Category Archives: Father James Fletcher

NSW abuse inquiry hears Catholic Church official was willing to risk breaking the law by not reporting child sexual abuse allegations

NSW abuse inquiry hears Catholic Church official was willing to risk breaking the law by not reporting child sexual abuse allegations

Updated 25 Jul 2013, 7:32am

From the Link:

A senior Catholic Church official says he was willing to risk breaking the law by not reporting child sexual abuse allegations against a Hunter Valley priest.

Pedophile Pimp Protector Father Brian Lucas

Pedophile Pimp Protector Father Brian Lucas

Father Brian Lucas is a former lawyer and the current general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops conference.

He is giving evidence at the New South Wales inquiry investigating claims the church covered up abuse by two Maitland-Newcastle priests, Father James Fletcher and Father Denis McAlinden.

Father Lucas has told the inquiry he did not take notes during meetings to ensure they could not be used later in court.

The commission has already heard allegations that Father Lucas did not go to police after McAlinden confessed to him in 1993.

Counsel-assisting the commission Julia Lonergan asked Father Lucas about his note-taking while he was in a special role in the early 1990s and dealing with around 35 matters of allegations against priests.

Ms Lonergan said he did not take notes because he did not want them disclosed in any subsequent legal process.

Father Lucas said that was a reasonable comment.

Father Brian Lucas says he cannot remember priest admitting abuse to him

Father Lucas said he cannot remember Denis McAlinden admitting the abuse to him in 1993 but acknowledges evidence at the Commission points to that.

He said he would never betray the trust of a victim after they told him they did not want police informed about the allegations.

Under questioning by Counsel Assisting the Commission, Father Lucas agreed he was willing to risk prison or felony for failing to report a criminal offence.

He said it is his view a victim not wanting to go to police is a lawful excuse not to inform authorities.

Father Lucas says paedophile priests would never confess to child sexual abuse if notes were taken during interviews.

He told the inquiry he had a special role in the 1990s to seduce paedophile priests to resign.

Father Lucas said more than 10 priests, out of around 35, admitted to the allegations against them.

He said in his experience, if he was taking notes during those meetings, the priests would not have said anything.

Father Brian Lucas rejected claims by Counsel Assisting the Commission that it would have been valuable to write the confession down and then take it to the bishop.

Father Lucas said a priest has a right to silence and keeping a permanent record was a constant dilemma for him.

He also said he did not make notes because in fairness the accused should be shown them to ensure accuracy.

He added they would not be admissible in court anyway because of the person’s right to silence.

The inquiry continues.

NSW police warned of a possible Catholic Church paedophile network as early as 2004

NSW police warned of a possible Catholic Church paedophile network as early as 2004

Australian Broadcasting Corporation


Broadcast: 10/05/2013


Reporter: Suzie Smith

From the link:

A police force intelligence document tendered by the head of the NSW Sex Crimes unit, Superintendent John Kerlatec, to the Special Commission of Inquiry into Clerical Abuse in the Hunter region, NSW, revealed three priests were named as part of a possible paedophile conspiracy and that the Catholic Church had required a victim to “sign a deed” that they’d not pursue any civil or criminal actions.


EMMA ALBERICI, REPORTER: The New South Wales special commission of inquiry into clerical abuse in the Hunter region has heard that police were warned of the danger of a possible paedophile ring as far back as 2004.

A NSW police force intelligence document was tendered in a statement by the head of the New South Wales Sex Crimes unit, Superintendent John Kerlatec.

The document also named three priests as part of a possible conspiracy and said that the Catholic Church had required a victim to “sign a deed” promising they would not pursue civil or criminal actions.

John Kerlatec also told the inquiry that an internal police email showed there was no great urgency in the handling of child sexual abuse allegations in the Hunter region

Suzie smith reports from Newcastle

SUZIE SMITH, REPORTING: Today was the fifth day of the special commission and on the stand an unwilling witness detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, the head of the New South Wales Sex Crimes squad.

DCI Fox’s legal counsel, Mark Cohen showed the Commander an internal police email dated early May 2010. John Kerlatec admitted it revealed there was little urgency from a senior officer to investigate serious allegations of child sexual abuse cover-up.


MARK COHEN, BARRISTER, PETER FOX LEGAL COUNSEL (VOICEOVER): What it the case that the genesis of this matter was attracting very little urgency… there was not a lot of urgency being exhibited was there…?


SUZIE SMITH: In further testimony, John Kerlatec agreed with counsel Mark Cohen that it appeared the officer, inspector Dave Waddell was trying to shut down the investigation. As part of John Kerlatec’s evidence, several confidential police intelligence reports and documents were tendered to the commission. They reveal that in 2004, police were investigating a possible paedophile network operating within the Catholic clergy in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese. The investigation focused on three priests, Father Guy Hartcher, Father James Fletcher, now deceased and father Vincent Ryan.

The intelligence report states:


Priest (PO3) was committing similar offences against young boys at the same time as Priest (PO2) in a neighbouring parish. Priest (PO3) had been convicted with 30 victims.

SUZIE SMITH: The intelligence report also shows that these two priests were allegedly swapping male pornographic videos, but that evidence had been destroyed.

The priest known as P01 had been charged with child sex offences in 1994. The report says the Catholic Church paid a victim and made him sign a deed not to pursue any further criminal or civil actions.

In another police internal memorandum dated the 13th May 2011 the then manager of the Sex Crimes squad Paul Jacob said senior members of the Catholic clergy and employees of the Catholic Church must be interviewed. He also expressed some urgency due to adverse media comment.

This bundle of internal police documents shows that the then crime manager of the Sex Crimes unit, Paul Jacob, received a call from the solicitor representing Archbishop of Adelaide, Phillip Wilson in May 2011. He wanted to know whether the Archbishop was under police investigation. Paul Jacob then contacted the head of Newcastle police, Brad Taylor and asked him to call the solicitor with the following information.


G’day Brad, would you please contact him re this matter. From what I understand from Dave Waddell although this inquiry assessment may have to be handled with diplomacy, there is no prospect of any criminal investigation as key persons (ie the offender and the decision maker within the church) are both deceased.

SUZIE SMITH: The officer who sparked this commission of inquiry, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox has finally finished being cross-examined. DCI Fox says five days in the witness box has been tough but he’s glad he sparked the inquiry.

PETER FOX, DET CHIEF INSPECTOR, NSW POLICE: I knew this was going to be a rough time. I didn’t expect I would be given an easy time and many things will be put to me and I’m sure there will be more. But I’ve still got no reservations whatsoever about what I’ve said.

SUZIE SMITH: Next week the inquiry will hear from the Newcastle ‘Herald’ journalist, Joanne McCarthy and many more senior police.

Suzie Smith, Lateline.