Retired Priest Walks Free

By Joanne Mccarthy
Newcastle Herald
February 10, 2012

A JURY has found a retired Catholic priest not guilty of allegations he molested a 12-year-old boy while serving at the St Pius X parish at Windale more than two decades ago.

Dennis John Corrigan, 69, walked free from Sydney District Court yesterday after the jury took two hours to reach its verdict.

Mr Corrigan, of Thomas Street, Mayfield, had pleaded not guilty to two counts of indecent assault that were alleged to have occurred between late 1987 and early 1988, including one incident at the Windale presbytery when he invited the boy to stay overnight.

Mr Corrigan, dressed in a suit, displayed little emotion as the verdicts were read out.

Earlier Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Wilkins, SC, told the jury that the complainant could not recall the precise date of the assaults because of his young age at the time and the ‘‘bewildering and frightening experience’’.

The complainant told the court the priest had invited him to stay at the presbytery in December 1987. He said the priest carried him from the lounge to the bedroom during the night and indecently assaulted him.

Ms Wilkins said Mr Corrigan offered ‘‘no credible explanation’’ for why he invited the boy to stay overnight.

But Mr Corrigan’s barrister, Simon Harben, SC, argued the complainant ‘‘was just not telling the truth’’ and there were contradictions between his evidence and what he had previously told a private investigator for the Catholic Church.

Mr Harben said Mr Corrigan did not start in the role of Windale parish priest until January 1988 and denied any assaults had taken place.

Mr Corrigan declined to comment outside the court yesterday.








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