Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Australian archbishop to appeal conviction for concealing abuse

An Australian archbishop sentenced to a year in jail for covering up child sex abuse announced Friday that he would appeal his conviction and ignore calls he resign from his position.

Philip Wilson, the 67-year-old archbishop of Adelaide, was found guilty in May of concealing abuse by notorious paedophile priest Jim Fletcher New South Wales state during the 1970s.

One of the highest-ranked church officials convicted of covering up child sex abuse, Wilson was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 months’ imprisonment, though the court ordered he be assessed for home detention, with a decision due next month.

Wilson issued a statement Wednesday saying he would appeal his conviction and retain his position in the Church.

“I am conscious of calls for me to resign and have taken them very seriously. However, at this time, I am entitled to exercise my legal rights and to follow the due process of law,” he said.

“Since that process is not yet complete, I do not intend to resign at this time. However, if I am unsuccessful in my appeal, I will immediately offer my resignation to the Holy See.”

Wilson stepped aside from his church duties following his conviction in May.

In sentencing Wilson on Tuesday, Newcastle Local Court magistrate Robert Stone noted that the church official had shown “no remorse or contrition” and argued that the 12-month sentence “should not be suspended”.

“It does not support the terms of general deterrence,” he added. “On that basis, the only available remaining option is full-time imprisonment or home detention.”

He justified the home detention option due to Wilson’s age, prior good record and that he was unlikely to reoffend.

There was no dispute during the trial that Fletcher, who is now dead, sexually abused an altar boy.

The hearing instead focused on whether Wilson, then a junior priest, was told about it.

Wilson served as a priest in New South Wales before Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Wollongong in 1996. Five years later he became the Archbishop of Adelaide.

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Agency
External source

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Tourism industry hopeful of UK red list review

Meeting between scientists of both countries may pave way for removal from red list

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

Tourism industry hopeful of UK red list review

Meeting between scientists of both countries may pave way for removal from red list

Triple murder in Khayelitsha investigated by police

Three young women have been shot dead execution-style in one of Cape Town’s gang-riddled communities

Q&A Sessions: Kagiso Rabada — ‘When I retire, I will...

Kagiso Rabada talks to Eyaaz Matwadia about his love for music and production, how the lockdown affected him, and how he hopes to get back to his best

State to subpoena and fact-check Agrizzi’s ‘illness’ claims

The National Prosecuting Authority will conduct its own probe into Angelo Agrizzi’s claims of ill health, after he failed to attend court again
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×