US Call to Prosecute Australian Ex-Priest

Catholic News [Australia]
January 30, 2007

Two American men are calling for the prosecution of a former Victorian priest, Paul Ryan, who is already serving a prison sentence in Australia for indecent assault, over offences alleged to have occurred while he was serving at a US parish.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the two men claim to have been abused while Ryan was at Star of the Sea parish, Virginia Beach, on the US east coast.

Fr Ryan, 60, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in September by a Warrnambool, Victoria court after pleading guilty to five counts of indecent assault of two teenage boys in that country.

The two Virginia Beach men were teenagers at Star of the Sea parish school when Ryan was in Virginia.

The men, whose names were not disclosed, spoke to The Virginian-Pilot late last year after learning of the Australian prosecution. They recently declined to comment further, saying they had been asked by Virginia Beach police not to talk publicly about their allegations. A police spokeswoman confirmed the department was investigating the men's abuse complaint.

Ryan worked as an assistant priest at Star of the Sea during the 1977-78 and 1978-79 school years, according to Australian police documents.

Australian police interviewed the two men and one other former pupil at Star of the Sea last year as witnesses in the criminal investigation of Ryan.

The three told Australian investigators that Ryan performed sexual acts on them when they were 14 and 15 years old. The abuse is alleged to have occurred in the Star of the Sea rectory and in the home of one teen whose parents were away. The three former students said Ryan also provided them with alcohol and marijuana.

One of the two men who talked to the Pilot said Ryan abused him 12 times, while the other said he was abused once.

Ryan, who was ordained in Australia in 1976, had been sent by Catholic officials to the US for treatment of homosexual behaviour toward other seminary students, according to the Australian police investigation.

An Australian police investigator said another person who claims to have been abused by Ryan in Australia has come forward since the conviction was reported in here.


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