Church apologises for abuse

David CharlesworthAlbany Advertiser
Anglican Priest Raymond Sydney Cheek was convicted for historic child sex offences against five boys between 1955 and 1985.
Camera IconAnglican Priest Raymond Sydney Cheek was convicted for historic child sex offences against five boys between 1955 and 1985. Credit: Simon Santi

The Anglican Church has made a public apology to those affected by convicted paedophile and former Williams-based priest Raymond Sydney Cheek.

Anglican Bishop of Bunbury Allan Ewing released a letter to the Albany Advertiser acknowledging the Church had failed to protect the men who were abused as children over three decades during Cheek’s posts across regional WA.

“Following his conviction, I made statements acknowledging the Church had clearly failed to protect these men while they were children and that the Church’s previous practices had been inadequate,” Bishop Ewing said in the letter.

“Today, the Anglican Church is totally committed to ensuring the Church is safe for everyone now and into the future.”

After a five-day District Court trial in late November, a jury found Cheek guilty of assaulting five boys between 1955 and 1985.

Cheek was convicted of two counts of indecently dealing with a child under the age of 14, two counts of indecent assault and one count of committing an act of gross indecency with a male person.

Four of the men had come forward after news of Cheek being charged over an incident that happened in Williams in 1985 became public. In his letter, Bishop Ewing made reference to another matter before the courts but said he was unable to reveal any details or make any comment.

“All child sexual abuse is a source of profound regret and sorrow for myself, the Church and, I know, for each of us in the wider community,” he said.

Bishop Ewing concluded his letter by encouraging anyone affected by abuse to contact the police.

“I would like to state very clearly the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury has zero tolerance of child sexual abuse and I encourage anyone who has knowledge or awareness of any abuse to speak directly to the police,” he said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails