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Australian priest charged with sex abuse had spiritual director with similar charges

June 06, 2012

A priest in the Melbourne archdiocese who was charged with sexual abuse was advised by a spiritual director who had been the subject of similar charges, The Age has revealed.

Father Victor Rubeo continued to serve in parish assignments after the archdiocese received reports of sexual abuse in 1994. Notes from the archdiocesan files on his case show that his spiritual director was Father Frank Klep, who had himself been charged with sexual abuse. Father Klep continued to act as spiritual director for the accused priest even after being convicted of sexual assault. Father Rubeo died in 2011, just before he was to face a hearing on multiple sex-abuse charges.

Responding to the revelations about the case, the Melbourne archdiocese said that the archdiocese had followed policies in force in 1994, and complaints would be treated differently today. Archbishop Denis Hart said that he would support mandatory reporting of sex-abuse complaints—provided that they were made outside the confessional. He said that the local government bears responsibility to impose such requirements.


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