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NSW bishop goes public on priest charged with abuse

Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone issued a statement of regret after police yesterday charged one of his priests with sexual assault involving a minor.

He named the priest as Fr James Fletcher. He advised that in accord with normal procedures, Fr Fletcher has been withdrawn from active ministry until the matter is resolved.

Bishop Malone said: "I would like to convey my deep sense of concern to the complainant in this matter and to his family and friends as the case is dealt with by the criminal justice system and beyond."

Stressing that sexual abuse is "a crime and cannot be tolerated", he referred to the Towards Healing protocol that the Church established in 1996 to set out principles that form the basis of the Church's response to complaints of abuse.

He also invited those wishing to discuss their response to this specific situation to come forward.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Towards Healing

15 May 2003