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Australia: Leading archbishop accused of turning blind eye to abuse

May 17, 2010

A victim of Father James Fletcher, who was convicted of abuse and died in jail, has accused the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference of turning a blind eye to the abuse as it was taking place.

The future Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide and Father Fletcher were both living at the residence of the Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle at the time the abuse took place in the late 1970s and 1980s.

“Jim [Fletcher] started sneaking me in the back door in the kitchen in the back of the house, straight past the common room where I would regularly pass Philip Wilson and then up the stairs to his bedroom,” the victim says. “I think, how could a man living in a house with another man not even be remotely curious as to why his housemate was taking at least one boy up to his bedroom, and there may have been others.”

“I asked now Archbishop Wilson what he thought was happening at the time. Did he know that Bishop [Leo] Clarke had banned me from the house? His response was, no, he didn't know anything about that, and that as far as he was concerned Jim was a good bloke, and he didn't think Jim was up to anything untoward.”


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