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Adelaide archbishop welcomes paedophile's "appropriate" jail sentence

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide welcomed Friday's court decision to hand a ten year jail sentence to a former bus driver at a Catholic school for intellectually disabled boys.

Brian Bertram Morris Perkins, 67, had earlier pleaded guilty to five charges, including two counts of indecent assault and two of causing a child to expose his body.

In sentencing, District Court Judge Jeffrey Anderson said Perkins had also helped out with woodwork and as a handyman at the school and had come to be trusted by the students, staff and parents.

"It's highly appropriate that he be sentenced in a substantial way for behaviour and crimes which are so horrible in their attack on the integrity of these children," he said.

During the period from 1986 to 1991, Brian Perkins committed various acts of abuse and indecency on a number of children who attended the school.

Archbishop Wilson said the church's own inquiry into the processes in place during 1986 and 1991 is progressing well. After extensive interviews, all information is now in the hands of Mr Brian Hayes QC, and the archbishop is awaiting his report.

Archbishop Wilson said he would consider all options including requesting the tabling of the report in Parliament. "If appropriate, I will seek discussion of this possibility with the Premier," he said.

"My intention is to fulfil the promises I made to these parents to investigate this and engage in Towards Healing. If they want to be involved in litigation, I totally recognise their right to do that," he said.

Archbishop Wilson said 13 families were involved with the church's Towards Healing process, the church's protocol for dealing with complaints of abuse.

Vicar General Mgr David Cappo and Catholic Education director Allan Dooley have met parents on several occasions as well as parent advocacy groups. The Archbishop also met parents last year. The Catholic Education Office has made extra staff available for families.

The Australian reports that some parents outside the court on Friday expressed their anger over attempts by the church to cover up the matter, as well as inaction from various government agencies.

"It's been fobbed off, covered up, delayed - people didn't want to know," a spokesman said.

Catholic Communications (Adelaide)
The Australian

Towards Healing
Church faces class action by parents for damages (5/8/03)
Parents threaten Catholic Church in South Australia (30/4/02)
Archdiocese of Adelaide


A former Catholic priest who molested 18 girls, including the flower girl at a wedding and others to whom he gave confession, was yesterday jailed for 3 years.

However, Judge Ian Wylie QC said he would suspend the sentence after 14 months for four years to reflect mitigating factors in Neville Joseph Creen's favour.

Judge Wylie said Creen's offences were repetitive and involved "invading the bodies" of his victims.

"You have betrayed your God, religion, vows, parishioners, friends, the girls and family," he said.

Judge Wylie added that on one occasion Creen had told a victim he acted as an agent of God.

In the District Court in Brisbane on Tuesday, Creen, 63, now of Sydney, pleaded guilty to 34 counts of indecent dealings with 18 girls when he was a parish priest in Mount Isa between 1973 and 1981.

The victims were generally the children of parishioners or associated with a primary school in the region. Several of the girls were molested more than once and one, four years after the first time Creen indecently dealt with her.

The court heard Creen retired as a priest in 1994 and had since been successful in business.

Meanwhile, one of Creen's victims has sued the Catholic Church for $1 million - believed to be the largest single claim made against it.

Earlier last week, Bishop Michael Putney, head of the Townsville Diocese, issued a statement in which he apologised to Creen's victims.

The Courier-Mail

Ex-priest jailed for betraying God (The Courier-Mail)
Townsville bishop says victims more important than diocesan finances (12/9/03)
Former Towsville priest in court on abuse charges (10/11/03)
Priest 'chosen by God' for sex crimes (Courier-Mail)
Ex-priest admits abusing 20 girls (Courier-Mail)
Diocese of Townsville

15 Sep 2003