Father Finian Egan abuse survivor believes there are more victims of paedophile priest
By James Thomas
December 19, 2017
|Fr Finian Egan at St Gerards Catholic Church, Carlingford.|
|Father Finian Egan leaves court after being convicted.|
|Retired Catholic priest Finian Egan, flanked by police, arriving at Ryde Police Station in 2012.|
|Kellie Roche hopes that the Catholic Church will change, but isn't sure it will.|
A survivor of abuse by Catholic priest Finian Egan has slammed the church for protecting the convicted paedophile and says there are more victims out there.
"He's evil and a monster. He preys on children," Kellie Roche told 7.30.
"What kind of person does that?"
Finian Egan was released on parole today after serving the minimum four-year term of an eight-year sentence.
"You'd think that a paedophile would serve its full sentence. Because if anyone's going to serve their full sentence, shouldn't it be someone who is a threat to children?" Ms Roche said.
She said she is shocked it has been determined that at the age of 83 Egan is considered no longer a threat to children.
"It's about control. (He) can still molest a child, still damage a child," she said.
Ms Roche has a stark message for Egan.
"I hope more people come for you," she said.
"Then he'll go back to jail where he belongs — for the rest of his life."
'Everyone's got to trust a priest'
Ms Roche was molested by Egan at St Gerard's Church in Carlingford in the 1980s.
"He would come to our house, quite often. I remember him sitting at our dining room table and pulling me onto his lap and holding me and just squeezing me, just taking liberties really.
"I believe my family trusted him. I wasn't comfortable with it but my family trusted him.
"He was a priest. Everyone's got to trust a priest."
But that trust was misplaced.
"Fin groomed myself and my family and then he would take advantage of me," Ms Roche said.
"I believe it started at my house where he would touch me inappropriately.
"At first it was just really uncomfortable but you kind of just ignored it.
"Then as you got older it was more obvious that he was touching my breasts on purpose."
With the complete trust of Kellie's parents, Egan had unfettered access to Kellie. She was 14.
"He has his hand on my vagina and he was playing with my breasts, and he was also threatening me at the same time," she said.
"He was threatening me at the time about my boyfriend, saying if I said anything he would tell my mother about my boyfriend."
'There's no way there were only three of us'
Ms Roche made a formal complaint to the church and was told the church would take action.
"They said that he wouldn't be doing anymore church duties," she said.
But Egan remained prominent in the Catholic community.
Shortly after the church accepted Ms Roche's complaint, a celebratory mass was held in his honour.
"He was actually recognised for 50 years of service, or something. And I was like, 'what?'
"It was like being punched.
"It's like they were placating me. 'Okay, we've upheld (the complaint), it's not a problem and now he won't be a priest anymore, but he still will be, but, sshh.'"
"They're not taking it seriously."
In 2010, Ms Roche turned to the ABC's 7.30 program to tell her story.
Afterwards, a police taskforce was set up to investigate. In 2012 Egan was charged and later convicted.
He was sentenced to eight years in jail on seven counts of indecent assault and one count of rape against Ms Roche and two other girls.
However, Ms Roche said she believed there could be more victims.
"There is no way there was only three of us," she said.
"He has been a paedophile for many, many years, starting back, I think, in the 60's.
"By the time he got to me, in the 80's, that's 20 years of children he had access to."
'They'll still look after him'
Ms Roche said she can't understand why the church have done nothing about Egan.
"It's disgusting," she said.
"I know that the church has put out a thing to the Diocese saying that he won't be here, he can't call himself a priest, but they haven't defrocked him.
"He's still a priest. They'll still look after him."
When asked about the process of defrocking, or the laicisation of Finian Egan, Reverend Peter Comensoli, the Bishop of Broken Bay, said it was a complex process.
"The process of laicisation of a priest can only be initiated on the completion of civil processes," he said.
"Now that Finian Egan has received parole, the processes of church law for his dismissal from the clerical state have been initiated."
Ms Roche said there was no excuse for not defrocking Egan when he was first convicted.
"As soon as they get a guilty verdict they should start that process," she said.
"They're guilty of sexually abusing children, why would you be protecting them as a priest?
"Why weren't they defrocking him over the last four years? Why are they waiting for him to get out?
"I don't know how long the defrocking process is but I can guarantee it'll be long.
"He'll probably die a priest."
Ms Roche is hopeful the royal commission will force change upon institutions with a history of child abuse.
However, after decades of bitter disappointment at the hands of the Catholic Church, she is sceptical.
"You can only hope that things will get better for the church but there's no accountability and I'm not sure if there ever will be," she said.