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The Rogue Ex-Priest of Armidale

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:

1   an unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal;
2   a vicious and solitary animal that has separated itself from its herd;
3   an organism that shows an undesirable variation from a standard.

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.

Farrell case:

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. 

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

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…