Child-Sex Priest 'In Love'

By Colin James
Adelaide Now [Australia]
November 27, 2006,22606,20825766-5006301,00.html

A Disgraced Anglican priest wants his prison sentence for child sexual abuse reduced, claiming his "genuine love" for his young male victim was not taken into account.

Raymond Frederick Ayles, 61, formerly of Queensland, sought leave to appeal against his four-year prison sentence for indecently assaulting Ian Michael Tolley, of Para Hills, in the 1970s. Ayles was found guilty three months ago in the District Court of sexually abusing Mr Tolley while he was a 14-year-old altar boy at St Augustine's Parish, Para Hills.

Ayles, who was 28 and priest in charge of the parish, pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault but denied he had committed buggery with Mr Tolley, now aged 47.

Judge Andrea Simpson found him not guilty of buggery and four counts of indecent assault before sentencing him to four years in prison with a two-and-a-half-year non-parole period.

Giving evidence during the trial, Mr Tolley described how Ayles had sexually assaulted him over a 18-month period before regularly sending him letters, declaring his love and asking him to marry him.

Mr Tolley's parents, Mike and Ann Tolley, intercepted one of the letters and took it to church officials, who told them not to report the matter to police because they "would take care of it".

His lawyer, Kevin Borick, QC, has told Supreme Court Justice Kevin Duggan at an appeal hearing that Ayles was "genuinely in love" with Mr Tolley and "very confused" about his sexuality.

"He considered he was in love," he said. "It wasn't just a sexual thing, it was love."

Mr Borick said Ayles sought advice from a church official about whether he should hand himself in to police after Mr Tolley's parents discovered the letter.

"He sought counsel from someone in the church who told him that it was the church's view that forgiveness should prevail and things that had happened in the past should remain in the past," he said. Justice Duggan refused Ayles leave to appeal against his sentence but approved a separate application to appeal against his conviction.


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