Priest Kept on Despite Abuse

By Ellen Whinnett
The Mercury [Australia]
October 28, 2003

MONSIGNOR Philip Green was allowed to continue as a parish priest for six months after admitting he had kissed and fondled a boy.

Monsignor Green, one of Tasmania's highest-ranking Catholic clergyman, admitted his actions at a meeting with one of his victims in August last year.

However, Archbishop Adrian Doyle did not stand him down from active ministry in the Lindisfarne parish until February 8 -- six months after his confession.

And the Archbishop wrote to another victim during that time, saying he was confident Monsignor Green would not repeat his behaviour and "there are actually very few young altar servers in the Lindisfarne parish".

As the scandal over allegations of sex abuse continued to rock the Catholic Church yesterday, it was revealed:

* A writ for damages has been lodged in the Supreme Court of Victoria by Derrum Kearns against Monsignor Green, Archbishop Doyle and the Archdiocese of Hobart.

* Complaints against another senior Catholic clergyman by a woman have yet to be dealt with -- despite being lodged four years ago.

Archbishop Doyle, who was at a conference in Sydney yesterday, said he had not attended the meeting in Launceston on August 7 last year. The meeting was attended by church officials, Monsignor Green and Drew Murray, who alleged he had been assaulted by Monsignor Green over a 10-year period from the age of 13.

The Archbishop said he had been informed of the outcome of the meeting "in the weeks following" and had organised for Monsignor Green to attend the Encompass program in Sydney for assessment, which occurred in September.

The Encompass program was a two-stage procedure, where assessment was followed by counselling, and Monsignor Green had attended the next counselling course in February.

Archbishop Doyle announced last week the church would make major changes to the way it handled allegations of sexual abuse by clergy, and conceded he had not handled complaints "as well as he could have".

Catholic layman Pete McKenzie, a life-time family friend of Drew Murray, attended the August 7 meeting as an independent witness.

Mr McKenzie, of Launceston, said Monsignor Green had apologised at the meeting to Mr Murray and the memory of his dead mother.

The meeting had agreed Monsignor Green would undergo counselling and evaluation, and would not have contact with anyone under the age of 40.

Mr McKenzie said he and Mr Murray had left the meeting "feeling pretty good" with the result.

However, he was horrified when the months went by and Monsignor Green remained in active ministry.

"It was extremely disappointing," Mr McKenzie said.

He said his fears that the issue had been covered up were confirmed when the Catholic newspaper The Standard ran a photograph of Monsignor Green in his robes on the front page of its December issue.

"It's obscene and it's hurting all the good people out there," he said.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.