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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.

Catholic church interferred in investigation

Catholic church interferred in investigation

Australian Broadcasting Corporation


Broadcast: 08/05/2013


Reporter: Suzanne Smith

From the link:

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.


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.