Monday, January 07, 2013

Retired priest charged for cover-up RETIRED Catholic priest has become only the second man in Australia's history charged with covering up the child sexual abuse of another clergyman. 
The 81-year-old man was arrested after he took himself to Charlestown police station, near Newcastle, at about 9.20am and was charged with accessory before the fact of indecent assault of a child and concealing the offence of another man.

Police will allege the cover-up relates to the sexual abuse of a nine-year-old boy between 1982 and 1984 at a residence in Nelson Bay and on a beach at Newcastle.

The first man in Australia charged with concealing similar offences, former priest Tom Brennan, died of cancer in October last year before his case reached court.

The latest man to be charged was granted conditional bail yesterday and will appear in Newcastle Local Court on January 29.

Police made the arrest through its long-running Strike Force Georgian, which was called together in March 2008 to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in the Hunter Valley.

In December, police arrested an 80-year-old man and charged him with three counts of indecent assault allegedly committed against two victims in the Hunter Valley in the 1960s and 70s.

To date, police have charged six priests and two people connected with the Catholic Church with paedophilia offences and offences related to paedophilia under Strike Force Georgian.

A concurrent investigation into the possible sexual abuse of a boy of 14 was opened late last year after the Anglican Church referred its own allegations relating to four Anglican priests to NSW Police.

Three of the Anglican priests under investigation were formally defrocked by the church in September following an internal church inquiry, while the fourth was prohibited from exercising any ministry for five years.

Both investigations are continuing.

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