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Australian archbishop enters not-guilty plea on charge of covering up abuse

May 07, 2015

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, Australia, has entered a plea of not-guilty to charges of covering up evidence of sexual abuse.

The archbishop, who is formally charged with “concealing a serious indictable offence,” did not personally appear in court, but his counsel entered the not-guilty plea, saying that he expects a sharply contested case.

Archbishop Wilson, who has consistently denied the allegations against him, has taken a leave from active ministry as he defends himself against the charges. He is the most prominent Australian cleric to face criminal charges for failing to report sexual abuse.

Prosecutors charge that the archbishop was aware of abuse charges that had been lodged against a priest, but concealed the charges from police for at least two years. The accused priest, Father James Fletcher, who is now deceased, was eventually convicted for molesting an altar boy.


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