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Catholic church interferred in investigation


Catholic church interferred in investigation

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

 

Broadcast: 08/05/2013

 

Reporter: Suzanne Smith

From the link: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2013/s3755007.htm

Former policeman turned state parliamentarian,Troy Grant, told the special commission of inquiry into the handling of child sexual abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese that members of the Catholic Church had interfered in his investigation into sexual abuse.

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: More dramatic evidence has been revealed at the new Special Commission of Inquiry into the handling of child sexual abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese in NSW.

Former policeman, now state parliamentarian Troy Grant says a Catholic priest he was investigating was tipped off by a Catholic nun before his arrest. And he refuted claims he’d suggested a Catholic mafia existed within the police force.

Suzie Smith reports from Newcastle.

SUZIE SMITH, REPORTER: National Party MP Troy Grant joined the police force in 1988. As a 25-year-old he took on the case of Father Vincent Ryan. By the late 1990s, 31 Ryan victims had come forward. But Troy Grant says his investigation was obstructed by senior members of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese.

The former policeman told the inquiry a senior nun visited his home during the investigation. The same nun also gave him a false statement.

TROY GRANT, MEMBER FOR DUBBO: The nun provided me with false evidence and played a active role in tipping off the priest the night before I arrested him.

SUZIE SMITH: Troy Grant also says he has documentary evidence of senior clergy being involved in covering up crime.

TROY GRANT: I’ll be giving that evidence to whatever inquiry wants to hear it. And it’s not evidence of just my opinion or my thought. I’ve documentary written evidence to that effect.

SUZIE SMITH: The National Party MP said he was frustrated by the lack of will by the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge senior clergy.

TROY GRANT: Ultimately I believed I had enough to prove the offence at the time which was misprision of a felony for what occurred in 1974 and ’75. The DPP disagreed with that.

SUZIE SMITH: In a statement to the inquiry, Troy Grant clarified a conversation he had with Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox between 2002 and 2003. Mr Grant disputed Peter Fox’s evidence that he spoke to him about a Catholic mafia operating in the police force hindering investigations into clerical abuse.

JOURNALIST: Mr Grant, do you maintain that you never used the expression “Catholic mafia”?

TROY GRANT: Yes, I do, consistent with the evidence I gave under oath. That’s correct, that’s my recollection.

JOURNALIST: Did you raise any concerns about police involvement or police trying to obstruct these sort of investigations.

TROY GRANT: I never did, never had, never had reason to. I was never obstructed. My investigations from a policing point of view went through as per normal, as is reflected in the results achieved both in the criminal and the civil courts for my matters.

SUZIE SMITH: But in his signed statement to the commission Mr Grant says he and Mr Fox spoke about, “Bishop Michael Malone and his level of help or hindrance, Monsignor Patrick Cotter, who at some point passed away, Sister Evelyn Woodward and Father Brian Lucas.”

Troy Grant ended his press conference with this character assessment of DCI Fox’s ability as a police investigator.

TROY GRANT: He didn’t leave any level of detail to chance. He pursued down every rabbit hole, every lead that was made known to him. As I’ve been quoted in the Sydney press, if I was a victim of crime, I would want him as my investigator. His level of victim care I think is second to none and I think that’s been demonstrated over a number of investigations he’s undertaken in the Newcastle area.

SUZIE SMITH: Following Troy Grant appearance, Peter Fox was cross-examined for the rest of the afternoon. He told the inquiry a key witness had contacted him to say the officers of Strike Force Lantel had been harassing her and this had caused her to consider walking away from the investigation.

Late today three police officers applied for leave to be excluded from giving evidence because of ill health. Greens MLC David Shoebridge has told Parliament he is concerned that police won’t be able to be cross-examined.

DAVID SHOEBRIDGE, NSW GREENS MP (male voiceover): “What actions has the Minister taken to ensure the police who have been requested to appear as witnesses will in fact attend the inquiry?”

MIKE GALLACHER, NSW POLICE MINISTER (male voiceover): “I would have thought that was a matter between the Special Commissioner of Inquiry and the Commissioner of Police. No-one has raised anything of that nature with me.”

