Monday, May 6, 2013

Chief Inspector Peter Fox: Testimony alleges church cover-up in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

COMMISSIONER Margaret Cunneen, SC, began proceedings yesterday with, quite possibly, the understatement of the year.

‘‘The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has had a very troubled history regarding issues of child protection and the sexual abuse of children perpetrated by persons associated with the diocese, including certain priests,’’ she said in her opening address.

She’s right. To this day, almost 20 people associated with the diocese have been convicted, charged or are facing court over child sex abuse allegations.

But this inquiry is not an exercise in proving the guilt of those who she said displayed ‘‘a reprehensible betrayal of faith and trust’’ against ‘‘vulnerable and innocent children’’.

This part of the statewide inquiry has two terms of reference: whether or not detective chief inspector Peter Fox was told to stop investigating the church’s cover-ups of those crimes, and whether or not the church assisted and co-operated with police investigations, or if they in fact colluded to protect members of the church.

AUSTRALIA

Newcastle Herald

By JASON GORDON

May 6, 2013