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Australian priest faces criminal charges for failing to act on abuse reports

Catholic World News - August 31, 2012

An Australian priest faces criminal charges for failing to take action on sex-abuse reports while he was serving as principal of a Catholic school.

Father Tom Brennan, a former vicar general of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, was arrested and charged with misprision of a felony. He is accused of failing to inform police about sex-abuse charged leveled in the 1970s against a former priest who was a teacher at the St. Pius X school.

Father Brennan is believed to be the first Australian priest to face criminal charges because of an alleged failure to report abuse. In that respect his case bears some similarity to that of Msgr. William Lynn, the former Philadelphia archdiocesan official who was convicted in June on charges of endangering children by failing to act on sex-abuse reports. However, Father Brennan also faces separate charges that he himself abused a boy in the 1980s.

Father Brennan was vicar general of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese from 2005 to 2008. He stepped down after a magistrate ruled that he had made a false statement to police investigating sex-abuse claims.

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  • Posted by: meegan2136289 - Sep. 02, 2012 8:27 PM ET USA

    Great news. Especially if this person was working as the principal of a school, his negligence is even more inexcusable than would otherwise be the case. Not surprising that he's been accused himself.

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Sep. 02, 2012 3:32 PM ET USA

    If anyone has any doubt that the Catholic Church is under brutal attack, this case, in which law enforcement is prosecuting a case from nearly FOUR DECADES AGO, should erase any such doubt. This would never happen with any other institution.

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