"It's Been 33 Years in the Making': Ex-priest Charged over Sexual Abuse

By Nick Ralston, Lisa Davies
Macedon Ranges Weekly
May 1, 2012

Attorney-General Greg Smith ... he has come under fire for an alleged claim he made.

A retired Catholic priest and a one-time close personal friend of the Attorney-General, Greg Smith, has been charged over alleged sexual abuse of four children in the 1970s and '80s.

Father Finian Egan, 77, who maintains his innocence, arrived at Ryde police station by appointment shortly before 11am.

It is understood his legal representative was already at the station.

Mr Egan walked out of the police station and into a waiting ambulance after the charges were laid.

He has been the subject of a police investigation that began in 2010 following complaints he abused five children 30 years ago.

A number of women went to police following media reports about previous claims made within the Catholic Church.

He has now been charged with 16 counts of indecent assault and one count of rape, relating to alleged assaults while he was a priest in Sydney and the central coast, police said.

The charges related to the alleged assaults of an 11-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl at Carlingford in 1979 and 1987 and a 17-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy at The Entrance in 1972 and 1973.

Mr Egan was granted conditional bail and will appear in Ryde Local Court on May 23.

Police said the charges laid were consistent with the law at the time of the alleged offences. They were the equivalent of the modern offences indecent assault, aggravated indecent assault, sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated sexual assault.

Police said their investigations were continuing.

Two of Mr Egan's alleged female victims were waiting at Ryde police station when he arrived.

He had to be helped out of the car by detectives before he made the short walk inside with the aid of a walking stick.

One of the women, Nikki Wells, said she did not think this day would ever arrive.

"It's been 33 years in the making; it's been the majority of my life that I've been waiting for this day," she said.

"The last four years I've been advocating for his arrest. It was such a relief to see him walk into the station."

In 2010, the Herald revealed that the church's independent assessor had upheld claims of sexual molestation against Mr Egan after two sisters complained they were groped by him in the 1980s.

He was subsequently suspended from the church but was allowed to officiate at eight services while under investigation.

Mr Smith has also come under fire for his alleged links to the case, after a claim that he said one of Mr Egan's alleged victims was "just trying to get $1 million from the church".

Mr Smith has strongly denied these claims and said he "would never suggest any victim of sexual abuse was motivated by a desire to claim a financial payout".








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