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10:30 a.m. SYDNEY, o/s PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Martin Place
Yesterday, the NSW Special Commission of Enquiry handed down its final report. The commission of enquiry was established by former NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, soon after Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox came forward in late 2012 expressing concern about how he’d been asked to stand down from an investigation of a possible cover-up of a child abuse case implicating the Catholic Church in the NSW Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. DCI Fox was concerned about the startlingly high number of child abuse allegations against the Catholic Church in such a small geographical area as the diocese.
DCI Fox first become concerned about possible collusion between some police officers and the Catholic Church as a possible explanation for the problem in 2002. Eventually, after years of behind-the-scenes activity, in frustration at lack of action in dealing with the problems he observed, he took the only recourse available to him: speaking to the media.
He did so out of concern for victims and their families, and for protection of children in the future. Speaking on ABC’s Lateline program in late 2012, DCI Fox said:
“There’s something very wrong when you have so many paedophile priests operating in such a small area for such an extended period of time with immunity.”
During the special commission of enquiry, DCI Fox expressed his lack of trust in some of his police colleagues in handling of abuse cases and claimed that a colleague told him about a “Catholic mafia” operating within the ranks of the Newcastle police.
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