SUZIE SMITH: Commissioner Margaret Cunneen is considering the medical evidence regarding the absent officers.

Suzanne Smith, Lateline.

Ex-priest claims Australian Church hid sex abuse


Ex-priest claims Australian Church hid sex abuse

by

From the link: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130424/local/Ex-priest-claims-Australian-Church-hid-sex-abuse.466862

A Maltese man has blown the lid on the Australian Church by quitting the priesthood and claiming the Victorian Archdiocese has been deleting child sex abuse records.

Victor Buhagiar claims he “saw and heard” the Archbishop of Victoria order a secretary to turn off a recorder before discussing clerical sex abuse during a Church council meeting in April 2012.

He bowed out as a priest last January, saying his subsequent enquiries into the matter had led him to a metaphorical dead end.

“I believe there’s a devil in the hierarchy,” Mr Buhagiar has now told Australian investigative TV show Today Tonight.

“I suspect the recorder was turned off to create a black hole, so that investigators will…find nothing. Certain data is not being recorded in any way, shape or form.”

He accused the Archdiocese of operating a ‘no names’ policy in cases related to sexual abuse, saying Church superiors had turned down a request to alert nearby parishes to the presence of a suspected sexual offender.

“The secretary told me we cannot do that because we have a policy of no names. If I don’t put the name of the person, how are the other priests going to know who I’m talking about?” he said.

Pope Francis has called for the Vatican’s prosecutorial arm, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to act decisively in cases of sexual abuse and promote measures to protect minors.

While Victorian Archbishop Denis Hart has issued a statement contesting Mr Buhagiar’s claims, he has done little to directly deny them. In a statement, the Archbishop noted that, while the Archdiocese complied with privacy principles, “it is wrong to describe that as a ‘no names’ policy”.

Archbishop Hart also admitted that tape recorders were sometimes switched off during council meetings, justifying this by arguing that some discussions were either “in a preparatory stage or otherwise confidential”.

“On such occasions, the Council may elect to discuss matters that are not minuted. This allows an open discussion in advance of a formal decision or final position being reached,” the Archbishop wrote.

Mr Buhagiar’s resignation caught his former Gladstone Park congregation by surprise. Reactions to his sudden departure have been mixed: while over 300 locals have written to the Archdiocese in his support, others have said that the parish is being better run without him.

Second ‘Runaway Priest’ found by Dallas News sent back to Australia to face sex-abuse charges


Second ‘Runaway Priest’ found by Dallas News sent back to Australia to face sex-abuse charges

By 5:02 pm on April 24, 2013

From the link: http://watchdogblog.dallasnews.com/2013/04/second-runaway-priest-found-by-dallas-news-sent-back-to-australia-to-face-sex-abuse-charges.html/

Australian authorities charged the Rev. Julian Fox, pictured, after he returned from his religious order’s headquarters in Rome. He faces 10 counts of sexually and physically abusing boys at a Melbourne-area boarding school, according to press reports.

Australian authorities charged the Rev. Julian Fox, pictured, after he returned from his religious order’s headquarters in Rome. He faces 10 counts of sexually and physically abusing boys at a Melbourne-area boarding school, according to press reports.

Another priest from our landmark 2004-2005 series on the Catholic Church’s international transfers of sex abusers has been arrested.

Australian authorities charged the Rev. Julian Fox, pictured, after he returned from his religious order’s headquarters in Rome. He faces 10 counts of sexually and physically abusing boys at a Melbourne-area boarding school, according to press reports.

In our series, I reported that Fox was moved to Fiji after an abuse complaint in the late 1990s was made to his order, the Salesians of Don Bosco. The Salesians also paid his accuser a settlement, officials acknowledged to me.

When I talked to Fox by phone in 2004, he said a church review had exonerated him. He declined to further discuss the allegations.

“That’s in the past,” he said. “I’m not keen to be trolling through all of that again.”

Fox was also the Salesians’ South Pacific leader during the 1990s. In that role, he received allegations that the Rev. Frank Klep had previously abused boys. As you may recall, Klep is the fugitive priest we found on another Pacific island, Samoa, handing out candy to children at a church.

