Pedophile Priest Peter Chalk Admits "Addiction"

By Rory Callinan
The Australian
September 20, 2010

ALLEGED pedophile Catholic priest Peter Chalk has confirmed his "evil behaviour" as well as the cover-up of his abuse.

He made the admissions in letters he wrote while being sheltered by the church in Japan, and also confessed he had an "addiction" to young people.

Mr Chalk discreetly left the priesthood, changed his name and became a teacher in Japan in 1995 after his alleged victims went to police following six years of inaction by his order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC).

Until last week when The Australian tracked him down in Japan, his location had been unknown to his victims. The police investigation into the allegations appeared to have stalled in the mid-1990s and extradition was considered difficult as Chalk had become a Japanese citizen.

Last night, Victorian police would not comment on the case but said any new evidence thatcould bring a matter before the court would be investigated.

The letters, written by Mr Chalk while he was in MSC's Japan and Hong Kong operations, were sent to victims' families and a colleague.

They reveal the extraordinary freedom, assistance and responsibilities given to him by some MSC leaders, despite their knowing of the child abuse allegations and the emotional pain of his victims and their families.

Mr Chalk admitted he was employed as the superior of the MSC operations in Japan and as a co-ordinator for the Asia-Pacific region in a letter he wrote to a victim's family member.

He was also able to travel internationally and once even visited Australia to attend a conference and see his mother.

In one of the most telling admissions in a letter, he likens his behaviour towards young people as an addiction.

"I also know that I have to avoid contact with young people, as an alcoholic must avoid all contact with alcohol," he says in a 1992 letter sent to Fred Van Gestel, then a fellow priest who tried to blow the whistle on Mr Chalk.

Mr Chalk has since worked as a teacher in Japan for 15 years; his most recent job was in a high school where children as young as 12 are being taught.

In another letter written in 1990, he reveals he had been told to keep quiet about the abuse.

"I'm not allowed to be too free about divulging details and am not supposed to communicate in any way with the people concerned," he writes to Father Van Gestel.

"There is always the fear that someone could be just waiting for material to use and obviously irrespective of the implications regarding myself, the financial considerations could be quite awesome and the administration obviously doesn't want to take the risks." The theme is the same in a letter to a victim's mother, where he says the then deputy provincial father, Jim Fallon, had asked him to delay posting a letter that contained an apology.

In other letters, he says his behaviour is not a sickness but "more in the realm of wilful and irresponsible evil".

And he blames his behaviour on the fact that he was "a young priest who had lived an extremely sheltered life".

"I fell into a pretty bad trap, not only of bending over backwards to try and identify, but trying so hard that I completely overshot the mark.

"I was also doing things that I felt were worthwhile," he writes.

On another occasion in late 1987, he confirms that he is to travel to Australia, where he might meet victims and then he begs the family member not to tell his own mother of his problems.

Mr Chalk has denied sexually abusing children but has confirmed he may have been involved in crude behaviour while working as a parish priest in the Warrandyte and Park Orchids parishes in Melbourne's northern suburbs in the 1970s.



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