An Australian archbishop has been sentenced to one year detention for concealing historical sexual abuse, becoming the highest-ranking Catholic clergyman to face confinement for a cover-up.
Archbishop Philip Wilson, who has stepped aside but not resigned from his position in the Catholic Church, was sentenced to 12 months detention on Tuesday.
A court had found him guilty of covering up the sexual abuse of children by paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in May, which he allegedly knew about as early as the 1970s.
Wilson will be eligible for parole after six months, and his sister’s home will be assessed as a possible location for home detention before a final location is confirmed by the court on August 14th.
Australian law allows the possibility of home detention for offenders sentenced to fewer than 18 months imprisonment, with the location determined by a court assessment after sentencing.
Magistrate Robert Stone told the court “there is no remorse or contrition showed by the offender. I am of the opinion the sentence should not be suspended.
“On that basis, the only available remaining option is full-time imprisonment or home detention.”
He said the only logical reason for Wilson’s conduct was protecting the Catholic Church.
“There are no other rational explanations for the offender’s conduct.”
Despite calls for his resignation, the church has not commented, thus far, on the future of Wilson’s position in the institution.
Wilson’s conviction is the first of its kind, according to Crown prosecutor Gareth Harrison, who said earlier hearings in other cases had not resulted in a guilty verdict.
It could set a legal precedent for other cases in which church officials knew and deliberately concealed historical sexual abuse.
The sentencing comes as Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, prepares to stand trial on charges of historical child sex offences later this year.
Both Pell and Wilson’s charges are the result of a five-year inquiry into the sexual abuse of children in Australia that ended last year.
It recommended sweeping changes, including the end to mandatory celibacy in the Catholic Church, and ensuring criminal justice responses were available for victims and survivors.
Tens of thousands of children had been abused in various Australian institutions, including the Catholic Church over the last 90 years, the commission estimated.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from LEADERSHIP Nigeria Newspapers. Contact: email@example.com
Sign up for our newsletter
- OPINION14 hours ago
Nnamdi Kanu’s Appearance and My Apology to The Nigerian Army
- NEWS21 hours ago
No Extension Of Deadline For Submission Of Candidates’ List – INEC
- HEALTH14 hours ago
3 Common Vaginal Infections You Need To Know About
- NEWS20 hours ago
You Sleep With Your Ex-lover In My House, Cleric Accuses Wife
- NEWS12 hours ago
FG Begins Monthly Payment Of 9,215 NITEL/Mtel Ex-Workers
- NEWS17 hours ago
Train Mows Down Crowd Killing Scores
- BUSINESS21 hours ago
Chinese Company To Commence Mining In Nigeria
- NEWS24 hours ago
Nnamdi Kanu Allegedly Sighted In Israel