Fox told me that he had investigated the Klep complaint. But he couldn’t remember what he had found because the case was “history under a bridge,” he said.

The recent interest in Fox is two-fold:

First, an Australian government inquiry spawned a widening criminal investigation that has produced multiple arrests. Second, a leading investigative news program there, Four Corners, examined the Fox case last year.

 

The unholy conspiracy


The unholy conspiracy

Will an inquiry into decades of child sex abuse in Australia and alleged cover-ups by the Catholic Church serve justice?

Last Modified: 10 Apr 2013 14:33

In late 2012, Australia was rocked by fresh allegations of Catholic clergy child sex abuse by whistleblower, New South Wales Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox.

 

Fox has pursued allegations of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy for more than a decade, and he claims that as his investigations continued, a frightening picture emerged of a widespread cover-up by the Catholic Church of the child sex crimes committed by its clergy.

Fox repeated those claims publicly, and also accused the Catholic Church of deliberately obstructing police investigations, destroying evidence, and protecting paedophile priests, sparking calls for a national inquiry.

At the same time as Fox’s investigation, The Newcastle Herald’s senior journalist Joanne McCarthy, had also picked up the scent of a wider conspiracy by senior church officials to conceal sex abuse by its clergy.

Searching for clues – Joanne delved into the case of Father Vincent Ryan – a paedophile priest convicted in 1996.

Her first discovery was a police record of interview with Monsignor Patrick Cotter, who was Maitland’s acting Bishop in the 1970s.

She was stunned to learn Cotter had known for 20 years that Ryan was a paedophile, and that when it was first reported to him by parents of a victim – he had simply shunted the priest interstate – concealing the issue, rather than reporting it to the police.

She then discovered another bishop’s letter, outlining a plan to cover-up the crimes of one of the most dangerous paedophile priests in the Maitland-Newcastle area, Father Denis McAlinden.

Bishop Leo Clarke wrote to McAlinden with an offer – if he agreed to be laicised or, defrocked as a priest, the church would protect him: “Your good name will be protected by the confidential nature of this process.”

At the end of his letter, Bishop Clark urged McAlinden to agree to be defrocked because “some people are threatening seriously to take this whole matter to the police”.

The offer to conceal McAlinden’s crimes was proof of the church’s veil of secrecy and soon Joanne ascertained that the clergy members involved were amongst the most senior in the Australian Catholic church.

Now, a special commission of inquiry has been set-up by the New South Wales state government to determine whether their actions amounted to criminal conduct. The special government-appointed inquiry, known in Australia as a Royal Commission, has also been charged with investigating how the NSW police force handled the complaints.

The trigger for the Royal Commission came in July last year, when John Pirona, a 45-year-old firefighter in the city of Newcastle, ended his life after years of mental torment stemming from the sex abuse that he suffered as a child at the hands of a paedophile priest.

The abuse occurred at St Pius X High School, a Catholic boys’ school in Newcastle. Pirona’s suicide followed about a dozen suicides and many more attempted suicides by former students at the school. Shockingly, many people reported the abuse to the school principal who kept silent, punishing children who dared to complain.

As the impact of John Pirona’s suicide reverberated throughout the community, demands for a Royal Commission gained new impetus and in Newcastle, a public rally was held to boost the campaign.

Detective Peter Fox was at the rally and felt inspired to speak out about his struggle to expose crimes concealed by the church. Emboldened by speaking at the rally, he repeated his claims two months later on national television.

Four days later, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the establishment of a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This historic judicial inquiry will be the biggest in Australia’s history.

It will hear testimonies, not only about the original sex crimes, but also the subsequent crimes of concealment by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and other organisations.

The Australian inquiry goes way beyond the brief of any such inquiry anywhere in the world by promising to follow up with prosecuting sex offenders, and those guilty of concealing or covering up their crimes. A special investigation unit has been established to gather further evidence and prepare briefs for the police.

Although the commission itself cannot prosecute, the early establishment of these units means this important work in bringing about accountability can commence quite soon.

