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Marist Brothers admit paying out over $500k to New Zealand abuse victims

The Marist Brothers have admitted multiple failings as the Abuse in Care Inquiry hears from its first Catholic witnesses.

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The Catholic order has paid out more than half a million dollars in compensation to New Zealand victims since the mid-1990s. Source: 1 NEWS

The religious order has paid out more than half a million dollars in compensation to New Zealand victims since the mid-nineties, and one survivor is calling for an independent body to investigate abuse claims.

At just five years old, Frances Tagaloa was abused by a man she should have been able to trust — a Marist Brother.

The abuse at her school in Ponsonby carried on for two years. She gave evidence to the Abuse in Care Inquiry late last year and today received an apology.

"As a member of the Catholic Church I’d like to apologise for these actions. I'd like to acknowledge Marist Brothers shortcomings failings and mistakes,” Marist Brothers professional standards delegate Br Peter Horide said.

The brothers admitted prior to 2016 there was no clear policy for dealing with those responsible, and their process for dealing with complaints delayed settlements.

They also noted the constant movement of brothers around the country may have helped hide their offending.

“People were abused when this abuse was avoidable,” Br Horide said.

Survivors say they don't want apologies

There are calls for an independent body to investigate complaints, backed by expert witness Reverend Dr Tom Doyle, an ordained priest himself.

“This myth that an institution can investigate itself is a myth. The Catholic Church is not democratic by nature,” Reverend Doyle says.