Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns breaks silence on sex abuse

The Age

July 29, 2015

Alicia Thomas

Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns has finally broken his silence about clergy sex abuse within the Catholic Church, telling a court he remembers a priest “misbehaving” in a sexual way.

Bishop Mulkearns was forced to give evidence against former priest Robert Claffey who has pleaded not guilty to a string of sexual assault charges.

Appearing in Geelong Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Bishop Mulkearns, now retired, underwent a compulsory examination revealing evidence about child sexual abuse for the first time in almost two decades.

“I remember he (Claffey) had been misbehaving … in a sexual way”, Bishop Mulkearns told the court.

“But I only would have recalled Wendouree in connection with that. I don’t remember details”.

Claffey is charged with one count of buggery, 14 counts of indecent assault and one count of committing an indecent act on a child under the age of 16.

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