Saturday, July 24, 2010

Paedophile priest Vince Ryan on parole

Paedophile priest Vince Ryan on parole
BY JOANNE MCCARTHY theherald.com
24 Jul, 2010 12:00 AM
FORMER Hunter paedophile priest Vince Ryan will be tracked by satellite but will technically be a free man from August 6 after the NSW State Parole Authority granted parole yesterday.
The decision came after Ryan, 72, served a 14-year-and-two-month jail sentence and with the submission of a final psychiatric report that "clarified issues" raised at a hearing in May when he first became eligible for parole.

Ryan, one of the Hunter's most notorious paedophile priests who sexually abused 35 boys, aged six to 14, between 1972 and 1991, will be subject to "very stringent supervision and parole conditions", NSW State Parole Authority director Paul Byrnes said.

This will include electronic-satellite monitoring, police and corrective services supervision and reporting, continuing sex-offender therapy and drug and alcohol testing.

"If he goes past a school the electronic monitoring device (worn as a bracelet) sends a message," Mr Byrnes said.

"If he lingers too long, there's a notification and a response to it."

Ryan will also be subject to the terms of a memorandum of understanding with Maitland Newcastle Catholic Bishop Michael Malone, who said Ryan "certainly will not be in the Hunter and will not be in the diocese" and had "no chance" of ever working as a priest again.

Mr Byrnes said the parole authority determined it was in the public interest to release Ryan for a lengthy, supervised parole period of three years and nine months.

"The alternative could see the offender remain in custody until the end of the sentence and then walk out into the community with no supervision, no controls and no conditions protecting his victims," Mr Byrnes said.

The parole authority considered reports from the Serious Offenders Review Council, Probation and Parole Service and the NSW Corrective Services commissioner.

Ryan had received treatment for his offending for more than 10 years, including the intensive sex-offender program, CUBIT.

He will not be released until August 6 to give the NSW Government time to consider an appeal against the parole authority's decision.

"It's a process that exists for all serious offenders," Mr Byrnes said.

Bishop Malone said Ryan was unlikely to be laicised, or defrocked, and was unable to operate as a priest after his faculties were removed following his conviction in 1996.

Bishop Malone said the decision not to defrock Ryan was based on the church supervising and remaining responsible for him.

"I don't think people would look kindly on us if we just released him into the community," he said.

The diocese had already sought appropriate accommodation for Ryan in Sydney.

A victim of Vince Ryan said it was a shock to hear that the man whose offending had shattered so many young lives was to be released.

"I'd prefer he stayed in jail for the rest of his life and I'm still angry he got less than six months' jail for each one of his victims, but at least if he does anything it looks like it will be picked up quickly," the Newcastle man said.

He understood the bishop's decision to keep Ryan within the church.

"If they defrock him he's just out there, and I would never want him to just be out there," he said.

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