Dilworth's former chaplain to be sentenced for sexual abuse

Laura James
Source: 1News

Dilworth’s former chaplain is set to be sentenced for sexually offending against 14 victims on Thursday.

Ross Browne.

Ross Browne, 73, who worked as a chaplain, teacher and scout leader at the Auckland boys boarding school between 1979 and 2006, will be sentenced at the Auckland High Court, for 16 crimes.

His offending includes 13 counts of indecent assault on a boy, one of sexual violation, and a further charge from 2020 of possessing child exploitation material.

The former staff member was arrested as part of Operation Beverly, a Police investigation beginning in 2019, where a total of 11 men have been arrested for historical sexual abuse, spanning four decades.

Browne was the vicar of the St Luke's Anglican Parish in Manurewa when police arrested him two years ago. He was also heavily involved in scouts and amateur theatrical company, The Auckland Gang Show.

He initially pleaded not guilty to all his charges, but changed his pleas in October.

1News has spoken to a family member of one victim, who said their relative was baptised by Browne at the age of nine.

The offending against him occurred around the same time.

In court earlier this year, the family member stood up and yelled out to Browne.

"[He] is no longer your victim," she said.

"You have ruined the last 20 years of my parents' life."

"May God forgive you, have mercy on your soul."

Chairman of the Dilworth Trust Board, Aaron Snodgrass, is expected to comment after the sentencing finishes on Thursday.

In a statement in October he said, "Today it is appropriate that I reiterate our apology to survivors of Ross Browne’s abuse, and to all survivors".

"Once Ross Browne is sentenced, we will be able to talk more freely, and I will."

The sentencing is scheduled to begin at 9am, and will be presided over by Justice Kit Toogood.