Police Investigate Claims Church Covered up Abuse

By Dennis Malone
ABC News
September 16, 2010

Newcastle police have confirmed they have launched a formal investigation into allegations the Maitland-Newcastle diocese of the Catholic Church covered up the crimes of Hunter Valley priest Denis McAlinden.

It is alleged Father McAlinden sexually assaulted girls aged between six and 12 in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese over four decades.

The diocese has been the focus of police Taskforce Georgiana, which has seen four priests convicted for abusing more than 100 victims.

Northern region command operations manager Inspector Tony Townsend says police are investigating allegations that senior clergy knew about Father McAlinden's abuse and concealed it over several decades.

The police are also investigating allegations that Father McAlinden was transferred throughout the diocese following complaints from parents about his behaviour.

Father McAlinden was charged in Western Australia but was not convicted.

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