Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Heaven 'full of stale, smelly, abusive priests', court told

Last updated: June 30,
Heaven 'full of stale, smelly, abusive priests', court told
Sean Fewster, Court Reporter From: AdelaideNow June 29, 2010 11:46AM

A MAN abused as a child by a Catholic priest does not want to go to Heaven if it is "full of stale, smelly, abusive priests", a court has heard.
In a victim impact statement read to the District Court today, the man - who cannot be named - said Charles Alfred Barnett had scarred him emotionally.

He said he had lost his faith and his ability to love because of the abuse Barnett inflicted upon him when he was just 15.

His problem, he said, was with the Catholic concept of forgiveness.

"I don't want to go to Heaven if it's full of stale, smelly priests who have attacked children for years," he said.

"Jesus loved the little children, but I don't know how He felt about priests who abuse those children.

"I'd like to think Barnett won't get past Jesus... I believe he will serve an eternal punishment."

Barnett, 68, has pleaded guility to abusing four boys between 1977 and 1994.

He admitted his crimes to a counsellor in 1995 and, in 1996, left Australia to pursue work in Indonesia.

He was arrested in Jakarta 2008, and extradicted to Adelaide in 2009.

Today, prosecutors said three of Barnett's four victims had given statements detailing the consequences of his abuse.

One said that, as a child, he had feared Barnett, who was "creepy like a snake".

Another said Barnett had "ruined" the Catholic Church's reputation in the community.

The third man called Barnett "a predator and a coward" whose "despicable and vile desires" drove him to commit "depraved, immoral and evil acts".

Stephen Ey, for Barnett, said his client accepted full responsibility for his crimes and would not seek a suspended sentence.

He asked the court take into account the time his client had spent in Indonesia's "primitive" prison system.

"The conditions there were horrendous, like the film Midnight Express," he said.

Mr Ey said Barnett had not realised the criminality of his actions at the time of his offending - a submission rejected by Judge Paul Rice.

"He was a priest, not just any member of the public," Judge Rice said.

"His crimes were completely at odds with his vocation... he must have always known it was wrong."

He remanded Barnett in custody for sentencing in August.

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