was sentenced before responding to the victims' calls for a meeting, Mr Gower said.

A response had been sent to the victims in the last few days, he said.

- NZPA