Psychiatrist tells judge Denham, 77, “never to have access to children”

The Herald Sun

February 27, 2019

By Joanne McCarthy

The Catholic pedophile priest whose crimes were the catalyst for a royal commission will remain a danger to male children until the day he dies, a court was told as he faces an even lengthier jail sentence for crimes against a young boy.

John Sidney Denham, 77, should never have access to children and should never have a relationship of any kind with a male child when he leaves jail, even though he could be in his early 90s, a psychiatrist said in a report tendered at a Sydney District Court sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

Although Denham’s overall risk of re-offending is likely to be low, if he is still alive when his current minimum jail term expires in 2028, his placement in the community will need close monitoring despite being an extremely advanced age, Judge Phillip Mahony was told.

The Crown has argued for an even longer jail sentence for Denham after he was found guilty in October of repeatedly sexually abusing a young boy under 10 at Taree in the late 1970s, including raping him in a church presbytery after calling the boy from a Catholic primary school playground.

Denham is already serving a minimum 19 years and five months’ jail sentence for crimes against 56 boys after guilty findings in 2010 and 2015 trials, and was found guilty in 2001 of offences against another young Catholic boy in 2001 but did not serve a jail sentence. The victims were aged from 5 to 17 and the offences occurred between 1968 and 1986.

Denham sat with arms crossed in a NSW jail during the short sentencing hearing on Wednesday and said nothing after initially complaining he could not hear proceedings via the court audio-visual link.

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