An Australian priest is being investigated in Papua New Guinea over confessional allegations

Newcastle Herald

Joanne McCarthy
22 Sep 2017

AN Australian Catholic priest is being investigated by Papua New Guinea police for allegedly touching female students during confession after a bishop denied the priest “caressed their thighs to get some personal satisfaction”.

Vincentian priest Father Neil Lams allegedly held a teenage girl on his lap, “cuddled” some girls and bought gifts for them, touched girls on the thighs during confession, asked them questions about whether they had sex with their boyfriends and “how many times”, slapped some students on the head and called others “sweet baby”.

In an email to the Newcastle Herald Father Lams said an investigation was “currently in progress”, but “the allegations are at present based on gossip and I am not guilty of any criminal activity in any way”. He declined to respond to questions.

Father Lams was ordained in Australia in May, 2011 and served short periods in Sydney and Townsville before Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart appointed him assistant priest to the Victorian parish of Malvern in 2014. After a short term Father Lams requested a missionary appointment and was sent to PNG by the Vincentian order.

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