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Call for major court inquiry into high level abuse cover-up

Following a TV documentary this week, growing disquiet over the alleged protection of an abusive priest could embroil senior Church officials.

  • Tom Allard
  • Australia
  • July 5, 2012
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THREE of Australia's most senior Catholic clergy failed to tell authorities of evidence they received that a priest had repeatedly sexually abused boys as young as 10 in NSW.

The three priests are Brian Lucas, the secretary general of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference; John Usher, the former head of the Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission; and Wayne Peters, the vicar general of the Armidale diocese.

The priest, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told a court in 2004 he admitted in a meeting with the men he molested boys between 1982 and 1984.

The scandal has also ensnared the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, who defended the three men, apparently unaware there was extensive documentation backing the assertion the alleged paedophile priest outlined his conduct to them.

The saga has intensified calls for a royal commission into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and allegations of widespread cover-ups.

Patrick Parkinson, a University of Sydney professor of law who has advised the church on sexual abuse cases, said: ''We need a royal commission with subpoena powers.

''The files of the Catholic Church must be opened up.''

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Sydney said the church was ''seeking further information'' about the meeting in which the admission was made. The head of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, also declined to comment.

Full Story: Calls for royal commission over alleged cover-up of Catholic abuse

Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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