Former Australian archbishop begins home detention over child abuse cover-up

Lester Mason
August 15, 2018

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.

Wilson, 67, received approval from Newcastle Local Court Magistrate Robert Stone to serve his sentence at the Archbishop's sister's home on the New South Wales Central Coast, north of Sydney.

Wilson has said he plans to appeal against his conviction for failing to disclose to police abuse by a priest, Father James Fletcher, after being told about it in 1976 by two victims. But Pope Francis accepted Wilson's resignation last month after mounting pressure including from the Australian prime minister.

Outside court, Wilson was confronted by Peter Gogarty - one of Fletcher's victims. "I'd like to see him show some type of remorse and I'd like to see him apologise", he told local media.

Stone found him guilty of concealing a serious indictable offence of another person, concluding his primary motive was to protect the church.

"This man (Wilson) said two weeks ago that he was resigning because of the hurt to people like me".

Wilson, who resigned as Archbishop of Adelaide after becoming the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse, showed no emotion when the decision was handed down.

"I'm still here, still hurting. and not a single, solitary word to say sorry".

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

Philip Wilson became one of the highest-ranked church officials convicted of covering up child sex abuse when he was found guilty in May of concealing crimes by priest Jim Fletcher in the Hunter region of New South Wales state.

Mr Gogarty said Wilson's home detention was too lenient, labelling it a six-month holiday at his sister's home.

He said home detention was an adequate sentence given Wilson's age and mental and physical condition, and that he had previously been of good character.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the country's top Catholic body that Wilson once led, had no immediate comment.

His lawyers said they would lodge an appeal on Tuesday.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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