The effects of the royal commission could have widespread and unforeseen outcomes – such has been the force of religion in Australia, threatening to shake Australia’s social and political life when its findings are published.

Second Australian Catholic priest charged


Second Australian Catholic priest charged

By JOANNE MCCARTHY

Jan. 29, 2013, 10:14 a.m.

RETIRED Maitland-Newcastle catholic priest Lew Fenton has appeared in Newcastle local court as the second Australian Catholic priest charged with concealing the child sex crimes of another person.

Mr Fenton, 81, did not enter a plea to a charge of misprision of a felony – concealing a serious crime -related to events in the mid-1980s.

He was supported in court by a small group of people and did not make a statement outside the court.

The matter was adjourned until March.

Catholic Church upheld 618 child sex abuse cases


Catholic Church upheld 618 child sex abuse cases

September 22, 2012

Barney Zwartz

from the link: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/catholic-church-upheld-618-child-sex-abuse-cases-20120921-26cem.html

THE Catholic Church in Victoria yesterday admitted that it had upheld 618 cases of criminal child abuse by clergy in the past 16 years.

All but 13 of the cases were before 1990, some dating back to the 1930s, church spokesman Father Shane Mackinlay said. The four Victorian dioceses of the church yesterday lodged a joint submission to the State Parliament inquiry into the handling of child abuse cases by religious and non-government organisations.

Father Mackinlay told The Saturday Age 302 of the 330 cases upheld by the Melbourne Response of the Melbourne Archdiocese applied to criminal child abuse and 310 from the Towards Healing response, which covers the dioceses of Ballarat, Sale and Sandhurst (Bendigo) and the various religious orders. Another 45 cases, though not all children, are still being investigated.

Submissions to the inquiry closed yesterday, with ”hundreds” received, according to Georgie Crozier, the chairwoman of the Parliament’s family and community development committee, which is hearing the inquiry. They came from victims, advocates, churches and other interested groups. Ms Crozier said public hearings would begin next month, continuing in Melbourne and regional areas into next year. The committee is due to report by April 30.

Judy Courtin, a lawyer supporting several victims in their submissions, said that, according to the Victorian Law Reform Commission, only one in 10 victims ever came forward, suggesting a real toll closer to 6500 Victorian victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Catholic Church yesterday launched a website dedicated to the inquiry, facingthetruth.org.au, and held meetings on Thursday and yesterday to brief clergy, church workers and members of religious orders.

Father Mackinlay said more than 100 turned up yesterday. ”There are 1.5 million Catholics in Victoria, and they all have a stake, they are all affected and many know victims. The message I hear consistently is that hiding behind closed doors makes the problem worse,” he said. In a joint statement about their submission, titled Facing the Truth, the four Victorian diocesan bishops say they will co-operate fully with the inquiry, and they have been open about the horrific abuse. They say they will waive any confidentiality requirements victims may have signed.

”In our submission we discuss the church’s commitment to caring for children, the failures of the church and the developments in society’s and the church’s understanding of the pernicious nature of paedophilia,” the bishops say. ”The submission shows how the church of today is committed to facing up to the truth and to not disguising, diminishing or avoiding the actions of those who have betrayed a sacred trust.”

The Law Institute of Victoria has echoed calls for a full royal commission into clergy abuse, arguing that the parliamentary committee does not have the powers, resources or time to complete a thorough review.

In its submission to the inquiry, the institute also calls for mandatory reporting, legislation requiring organisations to establish compensation funds, and an independent statutory body to monitor how churches respond to complaints of clergy abuse.

The church protected this priest who admitted offences against children


from the link: http://brokenrites.alphalink.com.au/nletter/page271-bishop-henry-kennedy.html

The church protected this priest who admitted

offences against children

Broken Rites Australia helps victims of church-related
sex-abuse.

By a Broken Rites researcher

 

  • Article updated 17 February 2012

This is a classic case-study in how the Catholic Church authorities in Australia harboured a priest, despite complaints about him being a danger to children.

In one parish of the Armidale diocese in northern New South Wales in the 1980s, altar boys complained that they were being sexually abused by a certain priest (let us call him Father XYZ). But the two leaders of this diocese — Bishop Henry Kennedy and Monsignor Frank Ryan — protected this priest, helping him to avoid a criminal conviction.

