Senior Catholic cleric ‘pledged silence’ on child abuse

The Australian

Dan Box
From:The Australian
August 01, 2012

ONE OF Australia’s most senior Catholic clerics allegedly told a priest facing claims he was a pedophile that any confession to child abuse would be kept between himself, the priest and the bishop.

Brian Lucas, the general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, was responding to a 1993 allegation from the family of Father Denis McAlinden that the priest had sexually abused a relative.

In a later letter to the then Maitland-Newcastle bishop Leo Clarke, McAlinden wrote: “Brian Lucas convinced me, against my better judgment, to accept that the information I gave him would be held in strictest confidence by the bishop.”

Father Lucas, who yesterday said he was unable to comment on the contents of that conversation, was interviewed in February by NSW police investigating “alleged cover-ups” by church officials of McAlinden’s alleged abuse.

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