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Australian archbishop charged for failing to report abuse

March 17, 2015

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, a former president of the nation’s episcopal conference, has been charged with one count of “concealing a serious indictable offence” in failing to report the sexual abuse of a minor, The Australian reported.

The prelate has taken an indefinite leave from his pastoral duties in order to fight the charge.

“The suggestion appears to be that I failed to bring to the attention of police a conversation I am alleged to have had in 1976, when I was a junior priest, that a now deceased priest had abused a child,” he said. “From the time this was first brought to my attention last year, I have completely denied the allegation.”

The deceased priest, Father James Fletcher, was subsequently convicted for abusing an altar boy between 1989 and 1991 and died in prison.

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  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Mar. 17, 2015 3:33 PM ET USA

    Here we have yet another instance of a prelate being accused of a crime that allegedly occurred nearly 40 years ago. The then-Fr Wilson may well have had a conversation with the late Fr Fletcher, but so what? He must have had many such conversations with his peers about many subjects, but how could anyone point to a specific discussion about a specific matter after such a long period? The accuser must produce evidence that Fr Wilson discussed a cover-up - or shut up.