Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bishop Malone urges archbishop to seize agenda on 'cover up'

Bishop Malone urges archbishop to seize agenda on 'cover up'
Published: June 21, 2010

Bishop Michael Malone of Maitland-Newcastle has encouraged Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson to clarify what he knew about an alleged paedophile priest who has been the subject the Strike Force Georgiana police investigation.

An ABC News report published online at the weekend is alleging that Archbishop Wilson and his superiors were part of a "conspiracy of silence" or an alleged "cover-up" in relation to the alleged crimes of the late priest, who was defrocked.

In recent weeks, a former Catholic school principal and two victims of abuse at the hands of the priest have gone to the police with the cover-up allegations.

"It has transpired over the years, as other people came forward, that [the priest] was quite a predator, and he should have been dealt with earlier," Bishop Malone said.

In his statement to the ABC, Archbishop Wilson says he had no involvement in this "defrocking" process apart from taking the statements from the two sisters involved, and that priest's criminal behaviour "was only confirmed" for him when he took these two statements in October 1995.

Bishop Malone says he was advised the two sisters who came forward did not want the church to go to the police.

"If she [sic] had an expectation that the police were going to be told - and they weren't - that would be a grave error," he said.

"But my information [was] that they didn't want the police to be told and as adults that is their call."

Bishop Malone recommended that Archbishop Wilson clarify what he knew about McAlinden before 1995.

"I think certainly there was enough known about his predilections, but whether sufficient was known to act on them is a point that needs to be clarified by Philip Wilson seriously," he said.

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