Former Catholic Priest Abused 36 Children Including Five-year-old Girl, Court Hears
By Angus Thompson
October 29, 2018
A former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing 36 children over more than 20 years took over the running of a homeless shelter after pleading guilty to separate abuses, a court has heard.
David Joseph Perrett, 81, was refused bail by a NSW Supreme Court judge on Monday following fresh charges being laid in a case that has so far seen 115 alleged counts of sexual abuse levelled against the retired clergyman.
|David Joseph Perrett outside court in Armidale last year.|
Justice Richard Button kept Perrett behind bars at Long Bay jail following prosecution concerns he would use the "machinery of the Catholic Church" to avoid justice if he was freed.
The court heard that after admitting to sexual offences in 1996, Perrett left the church and began running a homeless charity.
"The allegation is ... remarkably ... he took over a homeless shelter," Justice Button said during the bail application.
"Presumably, there might have been many young men, many young boys living at the shelter."
But Perrett's barrister, Troy Edwards, said there was no evidence that that was the case, nor, he said, was there evidence that Perrett or the Catholic Church had tried to scuttle the police investigation against him.
"Your honour is simply left with conjecture," Mr Edwards said.
It's understood Perrett was living at a convent in Wallangarra, on the NSW-Queensland border, when detectives extradited him to face charges in May last year.
He was reporting to Armidale police on bail until 30 fresh charges, including raping a five- and eight-year-old girl, were laid in August, leading to him being automatically placed into custody.
Mr Edwards told Justice Button that his client had been on bail for some 15 months without incident before the fresh allegations, said to relate to incidents occurring in 1992 and 1993.
He said it was "fanciful" that the imposition of extra charges would result in Perrett breaching his bail.
Mr Edwards said his client should also be released because of the length of time the case would take to resolve, as well as Perrett's age and condition making it difficult to instruct his legal team while behind bars.
He said police were critical of his client in claiming Perrett hadn't previously been forthcoming regarding the allegations with which he was now charged, to which Justice Button said, "your case is that he didn't commit these offences."
"The state readily assumes that he's guilty of these offences," Mr Edwards replied.
The charges - which include indecent assault, aggravated sexual assault and carnal knowledge - relate to Perrett's time working as a priest in Armidale, Walgett and Guyra between 1969 and 1993.
He is set to reappear before an Armidale magistrate on January 23 next year.