“NSW abuse inquiry hears Catholic Church official was willing to risk breaking the law by not reporting child sexual abuse allegations” with VIDEO & related articles

Share Button

Video: Inquiry told senior clergy knew of paedophile priest (7.30)

ABC News (Australia)

24 July 2013

Photo: Catholic priest Brian Lucas arrives at the inquiry into Catholic clergy child abuse in Newcastle. (ABC News)

A senior Catholic Church official says he was willing to risk breaking the law by not reporting child sexual abuse allegations against a Hunter Valley priest.

Father Brian Lucas is a former lawyer and the current general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops conference.

He is giving evidence at the New South Wales inquiry investigating claims the church covered up abuse by two Maitland-Newcastle priests, Father James Fletcher and Father Denis McAlinden.

Father Lucas has told the inquiry he did not take notes during meetings to ensure they could not be used later in court.

The commission has already heard allegations that Father Lucas did not go to police after McAlinden confessed to him in 1993.

Counsel-assisting the commission Julia Lonergan asked Father Lucas about his note-taking while he was in a special role in the early 1990s and dealing with around 35 matters of allegations against priests.

Ms Lonergan said he did not take notes because he did not want them disclosed in any subsequent legal process.

Father Lucas said that was a reasonable comment.

Father Brian Lucas says he cannot remember priest admitting abuse to him

Father Lucas said he cannot remember Denis McAlinden admitting the abuse to him in 1993 but acknowledges evidence at the Commission points to that.

 

He said he would never betray the trust of a victim after they told him they did not want police informed about the allegations.

Under questioning by Counsel Assisting the Commission, Father Lucas agreed he was willing to risk prison or felony for failing to report a criminal offence.

He said it is his view a victim not wanting to go to police is a lawful excuse not to inform authorities.

Father Lucas says paedophile priests would never confess to child sexual abuse if notes were taken during interviews.

He told the inquiry he had a special role in the 1990s to seduce paedophile priests to resign.

Father Lucas said more than 10 priests, out of around 35, admitted to the allegations against them.

He said in his experience, if he was taking notes during those meetings, the priests would not have said anything.

Father Brian Lucas rejected claims by Counsel Assisting the Commission that it would have been valuable to write the confession down and then take it to the bishop.

Father Lucas said a priest has a right to silence and keeping a permanent record was a constant dilemma for him.

He also said he did not make notes because in fairness the accused should be shown them to ensure accuracy.

He added they would not be admissible in court anyway because of the person’s right to silence.

The inquiry continues.

___________________________

Catholic priest tells inquiry how he encouraged paedophile clergy to resign

Father Brian Lucas says at Newcastle sexual abuse commission that he never took notes in confidential meetings

The Guardian (UK)  guardian.co.uk

Australian Associated Press

 

A Catholic priest who encouraged paedophile clergy in NSW and the ACT to resign has admitted he never took notes during confidential meetings with them.

Father Brian Lucas on Wednesday appeared at Newcastle supreme court for a special commission of inquiry into how church leaders and police handled child sexual abuse allegations against two Hunter Valley priests, Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher.

Barrister assisting the inquiry, Julia Lonergan, asked Lucas if he thought it was unwise to take notes during the meetings in case he had to make them public in subsequent legal proceedings.

“I think that would be reasonable comment,” Lucas answered.

Lucas said after discussions with paedophile priests he reported what was said to their bishops and left it to them and their advisers to take whatever action they considered appropriate.

Lucas said he was a barrister before being ordained a priest in 1979. He wrote media columns and was a spokesman for the Sydney archdiocese before and while helping, in the 1990s, to write the Catholic church’s protocol for dealing with criminal behaviour involving church representatives.

For six years, to the end of 1996, he and another senior priest, John Usher, travelled through NSW and the ACT meeting priests accused of child sexual assault and other criminal behaviour, and trying to persuade them to leave the priesthood.

He estimated they had seen about 35 priests in that time, with more than 10 admitting crimes they were accused of.

Lucas said in 1993 he spoke to a woman who complained of being sexually assaulted as a child by McAlinden and then obtained admissions of the abuse from McAlinden.

Lucas said he reported this to the Maitland-Newcastle bishop Leo Clarke, and his second in charge, Monsignor Allan Hart, but was not involved in planning the action that should follow.

Lucas said he did not report the matter to police as the victim did not want police involvement.

He said he did not take notes when speaking to accused priests as he believed they would not tell him anything if he did.

“The practicalities were, they had to be seduced into resigning,” Lucas said.

He added that his primary concern was to stop paedophile priests offending and he didn’t care about the reputation of individual priests or scandal that their actions may cause the church.

The inquiry continues.

