Calls for Vatican to Sack Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson

By Kim Robertson
June 19, 2018

Lawyers for Adelaide's Catholic Archbishop have pleaded for him not to be sent to prison, for concealing child sex abuse.

They say he's at risk of falling gravely-ill behind bars, or being attacked by other inmates.

But prosecutors and victims insist Philip Wilson has shown no remorse, and deserves little mercy.

Archbishop Philip Wilson arrives at Newcastle Local Court today. The Adelaide Archbishop has been found guilty of concealing historical child sexual abuse. Picture: AAP

Archbishop Philip Wilson stayed silent as he arrived to face justice at the Newcastle Local Court.

But inside his Defence lawyers pleaded with a Magistrate to spare the Catholic Archbishop jail, arguing he was so ill, he might not survive prison time.

Concerns raised too, were that he would be targeted by other inmates.

Victims of abuse though say he has to face prison time.

"Regardless of what condition and what health he's in at the moment he deserves to go to jail," Abuse victim Daniel Feenan said.

Child sex abuse victim Peter Gogarty has called for the Vatican to sack Archbishop Philip Wilson. (AAP)

Another victim Peter Gogarty agrees,

"If you aren't prepared to suffer the consequences of your behaviour don't do the wrong thing," he said.

In a landmark verdict last month, Philip Wilson became the highest ranking church official in the world to be found guilty of covering up child sex abuse.

The court finding he failed to take action.. when Peter Creigh.. as a 10 year-old boy in the 1970s told him about abuse he suffered at the hands of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the Hunter Valley.

Victim Peter Creigh was threatened into silence by his abuser, convicted paedophile Jim Fletcher. Picture: AAP

The prosecution said that jail is the only option for the Archbishop who had shown no remorse.

Arguing the Magistrate must send a strong message to the community that the court would not tolerate, "the endemic and systematic cover up of child abuse".

Adding Phillip Wilson had deliberately concealed what he knew, "for all those years, he thought he'd gotten away with it."

Peter Creigh said Wilson has to resign or be sacked.

"Nowhere in society...would someone convicted of such a serious crime still stay in his role," he said.

Other survivors of Fletcher's abuse today calling on The Vatican to intervene and immediately sack Philip Wilson, who has stood down, but not resigned.

"There's not a doubt in my mind that if Archbishop Wilson will not resign the Pope should dismiss him immediately," Mr Gogarty said.

Crown Prosecutor Gareth Harrison at Newcastle Local Court for the sentencing of Philip Wilson. Picture: AAP

There were no moves though from the Catholic Church to remove the Archbishop.

And in Adelaide he was remembered at a midday mass.

A priest at the Catholic Church's St Francis Xavier cathedral offering his prayers,

"Of course I pray from him, everyday actually, always," he said.

"None of us are perfect people, therefore we deserve forgiveness no matter who we are."

Archbishop Philip Wilson will be sentenced on July 3.








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