Father Farrell charged for alleged offences against three girls
- October 18, 2012
Leesha McKenny and Lisa Davies
A former NSW priest who allegedly told three senior Catholic clergy a decade ago that he had repeatedly sexually abused children has been charged with 25 child-sex offences relating to three girls.
The 59-year-old was arrested at a home in Armidale this morning, and is expected to face court this afternoon in relation to the charges dating back to the 1970s and ’80s.
Following his arrest, police urged anyone with information about an alleged cover-up by the Catholic Church to come forward.
Sex crime squad commander John Kerlatec said it was too early to say for sure whether Strike Force Glenroe would investigate suggestions the Catholic Church covered up the allegations.
“It’s certainly early days in regards to our investigation in respect to the alleged cover-up that’s been suggested,” Detective Superintendent Kerlatec said.
The offences were allegedly discovered after police formed Strike Force Glenroe in July.
Detectives have spoken to 50 people, including potential victims, their families and others who may have information.
The police say the victims were were all young girls aged between five and 18 when they were allegedly sexually and indecently assaulted by the former priest.
The State Crime Command’s sex crimes squad set up Strike Force Glenroe in July to investigate allegations that Father F had abused altar boys while a priest based in Armidale and Parramatta.
Father F, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was removed from public ministry after a meeting with three clergy in 1992, following continued allegations of abuse after he was moved from the Armidale diocese to Parramatta.
The three priests now all occupy senior positions in the church, which has denied a cover-up amid conflicting accounts of Father F’s admissions during the 1992 meeting and why he was not reported to police.
Father F, who was defrocked in 2005 but continued to live in Armidale, also told a court in 2004 that he had admitted to the priests that he performed oral sex on boys.
These allegations were brought to light by an ABC Four Corners report earlier this year.
Federal Court judge Antony Whitlam had been appointed by Bishop of Armidale Michael Kennedy and Bishop of Parramatta Anthony Fisher to lead its own inquiry into the church’s handling of the case.
Bishop Kennedy said in a statement that that the diocese was offering its full co-operation and assistance to police.
“I am not able to comment any further as this is a matter rightly being dealt with by the NSW Police,” he said.
“I again take this opportunity to extend my deepest sympathy to victims of child abuse and their families, and reassure the community of my commitment to see justice achieved.”
Premier Barry O’Farrell welcomed today’s arrest.
“I welcome the police decision to arrest another person accused of paedophilia,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“I wish them well – that’s what should be happening, rather than some of the politically motivated calls for royal commissions.”
The Rogue Ex-Priest of Armidale
This is taken from the Court Dude Australia website and the link below is to the story:
There’s a big difference between a “lovable rogue” and a “rogue”. This is often overlooked.
A lovable rogue is a character who, often from humble beginnings, manages to beat the system using extraordinary and unconventional means. Although he at first seems to act for personal profit alone, the lovable rogue can win over an audience with charm and wit, eventually revealing some ethical motivation that was not immediately apparent. He is not condemned as a villain, but celebrated as being adventurous, individual and creative.
Not so the plain old “rogue”!
Some of the perhaps less-used-these-days definitions of a “rogue” include:
Where would we find such a person? Such an out-and-out, old-fashioned rogue?
Well, through his many contacts around the world, Court Dude can reveal that there’s a real live one living right now in Armidale, northern NSW who goes by the name of John Farrell.
Rev. John Joseph Farrell (1953-) was ordained at the Armidale cathedral on 21 September 1981. His main parish placements were: St Edward’s parish, Tamworth South (as a deacon, early 1981); St Francis Xavier parish, Moree (1981 to mid-1984); and St Nicholas’s parish, Tamworth (1985-87). In 1987-88 he lived at the residence of Armidale Bishop Henry Kennedy. In 1989 he was transferred, on loan, to the Diocese of Parramatta, where his parishes were: St Madeleine’s, Kenthurst (until November 1990); and St Margaret Mary’s, Merrylands (until 1 July 1992). He had no subsequent parish appointments. He was accused of sexual abuse and the diocese made civil settlements with two former altar boys. One former altar boy, who was offered $175,000, was from the Moree parish in the Armidale diocese (in northern NSW) and the other was from the Merrylands parish in the Parramatta diocese (west of Sydney). The settlements were made in 1998 and 2005. Source: http://www.eurekaencyclopedia.com/index.php/Category:Diocese_of_Armidale
Last night, as it happens, there was an excellent piece of investigative journalism on the ABC’s Four Corners program about a rogue ex-priest from Armidale who according to Court Dude’s contacts on the ground there bears a striking resemblance to Good Old Father John – see http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2012/06/28/3535079.htm?WT.svl=bestOfScroller
The story reveals, amongst other horrific collateral damage to family and friends, that both of the former altar boys mentioned above later committed suicide.
Although no longer practising as a priest, John Farrell swans about Armidale these days as a bona-fide man-about-town, writing articles for the local paper and promoting himself a close student of local history. Specifically, local Catholic history.
But why hassle Good Old Father John if he’s never been convicted? The presumption of innocence is paramount – isn’t it? Yes, it is. Are there ever, ever, exceptions to this Golden Rule of Justice? Yes, there are. When men, to whom you entrust the care of your children, rape them and get away with it.
