Royal commission hears how senior priest within Newcastle diocese got away with years of sexual abuse

Herald Sun

Rohan Smith,
August 29, 2016

WARNING: Graphic content

BETWEEN 1998 and 2003, the ringleader of a Newcastle-based paedophile priest network preyed on his victims with impunity.

Father Peter Rushton is believed to have raped a number of boys in the Hunter Region, two hours north of Sydney.

On one occasion he used a small knife to cut the back of a victim during the assault. The blood, his victim said through tears, was “symbolic of the blood of Christ”.

Rushton was accused of owning child pornography and raping a number of children, including a priest’s son. He died in 2007 having never been convicted of his crimes.

A royal commission investigating years of abuse within the Newcastle diocese heard on Monday how Rushton got away with it for so long.

The commission heard evidence from Roger Herft, who was the bishop of Newcastle for more than 10 years and who oversaw Rushton’s conduct. He is now the Archbishop of Perth.

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