Saturday, March 04, 2017

Catholic Church houses former priest accused of inappropriate conduct near Canberra schools

The Catholic Church has confirmed it removed a NSW parish priest amidst allegations of inappropriate conduct towards children, but continues to house him on property neighbouring two Canberra schools.

According to Archbishop of the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese Christopher Prowse, the parish priest of Tumut was removed from his position after allegations from a number of complainants surfaced.

New South Wales Police were notified, however after consultation with the Catholic Church the priest was dealt with internally, under the supervision of the NSW Ombudsman.

The now former priest was moved by the church to the Catholic-operated Lanigan House in Canberra, nearby to the Sts Peter and Paul Catholic School in Garran, and across the road from Malkara Specialist School.

However, Archbishop Prowse said the decision to house the man at the property had been carefully considered.

"A thorough risk assessment was conducted by staff within the Institute for Professional Standards and Safeguarding, and the principal at the nearby Catholic school consulted," he said in a statement.

"Let me assure the Canberra community, this retired priest has no contact with the children of either of the nearby schools and no children are permitted to visit Lanigan House."

Archbishop Prowse said the man's accommodation at Lanigan House was meant to be temporary, but he remained there after his health deteriorated.

He said the church continued to seek alternative accommodation for the former priest.

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