John Farrell is a rogue. An “unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person”; a “solitary animal who has separated himself (in this case, morally) from the herd”; an organism who has shown a most “undesirable variation from a standard”.
It is sometimes the case that a crime can resonate so deeply and tragically that it actually works itself to make a legal conviction extremely difficult. And that is what has happened here. Will justice ever be visited upon the Rogue Ex-Priest of Armidale? Stay tuned…
This is a posting I found on a web search about Father John Farrell titled
Monday, 09 July 2012. It comes from the link below:
This time last week Four Corners ran a sickening story about a paedophile priest who was protected by the Catholic Church and is still being protected by the Catholic Church.
Sexual assaults against altar boys in Moree, Narrabri and Parramatta which led to the suicides of several victims.
It has now embroiled the Archbishop of Sydney George Pell, the Secretary-General of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Brian Lucas, the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Monsignor John Usher and the Vicar-General of the Armidale Diocese in New South Wales, Wayne Peters.
One name not mentioned in any of the reports – and I will name him in a minute — is the paedophile priest. On Four Corners he was referred to as ‘Father F’ because his name was suppressed when he appeared in court in 1988 charged with six cases of sexual intercourse without consent and five counts of indecent assault on a child. The charges were dismissed by a magistrate whom I understand had known Father F. for a long time and, in my opinion, should have excused himself.
The Catholic Church hired one of the best, and most expensive, QCs in Australia, Chester Porter, for a lowly Magistrate’s hearing in Narrabri, and a jury never got to hear the victim’s graphic evidence because the Magistrate said any jury would believe a Catholic priest, with no prior convictions, over a ‘wayward youth’.
I now know a lot more about Father F. And so should you.
The paedophile priest’s name is John Farrell. He now lives in Armidale. On the same street as a Catholic School. O’Connor Catholic High School. He writes material for the local newspaper and reportedly has been employed to do survey work for the Federal government that entails him going into family homes.
He’s still living a good life, untouched by the law, even though several of his victims killed themselves before they reached 30. I tried to phone him yesterday. Got his answering service which told me that his mate Mike was holding a State of Origin football party and advising Queensland supporters to ‘bring their own beer and their own meat’.
Life is good for a child molester who has been protected by the Church for 30 years. He was first accused of sexual assault on an altar boy in 1983 — and the Archbishop was told about it. He was charged in 1988 but not defrocked until 2005 – only seven years ago.
And all those Catholic heavies I mentioned earlier are still covering up for John Farrell. I have copies of the documents which show several of them guilty of what I believe are criminal cover-ups and several of them lying about it even now. I’ll explain why next.
In 1992, nearly ten years after the church hierarchy was first notified of Farrell’s sexual abuse of altar boys, the priest was called before a three-man Church tribunal.
I have seen a report of the proceedings. The meeting was held inside the Presbytery at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Thursday, September 3. 1992 and lasted from 7.40p.m. until 10.30p.m.
Confronting Farrell were three members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Special Issues Resource Committee. The men I mentioned earlier: Lucas, Usher and Peters.
I believe that what they heard then should have sent them straight to the Police. It didn’t. And some of their recollections now are simply not true.
Lucas said on radio, the day after the Four Corners revelations, that Farrell ‘made no admissions of a specific nature. He was very careful about not naming any names and, on that basis, we didn’t have anything we could take to Police’.
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Sydney sung form the same hymn book. She said: ‘Monsignor Usher has confirmed his recollection that Father F made no admissions of criminal conduct’. And speaking on Four Corners, from the Vatican, Archbishop Pell backed them up.
When told Farrell had admitted in court that he’d confessed at the 1992 meeting to having oral sex with young boys Pell condescendingly said he’d ‘take the word of three priests against that allegation’.
What’s not commonly known is that yet another alleged victim wrote to Pell himself in 2002 detailing the abuse he had suffered under Farrell. Pell said he did not have authority over the priest and referred the complaint to Armidale.
While Lucas, Usher and Pell say there was no criminal conduct admitted by Farrell, the third tribunal member, Peters, actually put it in writing to the Bishop of Armidale. He wrote:
‘He [Farrell] admitted that there had been five boys around the age of ten and eleven that he had sexually interfered with in varying degrees in the years approximately 1982 to 1984 while he was the assistant priest at Moree.
With two other boys, according to Peters’ letter to Bishop Manning: ‘ He admitted that over a period of approximately 12 months he fondled the genitals of each of these boys and to quote “ sucked off their dicks”. As far as Farrell can remember this was done on about a monthly basis over a period of twelve months.’
None of the Church hierarchy thought this constituted criminal behaviour that should have been reported to Police. They obviously still don’t. It’s a bloody disgrace.
Footnote: Buried away near the bottom of that damning letter is, to me, a clue as to why they might not have alerted the cops. The Rev. Wayne Peters warned that ‘in the present climate in Australia, the media and public in general are more inclined to publicise, highlight and pursue the matter of a priest offending sexually against children than the situation of a lay person offending.’
Would reflect badly on the Church. We must hide it. Forget about the victims. Remember, this was five years after I went to jail for naming that paedophile Catholic priest Father Michael Glennon.