Former Archbishop ignores abuse victim


Preyed on by a pedophile priest when a young boy, Peter Gogarty wanted an apology from former Archbishop Philip Wilson as the disgraced clergyman left court to begin 12 months’ home detention for covering up child sex abuse.

Wilson ignored him and one of the clergyman’s supporters called him ”rubbish”.

”Any words for me, Philip?” Mr Gogarty asked as Wilson, 67, was being led to a waiting car outside Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday.

”Philip, will you say sorry for what you have done to me and other child sex abuse survivors? Philip, please, something, one word of contrition Philip.”

As Wilson was being driven away, one of his supporters turned on Mr Gogarty and told him: “Why didn’t you say something 40 years ago? I don’t have time for rubbish like you, mate.”

An angry Mr Gogarty called out ”you pig, you pig, typical bloody Catholic” to the supporter before telling reporters: “I’m beside myself about this. I’m still here, still hurting … and not a single, solitary word to say sorry.”

Magistrate Robert Stone had earlier sentenced Wilson for concealing abuse by pedophile priest James Fletcher in NSW’s Hunter region, after an assessment by authorities found him suitable to serve his sentence at his sister’s home near Newcastle.

He ordered Wilson serve at least six months’ before being eligible for parole.

Mr Stone said Wilson’s detention would be under strict supervision and he would have to wear a tracking device.

Wilson, who resigned as Archbishop of Adelaide after becoming the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse, showed no emotion when the decision was handed down.

His lawyer Ian Temby QC told the court Wilson planned to lodge an appeal against his conviction on Tuesday but would not be applying for bail.

Mr Gogarty, one of Fletcher’s victims, said Wilson’s home detention was too lenient, labelling it a six-month holiday at his sister’s home.

Mr Stone found Wilson guilty in May during a landmark magistrate-only trial of failing to report to police the repeated abuse of two altar boys by Fletcher.

Fletcher was found guilty of child sexual abuse in 2004 and died in jail of a stroke in 2006.

Wilson refused to quit for two months following his conviction, saying he wanted to wait for the outcome of his appeal.

But under mounting pressure from child abuse victims and Catholic priests to resign, and calls from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the Pope to sack him, Wilson offered up his resignation as a ”catalyst to heal pain and distress”.

Mr Stone found Wilson had shown no remorse or contrition for the cover-up and his primary motive had been to protect the Catholic Church.

The magistrate accepted Wilson was unlikely to re-offend but had to serve a period of detention to act as a deterrence to others.

He said home detention was an adequate punishment, given Wilson’s age, mental and physical conditions and the fact he had previously been of good character.

Bishop Greg O’Kelly, who is running the Archdiocese of Adelaide until a new archbishop is appointed, said in a statement on Tuesday he was keeping Wilson “in his prayers as he formally commences this stage in his life, while also remembering the victims and survivors of abuse in the church”.

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