Former principal who warned of dangerous priest to sue Catholic church

Sydney Morning Herald

May 29, 2020

By Adam Cooper

If not for a principal’s principles, Graeme Sleeman could have avoided 25 years of emotional and financial hardship.

“That’s the thing that sticks in my neck the most,” the 70-year-old told The Age. “I did the right thing but have lost absolutely everything.”

In the 1980s, the Holy Family School in Doveton was prospering despite its disadvantaged setting, and Mr Sleeman – adored by pupils, admired by staff and parents – had the world “at my feet”.

But the arrival of paedophile Peter Searson as parish priest in 1984 meant Mr Sleeman’s primary focus was to shield his flock from danger.

After more than two years, Mr Sleeman resigned in frustration at having his repeated warnings dismissed. He never found another education job because, he believes, the Catholic church blacklisted him.

Over the following years, a brilliant career was ruined and his mental health plummeted to the point he considered suicide.

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