Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Investigation relaunched
Renewed effort for paedophile priest case
16 Feb, 2011 04:00 AM
Newcastle police have relaunched an investigation into allegations the Australian Catholic Church concealed the crimes of Hunter paedophile priest Denis McAlinden.
It follows the loss of all three members of a police strike force investigating the matter to stress leave within one week in December last year.

Newcastle local area command crime manager and strike force investigation supervisor Wayne Humphrey said detectives had been working on the case for a number of weeks and he was ‘‘very satisfied with the progress of the investigation so far’’.

‘‘There are a large number of lines of inquiries we’ll be following up, and are following up,’’ he said.

‘‘It is definitely a strike force, and it’s adequately resourced for where it is at this stage.

‘‘I won’t be giving any other details because it’s not my practice to manage an investigation of this nature in the public limelight.’’

The investigation into Denis McAlinden, who died in 2005, followed Newcastle Herald reports in April last year showing senior Catholic Church figures tried to secretly force McAlinden from the priesthood despite knowledge of the criminal nature of allegations against him and the ‘‘grave problems for the community’’ his behaviour represented.

Documents obtained by the Herald and handed to police showed Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone, his predecessor the late Leo Clarke, and future archbishop and Australian Bishops Conference president Philip Wilson had roles in the attempted ‘‘speedy’’ defrocking of McAlinden in October 1995, within a few days of police arresting and charging another Hunter paedophile priest, Vince Ryan.

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