Victims Detail Abuse by Priest

Moree Champion
April 15, 2016

A DISABLED girl repeatedly raped by a paedophile priest thought the abuse was “OK with God”.

The girl was one of 12 children groomed and molested by former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell, 62, in a decade-long period of abuse at Moree and Tamworth during the 1980s.

She was abused from the age of 10 by Farrell, who had been moved from one parish after a “scandal that he had been sexually abusing the altar boys”, the victim, who can’t be identified, said in a statement tendered to Sydney’s District Court last Friday.

The traumatising sexual abuse had continued throughout her teenage years.

“I naively assumed that God must have been OK with it,” she said.

Another of Farrell’s female victims was abused from a similar age and would often try to escape when he would visit her family home.

She would run to a friend’s house 500 metres up the road, which led to her family becoming angry with her for being anti-social, she said in her victim impact statement.

I naively assumed that God must have been OK with it.

- Victim's statement

“I kept the abuse quiet from my family as I was afraid of their reaction,” she said.

Many years have passed since the abuse, but the victim said it had had a profound and detrimental effect on her life, particularly relationships.

She told the court she had been robbed of her dream of having a husband and child.

“I have had plenty of boyfriends over the years but have always found sexual relations with them to be unpleasant,” she said.

“Although I made my body participate in the actions, my mind would remain detached.”

Before abusing the three girls, Farrell had preyed on nine altar boys at Moree in the early 1980s.

He had raped one victim on the church’s altar and targeted others in a local swimming pool and during car trips to nearby parishes.

The partner of the man who Farrell had raped in the church as a boy also read a victim impact statement to the court on Friday.

That victim wrote that he found it difficult to express affection and had problems trusting people, especially those in authority.

“I don’t know how to place a price on innocence, but that is what John Joseph Farrell took from me in the church cellar and altar,” the statement read.

During Friday's hearing, Farrell sat with his eyes closed and back towards the victims and their families who had packed the court.

The paedophile is in custody, having been convicted of 62 offences relating to the abuse of the 12 victims.

He will remain behind bars until returning to Sydney District Court for sentencing on May 2.








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