‘Father F’ in Armidale court to answer charges

A FORMER priest facing a raft of historic child sex offences has appeared in Armidale Local Court to answer to the original 25 charges against him.

The ex-priest, who has been referred to in court and in media reports as “Father F”, appeared for mention yesterday.

He was arrested in October last year and charged with 25 sexual and indecent assault offences relating to the alleged abuse of three girls.

The alleged assaults against the girls, then aged between five and 18, took place from 1979 to 1988.

He will reappear in relation to those offences on April 3.

The 59-year-old man faces 60 charges in total, with an additional 35 child sex and assault offences and a charge of not having approved firearm storage being heard on March 20.

The additional charges relate to the alleged sexual assaults of six altar boys, aged 11 and 12, at the Moree Catholic Diocese from 1981 to 1984. 

He had been charged with those offences at his last court appearance on January 23, where there had been discussions to lift a non-publication order on his name.

A strict court suppression remained when his adjournment date was made available yesterday. 

The man remains on strict bail, granted at $250,000 in November last year.

The conditions of his bail mean he can only visit Armidale for legal or medical purposes.

He also had to surrender his passport and must stay away from schools and children under 16.

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