Australia archbishop gets house detention for abuse coverup

16 August, 2018, 12:58 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Archbishop Philip Wilson will serve his sentence as home detention

Philip Wilson - the former Archbishop of Adelaide - has been spared jail time for the part he played in a clerical abuse cover-up back in the '70s and has been ordered to serve his sentence at home.

In a landmark hearing that took less than five minutes, Magistrate Robert Stone sentenced Wilson to "strict" supervision and as required, he will wear a home tracking device.

Wilson, 67, will be detained at his sister's house near Newcastle.

Peter Gogarty, one of Fletcher's survivors, reportedly asked Wilson if he would apologize for his crimes as the priest walked to his vehicle on Tuesday.

His lawyer said they would lodge an appeal.

On 3 July of this year, Wilson was sentenced to 12 months detention, eligible for parole after 6 months.

Fletcher was found guilty in December 2004 on nine counts of child sexual abuse and died two years later in jail.

He has long denied the charges and initially resisted calls to quit pending an appeal against his conviction.

Wilson is the world's most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of covering up sexual abuse.

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However, he also found that the former archbishop had shown no "remorse or contrition" for covering up Fletcher's crimes.

Stone found that Wilson was unlikely to reoffend, but that a period of detention was necessary to deter others.

The magistrate said Tuesday given the fact he had previously been of good character, and taking account of his age, mental and physical conditions, a home detention order was punishment enough.

Bishop Greg O'Kelly, the Adelaide archdiocese until a new archbishop is appointed, said Wilson was "in his prayers as he formally commences this stage in his life, while also remembering the victims and survivors of abuse in the church".

'Philip, will you say sorry for what you have done to me and other child sex abuse survivors?' On July 30, Pope Francis accepted his resignation as archbishop.

Former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, center, arrives at Newcastle Local Court, in Newcastle, Australia, after a post-sentence decision, Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

Wilson, who suffers from a range of health problems including the early onset of Alzheimer's, will remain a church bishop after returning to the "ranks" but will have no authority.

"I'm beside myself about this", Gogarty told reporters.

Wilson knew that priest James Fletcher was sexually abusing altar boys but dismissed their "credible allegations" because of his desire to protect the Church and its reputation, the magistrate-only trial found in May.

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