By: Savannah Smith | 05-22-2018 | News
Photo credit: @lfsanchezromero

Australia - Archbishop Philip Wilson Found Guilty of Concealing Child Sex Abuse

The verdict is out: South Australian Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson is guilty of concealing child sex abuse by another priest and could serve time in prison.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">He&#39;d been described as a &quot;healing bishop&quot; – a man who could work to make amends for child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. <br><br>Today, Archbishop Philip Wilson became the most senior Church official to be found guilty of covering-up sexual crimes <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Adam Baidawi (@ads_b) <a href="">May 22, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The decision was delivered in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court this morning as the state’s highest-ranking Catholic Church official appeared shocked with the verdict.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The most senior Catholic to be charged with concealing child sexual abuse — Adelaide&#39;s Archbishop Philip Wilson — has been found guilty by a New South Wales court. <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Luis F Sanchez R (@lfsanchezromero) <a href="">May 22, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The 67-year-old Wilson was accused of covering up of the abuse of then 10-year-old altar boy Peter Creigh by convicted pedophile priest Jim Fletcher near Newcastle, in 1971.

The victim shared to Wilson what was done to him in 1976. The Archbishop told the trial that he has no memory of such conversation. Wilson is suffering the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The courageous Peter Creigh - the key witness in the guilty verdict for Archbishop Philip Wilson for <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#clericalabuse</a> cover up <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Suzanne Smith (@suzipeep) <a href="">May 22, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Wilson was also accused during his trial of being a “consummate Catholic politician” and a man who was part of “an entrenched toxic culture of covering things up.”

Prosecutors also accused the Archbishop of lying under oath in court. Prosecutor Gather Harrison even described Wilson as: “He was like a cat on a hot tin roof when answering those questions, he ducked and he weaved.”

One of Fletcher’s victims, Daniel Feenan, also expressed happiness with the verdict. He was born in 1976 and he said that if only something was done that year, his life would have been very different. He also said that everyone can see “that he is guilty.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Catholic clergy abuse survivors Peter Creigh &amp; Daniel Feenan embrace following the guilty verdict of Archbishop Philip Wilson for concealing child abuse. Had Wilson acted on Peter&#39;s complaint, Daniel &amp; others would not have been abused by Fr Fletcher <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Peter Fox (@Peter_Fox59) <a href="">May 22, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Feenan’s evidence helped put Fletcher behind bars. He is also encouraging other victims of child sexual abuse to come forward, hoping that his public stance would embolden them to do so as well.

Feenan said with conviction: “There are other victims out there, not just Fletcher’s. But I just hope that by looking at me, whether it’s a Catholic priest, your uncle, or a schoolteacher, or anyone, come forward. Go to the police. Times have changed, and you’ll get the right support.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The conviction of Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson is very significant. No longer will those who cover up child abuse be allowed to hide. My heart goes out to all survivors who have bravely fought for justice.</p>&mdash; Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) <a href="">May 22, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Feenan also said that Wilson deserved to be placed behind bars.

Wilson now faces a maximum two-year jail term, with sentencing to take place on June 19.

It is possible that the Archbishop will appeal his case while it remains unclear if he’ll stand down from his church duties.

The verdict makes Wilson the most senior clergy member in the world to be charged and convicted of this crime. The decision is being seen by observers and critics as likely to have wide-ranging implications for other high-ranking Catholic officials.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BREAKING</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CatholicChurch</a> archbishop Philip Wilson <br><br>found GUILTY of concealing child sexual abuse!<br><br>Most senior catholic in the World <br><br>to EVER be convicted of this crime!<br><br>The dam is cracking…<a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CSA</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#cult</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#auspol</a></p>&mdash; Peter Pyke (@PeterPyke) <a href="">May 22, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Wilson for his part expressed disappointment with the decision, saying he will consult his lawyers for his next steps.

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Twitter: #MAGA #KeepAmericaGreat! #Australia #CatholicChurch #SexualAbusebyChurchClergy #ChildSexualAbuse

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Thoughts on the above story? Comment below!
3 Comment/s
Dawn Ford No. 26775 2018-05-22 : 08:36

There is much more to be revealed, and this precedent-setting sentence is far too lenient. We are talking about young children facing the most horrendous of crimes by those claiming to be of God. Those clergy who kept quiet, kept the abuse from continuing and are just as guilty as the perpetrators.

Anonymous No. 26805 2018-05-22 : 14:33

Good for humanity!

Joe No. 26821 2018-05-22 : 16:44

When are these cathloics going to read rheir bible and understand God made woman for man and if they cant stay true to God it is better to marry! They have caused tbeir problem! And harmed many, many innocent children! They will pay! 1Ti 5:24

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