AN ADVOCACY group is calling for an urgent Royal Commission after a report that the Catholic Church in Australia covered up sexual abuse by one of its priests.
Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) president Cathy Kezelman said the report, which was aired by the ABC on Monday, showed the Catholic Church had failed to report an alleged criminal act to the police.
“ASCA supports the call for an urgent national Royal Commission into religious and institutional child sexual abuse,” Dr Kezelman said.
She said failure to report and bring perpetrators to account “has compounded the crimes, with more victims and repeated abuses of existing victims”.
A Royal Commission was needed to identify the ways in which cover-ups occurred “and the cost of those cover-ups in human terms”.
A former priest, identified only as Father F in the report, was sacked by the church in 2005 after serious sexual-abuse allegations. He had since become a resident of Armidale. The report said Father F raped young boys in Moree in the 1980s before being transferred to a parish in Parramatta, where he continued to sodomise altar boys.
Some of the youths he raped went on to lead tortured lives before committing suicide, according to the report.
The ABC said Father F made clear admissions of abuse to three senior priests during a meeting at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney in September 1992.
As a result of the investigation, Father F was banned from conducting mass, hearing confession or counselling.
The matter was reportedly never referred to police.
In a statement released on Tuesday night, the Archdiocese of Sydney – the home diocese of Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic clergy official in Australia – said it was “seeking further information” about the 1992 meeting.