Sunday, October 31, 2010

14 charges
Fr Dennis John Corrigan in court in Newcastle
Broken Rites Australia helps victims of church-related

By a Broken Rites researcher

A Catholic priest who ministered in New South Wales appeared in Newcastle Local Court on 19 October 2010, charged with sexual offences against three boys aged between 13 and 15. This was an initial apperance, with further proceedings to follow on a later date.

Father Dennis John Corrigan, born in April 1942, faced 14 charges relating to incidents that allegedly occurred in the Windale area, in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, north of Sydney, between December 1987 and May 1988.

They include 13 counts of indecently assaulting a person under his authority and one count of sexual intercourse with a person aged between 10 and 16 under his authority.

The charges alleged that the priest kissed, cuddled and indecently touched the victims and masturbated in front of them.

In one charge, he is alleged to have held a payment to one victim for household chores in one hand, while masturbating with the other hand.

Father Corrigan, of Thomas Street, Mayfield (in Newcastle NSW), was not required to enter a plea at this hearing, and magistrate Elaine Truscott scheduled the matter to come up in court for mention again on a certain date.

The magistrate arranged for a brief of evidence to be prepared for the case's next mention-day. Father Corrigan's bail was continued and he was excused from attending the next mention-day if represented by a lawyer.

The police investigation is being conducted by Lake Macquarie Detectives, at Charlestown, NSW, telephone 02 9242 9999.

In April 2009 in a totally separate matter, Father Corrigan was convicted and fined $2400 after pleading guilty to high-range drink-driving and negligent driving after his car crashed into a parked car in a Mayfield hotel carpark in October 2008. He was found to have a blood-alcohol reading of 0.210.

It is believed that Father Corrigan was ordained in the 1960s in another country where he ministered for some years. He later joined the Newcastle Maitland Diocese in Australia.

In the directories from 1999 to 2001, he was listed as the administrator acting in charge of St Mary's parish, Dungog in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese.

In the directory for 2003, Reverend Dennis Corrigan was listed as assistant priest, St Patrick's parish, Wallsend, Maitland-Newcastle diocese. In 2004 he was listed as a chaplain at Sandgate, Maitland-Newcastle diocese. In 2005 and 2006 he was listed as on leave, care of the diocesan office. On 20 October 2010, Broken Rites found "Rev. Dennis Corrigan" listed on the Maitland-Newcastle diocese website, "care of the diocesan office".

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