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Brisbane bishop comments on monitoring of convicted priests

Brisbane Archdiocese auxiliary Bishop John Gerry has said that effective monitoring of convicted pedophile priests "needs to be developed further".

Responding to questions from the Courier-Mail newspaper, he said there had been "an oversight" in relation to the activities of Fr John Treacy, who worked as a relieving hospital chaplain after he was convicted of sex abuse.

The newspaper also revealed that a former Catholic Education senior official, convicted of sexually abusing boys under 14 and facing further charges, had designed and developed web pages for the Catholic-run Church, Life and Mission on a contract basis for about two years. It also reported that Fr Leo Daniel Wright, 63, convicted of 17 counts of indecent dealing with children under 12, is currently acting as a "companion" for clients taking part in spiritual retreats at the Bethel Community Centre at Coolangatta.

Bishop Gerry, who deals with abuse complaints against priests for the Brisbane Archdiocese, said the priests were not dealing with children and were not supposed to hact as priests to the public, in keeping with the protocols.

"We don't have any formal structures for an ongoing regimen of supervision," said Bishop Gerry. "There may be a need perhaps to establish something more formal in the way of a process of occasional review of how they are going personally and what work they are doing because they have to make a living somehow."

But he defended allowing the former senior official to work on the church web pages. "He works at home and what possible danger could that be to children?" he asked.


27 May 2002