Calls grow for Church paedophile ring investigation

MARK COLVIN: There's more evidence tonight of a church paedophile ring that once stretched from Australia's mainland to Tasmania.

It comes with revelations from the mother of a young Tasmanian man who killed himself after being abused as a boy by a Tasmanian Anglican priest.

As Tim Jeanes reports from Hobart, the revelations have led to further calls for an investigation into the church's role in paedophilia during the 1980s.

TIM JEANES: Zena Skipper's son Brett killed himself last year, after being sexually abused as a child by members of the Anglican Church.

Her revelations come in an interview in tonight's Tasmanian Stateline program.

It's a story of how a kind-hearted, mischievous Tasmanian child had his life destroyed by sex abuse from within the church.

ZENA SKIPPER: Really deep bouts of depression, and sometimes he’s lock himself in his flat for three or four days at a time. He wouldn’t answer the door, he wouldn’t answer the phone.

The ultimate impact was suicide.

TIM JEANES: One of Brett Skipper's abusers was Tasmanian Anglican priest Louis Victor Daniels who's now in jail, after admitting to molesting 10 boys aged between 11 and 19.

Daniels' trial heard of how one of the priest's victims had been sent from Queensland to Tasmania.

Mrs Skipper says her son also suffered at the hands of notorious South Australian paedophile, church youth worker Bob Brandenburg.

Brandenburg committed suicide in 1999 while facing a range of sex charges, with some claiming his victims number up to 200.

Mrs Skipper says Brandenburg abused her son during a trip to Tasmania, while also luring him to Adelaide.

ZENA SKIPPER: Bob Brandenburg paid his airfares. This again was bribery, with promises to go to the grand prix and, yeah, literally do what they wanted to do while they were over there.

TIM JEANES: Mrs Skipper says she has no doubts of a wider paedophile ring.

ZENA SKIPPER: Brett had actually spoken to me, and his thoughts were that there was a paedophile ring operating from New South Wales down to Tasmania, and then across to Adelaide. Lots more boys, yes.

TIM JEANES: The Tasmanian Anglican Church acknowledges widespread abuse did occur, saying it warrants an unreserved apology.

But it says it's not aware of a paedophile ring, and anyone with information should contact police.

The Church in South Australia says civil actions before the courts means it can't comment at this stage.

Backing the latest claims is Tasmanian lobby group Survivors Investigating Child Sex Abuse, which says they increase the need for a wide-scale investigation such as a Royal Commission.

The group's spokesman is Steve Fisher, who says the Tasmanian Government needs to take the lead.

STEVE FISHER: We know, as victims, what happened. We know that children were ferried between States and abused, and we would like it to be fully investigated.

TIM JEANES: Tasmania's State Government says it's been extremely sympathetic to victims of abuse, including apologising and pledging $23-million to victims in State care.

A spokesmen says, given the nature of the allegations, any inquiry would need to be at a national level.

But Steve Fisher says victims will continue to apply pressure.

STEVE FISHER: The bottom line is that we believe the Government are hoping it will go away. I can tell them now, it won’t. This is just another case, and there will be further revelations within the coming weeks and months as to the extent of this paedophile ring.