Privately, Father XYZ admitted that he had indeed been committing sexual acts upon children. Later the church was forced to begin paying compensation to some of these former altar boys.

The former altar boys said that their lives were damaged not only by the abuse but also by the church’s cover-up and the code of silence.

Eventually two of the former altar boys (Damian and Daniel) no longer wished to continue living, and they died at the age of 28, each of them leaving two young children. Damian and Daniel did not know each other (they were from different parishes) but their tragic stories are remarkably similar.

 

Armidale diocese

Father XYZ grew up in Armidale and attended school there. When he was a young adult, he was recruited by Bishop Henry Kennedy to go to a New South Wales seminary to be trained for the priesthood.

After being ordained, Father XYZ belonged specifically to the Armidale diocese and normally he would be expected to spend his career in the parishes of this diocese.

The Armidale diocese comprised about 30 parishes in a vast rural area. The biggest town in the diocese is Tamworth. The town of Armidale is merely where the bishop is located — at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Joseph, Armidale. Tamworth and Armidale are prominently located on the New England Highway. Further inland are outlying towns such as Moree and Narrabri.

Bishop Henry Kennedy and Monsignor Frank Ryan were significant figures in the Australian church.

  • Bishop Henry Kennedy, as a young priest, had been the private secretary to Cardinal Norman Gilroy in Sydney, and had eventually became vice-chancellor of the archdiocese of Sydney. After being an auxiliary bishop in Brisbane, he became bishop of the Armidale diocese in 1971, aged 56. 
  • Monsignor Francis Patrick Ryan was born in the Armidale diocese. He was a pupil at De La Salle College in Armidale city, and later served as the school’s chaplain. He became one of Australia’s youngest monsignors (the rank immediately below a bishop). He became the Armidale diocese’s vicar-general (that is, the bishop’s deputy) throughout Bishop Kennedy’s reign. As well as being vicar-general, Monsignor Frank Ryan simultaneously worked in parishes (for example, St Francis Xavier parish at Moree). 

Early complaints

In the early 1980s Father XYZ spent three years working as an assistant priest in a rural parish. He gave much attention to the altar boys.

By early 1984, at least one family complained to the Armidale diocese leadership that Father XYZ had sexually abused their son (“Max” — not his real name), who was an altar boy. This complaint was “handled” internally by Bishop Kennedy and Monsignor Ryan and it was not passed on to the police.

The Armidale diocese leadership merely granted Father XYZ a short period of leave from the diocese. Later in 1984, they brought him back to the Armidale diocese, where they appointed him to a parish in a much larger town than his previous town. The families in his new parish were not told about the previous trouble in the rural parish.

Meanwhile, other boys from Father XYZ’s earlier town (where the above-mentioned “Max” lived) revealed that they, too, had had an encounter with this priest. But, again, none of this information reached the police.

Eventually, in 1987, one of Father XYZ’s earlier altar boys (Damian James Jurd, born on 7 March 1972) was in distress in Sydney, aged 15. He was interviewed by child-protection workers and by a children’s psychiatrist. Damian revealed that he had been sexually assaulted by Father XYZ while he was in this priest’s custody in early 1984, when he was aged eleven (or turning twelve). The child-protection experts agreed that the sexual assaults (plus the breach of trust and the accompanying cover-up) had disrupted Damian’s adolescence, resulting in severe personal damage.

 

Police charges

On 11 August 1987, specialist detectives from Sydney arrested Father XYZ in Tamworth and charged him with having committed sexual crimes on Damian. Damian’s police statement alleged that these assaults occurred during a weekend car-trip to Narrabri(St Francis Xavier parish). Father XYZ and Damien stayed in Narrabri overnight, so that Father XYZ could conduct the weekend Mass for a priest who was away. Damian acted as the altar boy. Damian’s Catholic family had presumed that the child would be safe while in the custody of a Catholic priest.

