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Australian investigators zero in on Church leaders in abuse cover-up

Catholic World News - July 31, 2012

Australian police are completing an investigation into how Church leaders covered up the evidence of sexual abuse by a notorious pedophile priest.

The investigation centers on the activities of the late Father Denis McAlinden, an Irish-born priest who reportedly molested scores of girls before his death in 2005. The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle confirmed the charges against him in 2007, but apparently had evidence of his misconduct many years earlier.

Authorities are looking into the involvement of two former heads of the diocese: Bishops Michael Malone, who retired in 2011, and Leo Clarke, died in 1995. Also possibly implicated are Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, who has served as a chancery official in Maitland-Newcastle; and Father Brian Lucas, the general secretary of the Australian bishops’ conference. Bishop William Wright, the current head of the diocese, has pledged cooperation with the probe.

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