Melbourne Priest Resigns after Sex Abuse Allegations

New Daily
November 26, 2016

Father Walshe's resignation takes effect on January 18.Photo: AAP

A Melbourne Catholic priest has resigned after allegations he sexually abused a trainee priest 30 years ago.

The ABC revealed that in 2012, the Catholic Church paid $75,000 in compensation to an 18-year-old former student priest, who alleged he was abused by Father John Walshe in 1982.

Father Walshe strenuously denied the abuse and said the relationship was consensual.

Parents from two schools in his parish in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, St John Vianney Primary School at Parkdale and St Patrick’s Primary School, Mentone have been lobbying for his resignation all year saying they no longer trusted him.

In this week’s parish bulletin, Father Walshe said it had been an immense honour serving the parish and his resignation would take effect on January 18.

Parents had withdrawn their children from mass at one of the schools and threatened legal action unless Father Walshe was removed.

They wrote to Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart outlining a series of concerns about Father Walshe saying he should be held to the “same high standards expected of teachers.”

Andrew Pope, who has children at one of the schools, said after a campaign running 11 months the community was happy and relieved.

“It’s great that it’s happened finally, [I] just wished it had happened earlier,” he said.

“A lot of damage has been done in our community as the year has gone on.”

Shane Healy, a spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese, said the resignation happened after long discussions between Archbishop Denis Hart and Father Walshe, and it was hoped parents would see they had listened to the community.

It is understood Father Walshe wants to return to study.








Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.