___________________________________

Father Brian Lucas kept no notes on pedophile priest interviews, inquiry told

From: The Australian

July 24, 2013 2:01PM

by: Dan Box

ONE of the most senior officials in the Catholic church personally interviewed dozens of alleged pedophile priests, many of whom admitted their crimes, but took no notes as they might have been used in legal action, an inquiry has heard.

Brian Lucas, the general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, told the NSW special commission of inquiry into church child abuse that his role was to “seduce them to resign.”

One of the priests Father Lucas interviewed, Denis McAlinden, was subsequently subject to an arrest warrant issued by NSW Police, but died before being charged, the inquiry has heard. Another is currently before the courts, charged with child sex abuse.

Giving evidence this morning, Father Lucas said McAlinden had admitted abusing children and he had been prepared to risk committing an offence himself by not reporting this to police.

Counsel assisting the inquiry, Julia Lonergan, asked Father Lucas if he did not take notes during these meetings as “you didn’t want it to have to be disclosed in any subsequent legal process?”

“I think that would be a reasonable comment,” he replied.

“You have published views for the benefit of other clergy to the effect that it’s a good idea not to take notes, so that a subsequent legal process that would compel production of them cannot be successful?”

“In some instances that would be accurate, yes,” Father Lucas said.

Throughout the early 1990s, Father Lucas said he interviewed about 35 alleged pedophile priests, from across NSW, many of whom were convinced to resign.

He told the inquiry this was done to reduce the risk of them having access to children, but accepted the church did not make this decision public, and the men could continue to meet children.

“That element of risk is there,” Father Lucas said.

“Our focus was on the fact that as a priest he had greater access to children, that’s what we wanted to remove.”

He said he had not gone to police about McAlinden as one of his victims had not wanted them involved. By doing so, Father Lucas was prepared to run the risk of committing a crime, he told the inquiry.

“Even a report to the police doesn’t necessarily guarantee the safety of children … these were part of the dilemmas we always faced,” he told the inquiry.

________________________________

No notes on paedophile priests

skynews.com.au

Updated: 16:09, Wednesday July 24, 2013

A Catholic priest who encouraged paedophile clergy in NSW and the ACT to resign has admitted he never took notes during confidential meetings with them.

Father Brian Lucas on Wednesday fronted Newcastle Supreme Court for a special commission of inquiry into how church leaders and police handled child sexual abuse allegations against two Hunter Valley priests, Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher.

Barrister assisting the inquiry, Julia Lonergan, asked Fr Lucas if he thought it was unwise to take notes during the meetings in case he had to make them public in subsequent legal proceedings.

‘I think that would be reasonable comment,’ Fr Lucas answered.

Fr Lucas said after discussions with paedophile priests he reported what was said to their bishops and left it to them and their advisers to take whatever action they considered appropriate.

Fr Lucas said he was a barrister before being ordained a priest in 1979. He wrote media columns and was a spokesman for the Sydney archdiocese before and while helping, in the 1990s, to write the Catholic church’s protocol for dealing with criminal behaviour involving church representatives.

For six years, to the end of 1996, he and another senior priest, John Usher, travelled through NSW and the ACT meeting priests accused of child sexual assault and other criminal behaviour, and trying to convince them to leave the priesthood.

He estimated they had seen about 35 priests in that time, with more than 10 admitting crimes they were accused of.

Fr Lucas said in 1993 he spoke to a woman who complained of being sexually assaulted as a child by Fr McAlinden and then obtained admissions of the abuse from Fr McAlinden.

Fr Lucas said he reported this to Maitland-Newcastle bishop, Leo Clarke, and his second in charge, Monsignor Allan Hart, but was not involved in planning the action that should follow.

Fr Lucas said he did not report the matter to police as the victim did not want police involvement.

He said he did not take notes when speaking to accused priests as he believed they would not tell him anything if he did.

‘The practicalities were, they had to be seduced into resigning,’ Fr Lucas said.

Fr Lucas said his primary concern was to stop paedophile priests offending and he didn’t care about the reputation of individual priests or scandal that their actions may cause the church.

The inquiry continues.

1 Response to “NSW abuse inquiry hears Catholic Church official was willing to risk breaking the law by not reporting child sexual abuse allegations” with VIDEO & related articles

  1. Sylvia says:

    What nonsense. They had to try to force a clerical molester to leave the priesthood? they couldn’t just plain give them the sack?

    If that is actual fact, and not a spin on the interpretation of canon law, where were the canon lawyers while this was going? why were they not fighting to have the Code of Canon Law amended to ensure that clerical predators were ‘defrocked’? Why were they not fighting to get these predators out of the priesthood?

    Be sure to watch the VIDEO. It’s a very comprehensive account of Father Brian Lucas’ ‘service.’

    Note too that Father Lucas was a practicing lawyer before he presumably felt called to the priesthood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *