Secret Catholic Church report found parish priest Peter Searson was guilty of child sex abuse, despite no charges ever being laid against him


Secret Catholic Church report found parish priest Peter Searson was guilty of child sex abuse, despite no charges ever being laid against him

Pedophile Pimp, Cardinal George Pell

Pedophile Pimp, Cardinal George Pell

 

A secret Catholic Church report concluded a parish priest was guilty of child sexual abuse, despite no charges ever being laid against him.

The internal report of a confidential 1997 investigation into Father Peter Searson, of the outer-Melbourne parish of Doveton, made a finding that “the parish priest had been guilty of sexual abuse”, Four Corners has revealed.

In his evidence to last year’s Victorian inquiry into child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell rejected suggestions of a cover-up of Father Searson’s crimes, stating: “No conviction was recorded for Searson on sexual misbehaviour. There might be victims. He was convicted for cruelty. But speaking more generally, I totally reject the suggestion.”

Cardinal Pell made no reference to the inquiry about the internal hearing into Father Searson which had taken place in 1997, or the finding that the parish priest had sexually abused two girls.

Cardinal Pell was regional bishop in the early 1990s when allegations were being made about Father Searson in Doveton.

He told the Victorian inquiry that, at the time, “I certainly did not do nothing; I certainly did. I was sent back to Searson to tell him to follow the protocols correctly, because people were saying he was misbehaving. He was furious at that … He denied everything and anything.”

Father Searson was eventually removed from the Doveton Parish and charged by police for the physical assault of a young boy attending the Holy Family School. He received a suspended sentence.

Father Searson died in 2009.

He was the last of four paedophile priests who had headed the Doveton Parish for an unbroken span of 25 years from 1972 to 1997.

The others were Father Thomas O’Keefe, Father Wilfred Baker, and Father Victor Rubeo.

Their criminal acts over a quarter of a century damaged the lives of countless young children in the Doveton area, and other parishes in which they worked.

Father O’Keefe died in the 1980s, but the church has since apologised to some of his child victims.

Father Rubeo died in December 2011, the day he was due to front a Melbourne court on 30 child sex abuse charges, while Father Baker died in February this year, days before his trial over the sexual abuse of eight boys.

Dangerous Pedophile Priest Father Peter Searson

Dangerous Pedophile Priest Father Peter Searson

The revelation the Church knew about Father Searson’s crimes is contained in the secret report written by the church’s Independent Commissioner into Sexual Abuse, Peter O’Callaghan QC.

Mr O’Callaghan was appointed in 1997 by George Pell, the then-Archbishop of Melbourne, to investigate the allegations from teachers, parents and others, surfacing about the priest.

Archbishop Pell “urged people not to rush to judgement” and said it was “essential to keep an open mind”.

However, the Melbourne Archdiocese has never released the results of Mr O’Callaghan’s inquiries.

Mr O’Callaghan’s confidential report says that, even before he was appointed parish priest in Doveton in 1984, Father Searson had “achieved a regrettable record of suspected sexual abuse of children, and considerable financial misappropriations”.

This record stretches back to other parishes over several decades.

The report records the many complaints that were made by teachers at Holy Family School, in Doveton, to the Catholic Education Office, about the priest’s activities.

Two of those teachers, the former school principal Graeme Sleeman and another former teacher, Carmel Rafferty, were interviewed on Monday night’s Four Corners program.

Mr O’Callaghan writes in his report that in May 1993, the Director of Education wrote to the Vicar General at the Melbourne Archdiocese, expressing concerns about the safety of the pupils in the school, and the “apparent vulnerability of the Archbishop and the Archdiocese in such matters and advised that legal advice had been sought”.

Father Searson was placed on administrative leave and not sacked by the church when the assault charges were laid.

Mr O’Callaghan’s secret report reveals that Father Searson had “successfully appealed to the Congregation in Rome, which held that the Commission did not have appropriate jurisdiction or procedure to make the findings”.

“Notwithstanding, the Parish Priest remains a retired Priest with no permission to exercise any priestly faculties,” the report said.

About victimsofrapebythercc

The Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: "Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." (no. 2356) Note that rape is "an intrinsically evil act," meaning that it is evil at its very root, nothing justifies it, and it is objectively a mortal sin. An evil act was done against me, a crime, by a priest at St Thomas More Parish in Durham, NH. An evil and a crime I will no longer keep silent about. Those who perpetrate crimes against children, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church, should all be punished for their crimes against children. Anything less would be criminal.

Posted on August 17, 2014, in Cardinal George Pell, Father Peter Searson, Father Thomas O'Keefe, Father Victor Rubeo, Father Wilfred Baker and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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