Bunbury bishop addresses parishioners on sex abuse case
Bishop Gerard Holohan of the rural Western Australian diocese of Bunbury has spoken to congregations in two parishes after their former priest had been charged with sexual offences.
The bishop was critical of media reporting of the case involving Fr Adrian Van Klooster, who was charged with two counts of indecently dealing with a child under the age of 13. Media images suggested he was assaulted by an angry mob outside the courthouse last month, from where he was released on bail until the case is heard next Monday.
Bishop Holohan said: "As I mentioned at the beginning of the Mass, there are the two charges and the media images. I do not understand fully what the charges mean, though I have been told that they are at the lesser end of charges of this nature."
He stressed his view that Fr Van Klooser is a victim of the accumulation of negative media images.
"The current situation is coloured because the charges against Fr Adrian stir in people's memories the crimes of other people and priests," he said. "Leaving aside completely Fr Adrian, whose innocence or guilt has to be decided by a court, it has to be acknowledged that, among the many convicted of sexual crimes against children, sadly there have been a few priests."
WA priest in sex case hit in court (26/2/02)
18 Mar 2002