DETECTIVES have laid dozens of new charges against a retired Catholic priest after six new alleged victims came forward detailing historical sex abuse.
David Joseph Perrett now stands accused of molesting or sexually abusing 36 separate boys or girls while he was a priest in the New England North West area.
The Leader can reveal 23 new charges were laid against the former priest, who is bail-refused on 92 other historical sex abuse allegations.
He now faces 115 charges but is yet to enter any pleas.
The new charges were mentioned in Armidale Local Court during the 81-year-old’s appearance last week, but The Leader can reveal the new allegations allege Perrett abused two girls and four boys in the Armidale area in the 1970s and the Walgett area in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
One of the charges alleges Perrett raped an eight-year-old girl in Armidale. The offence of carnal knowledge of a girl under 10 carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, if convicted.
Perrett made no bid for bail last week in Armidale court, despite a release application being foreshadowed with the court.
Magistrate Michael Holmes formally refused bail until the case returns to court next year, as detectives compile a brief of evidence into the fresh charges.
The Leader understands Perrett will apply for bail during a hearing the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney later this month.
He’s been behind bars in a Sydney prison since his bail was revoked in Armidale court in August after Mr Holmes found Perrett had not shown cause why his detention was not justified – a test under the state’s bail laws.
New England Detective Sergeant Matt Crotty told The Leader investigations by Strike Force Bennett – the operation set up to examine historical allegations – were continuing.
“The new charges laid in court are as a result of further investigations by Strike Force Bennett detectives,” he said.
As this investigation has progressed, more alleged victims have been identified, which has culminated in further charges.- Detective Sergeant Matt Crotty
“As this investigation has progressed, more alleged victims have been identified, which has culminated in further charges.
“Investigations by Strike Force Bennett continue and detectives would urge anyone with information on this matter, or who could assist investigators – we urge them to contact us at Armidale Police Station.”
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