Cardinal John Dew of New Zealand has been accused in a local news channel of allegedly abusing an underage boy in 1977.

Newshub, on New Zealand’s television channel Three, reported a 54-year-old man says Dew sexually abused him when he was seven years old.

Steve Carvell – who allowed his name to be used – told the television show memories of the alleged sexual abuse surfaced in recent years.

“The reason I’ve decided to share my story and come forward today is in the hope that other victims out there draw some strength from what I’m doing,” he told Newshub.

Carvell also alleges Father Noel Donoghue, another priest who has since died, and a nun also abused him.

The alleged abuse is said to have taken place at an orphanage in the Upper Hutt parish in the Archdiocese of Wellington in 1977.

Police told Newshub they have exhausted all available lines of enquiry about the accusation.

“Police were unable to locate sufficient evidence to meet the evidential test – which requires sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction,” the news program said.

“As such the case has now been closed, however Police will always consider new information that may come to light in relation to an investigation,” the statement continued.

In a statement, Dew strongly denied the accusation.

“My retirement as Archbishop of Wellington was announced on 5th May last year. On Saturday 6th May, I was informed that an allegation of sexual abuse had been made against me which dated back 46 years to when I was an Assistant Priest in Upper Hutt,” he said.

“I stated immediately, and state again now, that there have never been any instances of improper or abusive behavior in my 48 years of priesthood. I learned that the complaint made against me had been submitted to the Church’s National Office for Professional Standards and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse. I followed Church protocols, and stepped aside from any ministry while the Police were investigating this,” the cardinal continued.

“Thirty weeks later I was interviewed by the New Zealand Police in the presence of my lawyer,” he said, adding that from  the moment he was told of the alleged behavior, “I have strenuously denied that the events described ever happened.”

Dew said the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the New Zealand Police, others have been interviewed, and sworn affidavits provided to the police prove that these allegations could never have happened.

“The Police have informed me that this investigation has now been concluded, their file has been closed and no charges will be laid against me. From the time that I became a Bishop, I have lived by my Episcopal motto, ‘Peace through integrity.’ Integrity has always meant a great deal to me and the words of that motto have guided my life,” he said.

“I do not know the person making the allegations and have never met him. The allegation against me is false, it may come from a well of anguish and grief arising from other reasons. I am acutely aware of how distressing this is for many: Survivors who have put their trust in me, our church community, and my family and friends. I state once again that all incidents of abuse are wrong. I hope and pray that all abuse victims will find peace and healing,” the cardinal continued.

“I restate that these alleged events never happened,” Dew said.

In a statement, Archbishop Paul Martin of Wellington noted the New Zealand Police investigated the allegation against the cardinal, and no charges will be laid.

“Cardinal John retired as Archbishop of Wellington in May last year on reaching age 75, the normal retirement age for Catholic bishops. In accord with our protocols, Cardinal John stood aside from all public church activities when the allegation was brought to the attention of the Church. Cardinal John has asserted his innocence throughout,” Martin said.

“Inquiries by the Church are not run concurrently to those being undertaken by the Police. Now that the Police investigation has concluded, Cardinal John continues to stand aside while Church inquiries proceed,” the archbishop said.

“This has been a distressing situation for all involved. I would ask that we pray for all those affected and offer support where we can,” Martin said.

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