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Brisbane bishop to keep tabs on child molesters

Church workers convicted of sex crimes should be formally monitored by the Catholic archdiocese when they leave jail and re-enter the community in Queensland, a Brisbane bishop said yesterday.

Bishop John Gerry's proposal follows revelations that convicted priests were occupying sensitive roles without any supervision or ongoing monitoring from the church.

Bishop Gerry, who oversees the way the church handles sex abuse allegations, yesterday said he would put his proposal for a formal monitoring process on the agenda at the next meeting of the church's professional standards resource group.

He said monitoring would involve formal, ongoing face-to-face meetings with sex abusers.

``It would ask them how they are travelling and what they are involved in,'' he said.
Bishop Gerry said the resource group had discussed such a program but had not taken it forward.

``We did have it set down last year but we haven't put it into practice because there didn't seem to be any urgency at the time,'' he said.

The plan could be in place by as early as the end of the year.

A pedophile priest has quit acting as a ``companion'' in a spiritual retreat run at the Bethel Community Centre on the Gold Coast after an article in The Courier-Mail.

The priest, convicted on 17 counts of indecent dealing, had been conducting meetings with retreat participants -- some were abuse victims.


6 Jun 2002