Arson Attempt on Catholic Church Where Paedophile Terrence Pidoto Was Priest

By Cameron Houston
The Age
March 15, 2016

St Bedes church in North Balwyn.

Another Melbourne Catholic Church historically linked with a prominent paedophile priest has been targeted in an attempted arson attack.

St Bede's Church in Balwyn North was broken into about 4.30am on Sunday morning, but the intruder is understood to have fled the Severn Street property after an alarm was activated.

Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne spokesman, Shane Healy confirmed that a window had been broken and accelerant poured around the alter, but no fire had been lit.

St James Church in Brighton, where paedophile priest Ronald Dennis Pickering worked from 1978-1993 was almost destroyed by fire last year. Photo: A

Mass on Sunday morning was relocated to an adjoining building following the failed arson attempt.

On Sunday night police arrested a man, believed to be a victim of clerical abuse, who was questioned but released without charge.

Notorious paedophile Terrence Pidoto served as an assistant priest at the St Bede's parish in the early 1970s.

Notorious paedophile Terrence Pidoto, a priest at St Bede's in the 1970s, died last year. Photo: Penny Stephens

He was jailed in 2007 for seven years after being found guilty of 11 sexual assault charges, including rape.

Pidoto died last year, just months before he was due to face further sexual assault charges.

The arson attempt in Balwyn North follows a string of attacks on churches last year, which also coincided with the lead-up to Easter.

In March last year, St Mary's Catholic Church in Dandenong was torched by an arsonist.

That church was one of eight linked to paedophile priest Kevin O'Donnell, who sexually abused children throughout his 50-year career in Melbourne parishes.

Police are yet to solve another suspicious blaze from March last year that almost destroyed the heritage-listed St James Church in Brighton, where paedophile priest Ronald Dennis Pickering worked from 1978-1993.

Another church where Pickering served, St Mary's in St Kilda East, was also set alight on the same night, but the fire failed to take hold.








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