Angry supporters of Father Joseph Tran ‘confronting’ mothers and daughters over child abuse claims

The West Australian

March 29, 2019

By Gabrielle Knowles

Angry supporters of suspected paedophile priest Father Joseph Tran have been urged to stop a witch-hunt for the alleged child victim and her family.

A “number” of mothers and daughters have allegedly been accused by other Catholics of being the ones who made the sex abuse complaint about the hugely popular priest.

The 49-year-old is suspected of taking his own life last Thursday after being confronted by the mother of his alleged victim.

Father Ted Miller said yesterday no one should “hound” a person or their mother for making a complaint to police and pleaded for anyone who was angry to stay calm.

A parishioner, in a post on a Facebook page created as a tribute to Father Tran, said it was understandable people were angry, upset, defensive and wanted “clarification”.

But she also urged people to respect the privacy of the family involved and said the confrontations were “traumatising” for people being falsely accused.

Police are continuing to investigate allegations that Father Tran sexually abused a girl, now aged 13, over several years.

Inquiries include searching the 49-year-old’s parish home at Armadale’s St Francis Xavier, checking his electronic devices and interviewing the alleged victim and any witnesses.

Police are keen to talk to anyone who has information that can assist their investigation.

They have refused to say if anyone else has come forward with allegations of abuse at the hands of the priest, who moved to Armadale a year ago after 15 years at Whitfords parish.

The findings of the child abuse squad investigation will form part of the report being prepared for the Coroner into Father Tran’s death and will be revealed only through an inquest.

It is believed Father Tran, who worked as a chaplain at several Catholic Perth schools, died of a self-inflicted wound.

His death came the same day the police investigation was launched.

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