For many years, Newcastle was the centre of a sinister paedophile network run by members of the Anglican Church – and protected by parishioners and community members who looked the other way.
In this gripping book, Anne Manne reveals how this network avoided detection for so long, and how its ringleaders were finally exposed and brought to justice. At the heart of the story is a survivor, Steve Smith, who endured years of childhood abuse but refused to be silenced.
Drawing on extensive research and interviews with survivors, clergy, lay people, police and others, Manne explores how the network operated and how it became entrenched in the upper echelons of Newcastle society. She offers deep insights into the minds and strategies of abusers and pays tribute to the victims and their tireless struggle for justice. Child sexual abuse has previously been thought of as an individual crime; Manne pioneers an examination of it as part of a network.
This is an unforgettable story of courage in the face of unthinkable evil.
‘A unique story of pain and triumph told superbly by Anne Manne, who follows victims of abuse as they shatter an old alliance between leading citizens of Newcastle and its Anglican cathedral on the hill which for decades protected brazen paedophile priests. In all the writing of the last few years about clerical child abuse, there’s nothing like Crimes of the Cross.’ – David Marr
‘This story gripped me from the first page and refused to let go. The courage expressed, the clear criminality within the Anglican Church, the vividness of the writing – all of it has remained with me ever since. This book is a singular achievement, and I cannot recommend it more highly.’ – Jess Hill
Anne Manne is an Australian writer, essayist and social philosopher. A former columnist for The Australian and The Age, she has written many essays about contemporary culture, especially for The Monthly magazine. Her books include Motherhood, So This Is Life, The Life of I and a Quarterly Essay, Love and Money- The Family and the Free Market.