Sex abusing Salvo dismissed then reinstated

A HIGH-ranking Salvation Army officer and wife of self-confessed child abuser Colin Haggar has told the royal commission she apologised over dinner to the mother of her husband's eight-year-old victim.

Sidelined executive Lieutenant Colonel Kerry Haggar was one of five senior officers overseeing the army's operations across three states before she was placed on indefinite leave on April 4.

At the time, the army had been made aware the commission would hear evidence against Ms Haggar's husband, a former lieutenant colonel who was allowed to serve in the organisation until earlier this year.

It was soon revealed that in 1989, senior army officers and Mrs Haggar had been made aware that Colin Haggar had indecently assaulted an eight-year-old girl during their service in a western NSW town.

The commission heard that when the mother of the young victim questioned Mr Haggar about the incident, he replied "It wasn't that serious... I only fingered her".

While Colin Haggar was initially dismissed from the organisation, he was reinstated in 1993.

As the hearing resumed in Sydney on Monday, Lt Col Haggar told the commission she and her husband had dinner at the victim's home at the time of the offence and the girl's mother forgave her and told her "not to worry about it".

She wept as she recalled sending a letter - believed to be behind her exit from senior office - to whistleblower Captain Michelle White.

In the letter, penned in the early hours after revelations against her husband were first made public, Lt Col Haggar wrote that "in attempting to protect families, you have caused irreparable damage to mine".

Lt Col Haggar said in hindsight, sending the letter was wrong and she was "very sorry".

The hearing, which is examining how the Salvation Army dealt with abuse claims arising from the treatment of children at several of its homes in Queensland and NSW, will continue on Tuesday.


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