Former priest jailed for student sex abuse at boarding school in 1960s

Herald Sun


AN ELDERLY former Catholic priest who forced a teenage boarder to sexually gratify him and then confess his sin and beg forgiveness will serve only six months in jail.

James Patrick Jennings, 81, received a largely suspended three-year term of imprisonment for the sustained sexual abuse of three young boarders at a regional Victorian school in the mid-1960s.

County Court judge Wendy Wilmoth said allegations of abuse were reported to at least three priests at St Vincent’s College in Bendigo but took decades to reach the police.

The judge said one complainant — now in his 60s — came forward only when his local priest read aloud an apology from the local bishop for the sexual assaults on children by priests.

Judge Wilmoth said Jennings’ state of profound denial led him to allege the complainants — who had not met and had no knowledge of any other complaints against the former priest and teacher — had fabricated the assaults for financial gain.

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