A senior police officer has made damning allegations about the Catholic Church’s concealment of child sexual abuse. Senior NSW Detective Peter Fox gave the ABC’s Lateline program (warning: the content is extremely distressing) a horrifying account of the culture of cover-up he experienced when investigating alleged crimes within the church.
Fox has called on NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to instigate a Royal Commission, as the only way of uncovering the truth of what happened.
“I can testify from my own experience that the church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the church,” the Senior Detective Fox told Lateline.
“In many cases that I came across, one priest who had previously faced paedophile charges was donating parish money to the legal support of another priest to defend himself from those charges.”
“I had other priests that hadn’t been charged with anything removing evidence and destroying it before we were able to secure it, and we just went around in circles. The greatest frustration is that there is so much power and organisation behind the scenes that police don’t have the powers to be able to go in and seize documents and have them [the church] disclose things to us.”
When asked to respond to the Lateline report on ABC Radio National this morning, Bishop William Wright dismissed the allegations as being in the past and insisted there was ‘no urgency’ to investigate them or have a Royal Commission. ‘I’m annoyed by many things that may have happened to me in the past’ he said, maintaining that the church had changed and causing jaws to hit the floor with his astonishing disregard for the systemic paedophilia in his Catholic Church Diocese of Newcastle.
Following revelations of abuse within the NSW Diocese earlier this year, Mamamia contributor and journalist Sarah Grant was left questioning her religious beliefs. No doubt, many are feeling the same way following these sickening new revelations.
This is what Sarah had to say:
By SARAH GRANT
When I was a little girl, my Mum used to tuck my sister and I into bed with a kiss good night, calling out “sweet dreams, God bless,” as she switched off the light.
Like her and her parents before her, we were raised as Catholics. We attended a Catholic primary school, where, from the age of eight, we were required to liturgical dance down the aisles of the local church clad in gold robes, singing hymns praising the wonder and good of God as we went.
As a non-practicing Catholic adult, I have often reflected on the religious emphasis of my early schooling, but despite the subtle sense of indoctrination, I have always felt fairly positive about the faith I was raised with. As a child and as an adult, Catholicism has represented a sense of family and security, a belief that served to deliver a sense of morality and a strong code of values.
That is, until I watched the incredibly powerful and confronting ‘Unholy Silenc’e report that aired on the ABC’s 4 Corners program on Monday night. Sitting on my couch after the program ended, tears streaming down my face, I felt ashamed to be aligned with a church that would turn its back on something as predatory and life destroying as sexual abuse inflicted by a priest.