May 01, 2013
A PEDOPHILE priest at the centre of a NSW special commission of inquiry was allowed unsupervised access to Aboriginal children in Western Australia years after the Catholic Church hierarchy was first warned he was involved in child sex abuse.
Denis McAlinden, who is thought to have abused dozens of children over several decades, moved from the Catholic diocese of Maitland, in northern NSW, to a remote parish in the Pilbara during the 1980s.
There he replaced another parish priest, Adrian van Klooster, who had moved from Wollongong in NSW and was subsequently convicted of indecently dealing with children under 13.
During his time in Western Australia, McAlinden repeatedly took Aboriginal children on unsupervised swimming trips to a local beach, during which he allegedly abused two young girls.
These revelations, contained in a 1992 court transcript, raise serious questions over the conduct of church officials who allowed McAlinden access to vulnerable children and whether there may be further victims unknown to police.
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