Priest Did 'Ritual Killing'

By Gary Hughes
The Courier Mail
May 26, 2006,20797,19254222-953,00.html

A CATHOLIC priest took part in satanic murders and rituals that included child sexual abuse.

The Catholic Church's Melbourne Archdiocese has accepted claims about the rituals as "substantially true" and paid $33,000 compensation to a man who was a victim of the rituals as a child.

The archdiocese's independent sexual abuse investigator, barrister Peter O'Callaghan, QC, described the details of the ritualised murders and sexual abuse provided by the victim as "extraordinary".

" . . . but I have no reason or justification for doubting his credibility," Mr O'Callaghan said in a letter to the victim's lawyers in 2000.

Earlier during a formal interview with the victim, Mr O'Callaghan said he was satisfied the man was telling the truth.

"I see no reason why I shouldn't accept what you say," he said. "Amazing as it is, I accept it."

The Melbourne Archdioceses Vicar General, Monsignor Les Tomlinson, said that Mr O'Callaghan told Victorian police about the allegations when he first learned of them in 1999. He was told that the victim had already notified police that he had been sexually abused and was a witness to murder.

The police advised that inquiries had been made with the homicide squad and their missing persons records and intelligence were unable to confirm the allegations and that there was no current investigation into the matter, Monsignor Tomlinson said.

In a sworn statement given to the archdiocese, the victim said he was first abused by the priest in Melbourne in the early 1960s, when he was serving as an altar boy at the Sacred Heart Church in Sandringham.

The priest has since died.

In his statement the 56-year-old victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave details of at least three deaths a young woman, a young man and a child that occurred during satanic rituals over a number of years.

Two victims had their throats cut and a third was killed with an axe. Animals were also killed during the ceremonies.

"I have some gruesome memories of killings," the victim said. "I still feel totally overwhelmed and blown away when I recall these incidents. All these memories are extremely traumatic."

Monsignor Tomlinson said he was not aware of any similar allegations having been made to the Melbourne archdiocese.

The independent compensation panel made a $33,000 ex-gratia payment to the victim in 2001 after his claims had been investigated by Mr O'Callaghan. The archdiocese is paying for counselling for the man, who has been diagnosed as suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder.


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