Early on the evening of 11 August 1987, the arrest of Father XYZ was reported on the Tamworth local regional commercial television news bulletin. The news item gave the priest’s full name, plus the charges. But, also on that same date, church lawyers obtained an injunction from a Supreme Court judge, preventing the next morning’s newspaper from publishing the name of the defendant or any details. Thus, the newspapers could not mention the Catholic Church or the fact that “the man charged” was a clergyman. However, many people had already heard the priest’s name on the earlier TV bulletin.

 

Court case

Supported by the church leadership, Father XYZ indicated that he would plead “not guilty”. The church’s legal team was well resourced. It was headed by a prominent Sydney Queen’s Counsel, whose long career has included defending a number of high-profile criminal cases.

Father XYZ’s case, held in a closed court on 18 February 1988, was heard by a Catholic magistrate who was personally acquainted with Father XYZ.

This magistrate dismissed the charges, saying that he preferred to believe a Catholic priest (who had “no previous convictions”), rather than a delinquent youth.

The magistrate imposed an order, prohibiting the media from publishing the priest’s name, which is why this Broken Rites article refers to him as “Father XYZ”.

After the court’s acquittal, the Armidale diocese arranged for Father XYZ to live in a presbytery (the home of a very senior cleric), instead of ministering in a parish. Father XYZ spent this time doing some university studies.

 

Transfer

In 1989 it was arranged that Father XYZ would transfer to minister in a parish in the Parramatta diocese(in Sydney’s west), although he still belonged officially to Armidale.

The Parramatta diocese, which comprised 60 parishes, was administered from 1986 to 1997 by Bishop Bede Heather.

As Parramatta is 500 kilometres away from Armidale, the Parramatta congregations were unlikely to have heard about the 1987 court case. The people of the Armidale diocese were not told why Father XYZ was not being given any more parishes in the Armidale diocese, and his new parishioners in the Parramatta diocese were not told why he was arriving there.

Father XYZ worked (during 1989 until late 1990) in one of Parramatta diocese’s parishes and then (from late 1990 to early 1992) in a second parish. Again, he befriended boys in the same way as before. Eventually, some parishioners in the Parramatta diocese became concerned about Father XYZ.

One parent spoke to a prominent priest of the Parramatta diocese, Father Roderick Bray (of St Margaret Mary parish in Merrylands), and threatened to “go public” about Father XYZ. Furthermore, someone in the Parramatta diocese learned about Father XYZ’s previous trouble in the Armidale diocese, and this information began to circulate in the Parramatta diocese.

In late 1991, while he was still on loan to the Parramatta diocese, the church authorities were finally forced to re-assess their previous protection of Father XYZ.

On 3 September 1991 (according to an official document in the possession of Broken Rites) Father XYZ was called to a meeting at the Sydney Cathedral presbytery, attended by three church officials:

  • Reverend Brian Lucas(then based at the Sydney Cathedral), who was involved in the administration of the Sydney archdiocese. 
  • Reverend John Usher, of the Sydney archdiocese, chairperson of the Australian Catholic Welfare Commission. 
  • Reverend Wayne Peters, a senior priest of the Armidale diocese, whose responsibilities then included the Armidale diocese Tribunal (Peters later became Armidale’s vicar-general).

Interviewed by the three officials, Father XYZ admitted that he had been committing sexual acts on young boys in his parishes.

[According to the New South Wales criminal laws, these offences would constitute the crime of indecent assault of a child.]

By mid-1992, Father XYZ’s term in the Parramatta diocese had expired. He returned to the Armidale diocese, living in a private house (not a church-owned house). The church authorities did not strip him of his priesthood but they did not appoint him to minister in any more parishes. Thus he became plain “Mister” XYZ, instead of “Father” XYZ. Despite his record, the Armidale diocese allowed him to continue playing an active role (as a layman) in church affairs in this diocese.

 

Confidential settlements

After Bishop Henry Kennedy retired in 1991 (aged 76), he was succeeded as bishop of Armidale by Bishop Kevin Manning. In 1997, Bishop Manning transferred to the Parramatta diocese, and Bishop Luc Matthys later took over in Armidale.

