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Perth Anglican Archbishop steps down

AAP logoAAP 10/10/2016 Greg Roberts

Roger Herft has stepped down as Anglican Archbishop of Perth just over a month after admitting to the royal commission into child sexual abuse to badly letting down victims.

Archbishop Herft said he had decided after consulting widely in recent weeks that it was in the best interests of the Perth diocese that he step aside.

Archbishop Herft is the highest-ranking casualty so far of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which has been running for more than three years.

"I have taken this decision after much prayer, thought and consultation with my advisors to allow for the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Perth to flourish," he said in a statement.

"I believe this is the appropriate decision while I focus my attention on the royal commission's ongoing inquiry into the Diocese of Newcastle."

He admitted just over a month ago to badly letting the community of Newcastle in NSW down when he was archbishop there by not reporting repeated complaints about paedophile priests to police.

Senior priest Peter Rushton was accused of abusing another priest's son and was said to have been at the heart of a pedophile ring of clergy and lay church workers who preyed on children at St Alban's, a boy's home near Newcastle.

No file was even created for former cathedral dean Graeme Lawrence, who was accused of child sex offences numerous times.

"I have ... let them down badly, let down survivors in ways that remorse itself is a very poor emotion to even express," he said while giving evidence at the commission five weeks ago.

Archbishop Herft was the Newcastle archbishop for 12 years until 2005 before taking the same position in Perth.

He did not indicate if he was permanently quitting.

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