Warning: This post is based on an episode of Four Corners that aired on the ABC on Monday night and exposed coverups of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. Parts of the show were extremely confronting, as are sections of this post.
Daniel Powell was only 11 years old when Father F, a priest at the church where he was an altar boy, performed oral sex on him.
He was not the only one abused. Damien Jurd was also just a child when he was sodomised by Father F.
In 2001 Damien took his own life. In 2007 Daniel did the same.
Damien’s brother has said: “It would have been no different if he [the priest] would have taken a gun and shot him – it just took longer. But it’s not just Damien – it’s so many other people and it’s the same circumstance.”
“If someone would have gone out and been responsible for the deaths and suicides of that amount of people it would be front page news. But because this was a catholic priest and because it was brushed under the table he’s still out there; he’s never been brought to justice.”
Last night the ABC’s Four Corners program revealed that Father F not only abused these two children but that he admitted as much to the Church. And that it was deliberately covered up.
The ABC reports today that:
…The church failed to pass on abuse admissions by a priest to police.
Four Corners obtained documents showing a New South Wales priest, from the parishes of Moree and later Parramatta, who is accused of abusing young boys, made clear admissions during a meeting with three senior priests, but they never referred the matter to police.
The program also detailed several cases in which priests were merely moved on, when the church was made aware of sexual abuse claims against them.
Father F worked at the NSW parishes of Moree and later Parramatta, in the 1980s.
Four Corners allege that Father F told three senior priests during a 2003 Church investigation, that he did sexually abuse five altar boys during that time. But that information was never passed onto police.
When Archbishop Cardinal George Pell was questioned about Father F’s admissions and the alleged cover up, he responded: “I certainly didn’t know that, I’m surprised at that. I would take the word of three priests against that allegation.”
Here’s what was being said on Twitter as the episode went to air:
You can watch the full Four Corners episode here.
If you or someone you know needs support, contact Lifelife on 13 11 14.
Were you watching last night? What were your thoughts on the episode? Do you think we are becoming immune because so much abuse is being uncovered? How do stories such as these influence your views on the Catholic Church?