After Father XYZ’s return to civilian life, some of his former altar boys tackled the church authorities about the damage that had been done to their lives. The church resisted these applications but it eventually had to make confidential financial settlements with several of the former altar boys. The settlements served a business purpose — in order to end (and limit) the diocese’s financial liability to each of these persons.

Broken Rites has obtained the details of three settlements regarding Father XYZ:

  • Damian Jurd, the altar boy in the 1987 court case, hired a Sydney legal firm in the mid-1990s to bring the Armidale diocese to justice. Damian finally extracted a settlement from the diocese in 1998, when he was aged 26. He used this compensation as a deposit on a house for his partner and his two young children. But he was still feeling damaged by the church-abuse and the cover-up. At the end of 2000 his depression became particularly bad and he was feeling worn out. He was found unconscious in bed. He died on New Year’s Day, 2001, aged 28, when his children were aged about nine and eight. 
  • Daniel William Powell(born on 28 May 1979) was an altar boy in the Parramatta diocese during Father XYZ’s final months there in 1991-92. In October 2003 Daniel (then aged 24) signed a 24-page statement, alleging multiple incidents of sexual abuse by Father XYZ. The church contested Daniel’s claim for reparations. A settlement was reached in 2005 when Daniel was 26. But Daniel never recovered from the disruption of his adolescence and he took his own life, by hanging, on 25 November 2007, aged 28. He was the father of two young children. 
  • Basil” (not his real name), who had been an altar boy for Father XYZ in the same parish as Damian Jurd, won a settlement from the Armidale diocese in 2002 when he was 29. Before seeking this settlement, Basil had written to Cardinal George Pell (the archbishop of Sydney), complaining about Father XYZ and the church’s cover-up. Pell replied that this was not a matter for the Sydney archdiocese. Pell forwarded Basil’s complaint to the Armidale diocese. This indicates that Pell now knows about the Father XYZ cover-up — and so do other church leaders.

Broken Rites has heard about a settlement to another complainant (“Max“, in the Armidale diocese in the same parish as Damian Jurd). Also, there may have been other settlements that Broken Rites has not heard about.

 

The cover-up

The church authorities have some explaining to do:

WHY did the church tolerate Father XYZ for so long in the Armidale diocese in the 1980s, thereby putting children in danger?

WHY did the Armidale diocese transfer him to the Parramatta diocese for 1989-92, thereby putting more children in danger?

WHY did the Parramatta diocese agree to accept this priest, despite his history of complaints about him in the Armidale diocese?

WHEN Father XYZ admitted in his interview with church authorities on 3 September 1991 that he had indeed been committing sexual acts on children, did the church authorities pass this information on to the New South Wales police? If not, why not?

DO the church authorities feel any responsibility towards the children of Damian Jurd and the children of Daniel Powell? The lives of these orphans have been damaged by the church’s behaviour in harbouring and protecting Father XYZ. The next generation is still feeling the impact of the church’s cover-up.

 

Article by John Farrell

Bishop Henry Kennedy and Monsignor Frank Ryan are mentioned in an article by John Farrell, of Armidale, which was published in a local newspaper, the Armidale Independent, on (10 February 2011 (on page 4). The article was headed:
Our history
A weekly history column by John Farrell
No. 85: The ten Catholic bishops of Armidale
John Farrell’s article includes a brief outline of the career of Bishop Henry Kennedy, plus an anecdote about Kennedy’s early travels in the remote parts of the diocese. The article also mentions that, after Bishop Kevin Manning retired in 1997, Monsignor Frank Ryan was the head of the diocese for two years until Bishop Luc Matthys arrived in 1999. John Farrell’s article is favourable towards Kennedy and Ryan.

John Farrell, who is associated with the Armidale and District Historical Society, is a prominent citizen in the city of Armidale. He writes articles about local history in the Armidale press, including articles about church history.

According to the website of the Armidale Catholic diocese, Father John Farrell was a priest in the Armidale diocese in the 1980s (e.g., at St Nicholas’s parish, Tamworth, in 1985).

Perhaps some day this same newspaper, the Armidale Independent, will publish an article about how the Catholic Church leadership harboured Father XYZ.