FOR decades, the Catholic Church not only knew of serious multiple allegations against some of its Hunter clergy, it had admissions of inappropriate behaviour with children on its files.
What the Church knew might have resulted in criminal charges against clergy long before some of these were actually laid, had the Church seen fit to tell the police its information.
The Church’s failure to reveal potentially criminal behaviour allowed serial offender Denis McAlinden – who molested scores of children over a long disgraceful career as a priest – to continue his offences.
People suffer deep emotional scars today – scars that could have been avoided – because the Church put concern about its own public image ahead of its responsibility for the welfare of some of the youngest and most vulnerable members of its flock.
The Newcastle Herald has been saying as much for years, and the federal royal commission now under way – set up largely because of Joanne McCarthy’s award-winning reports in this newspaper – will illuminate the topic further.
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