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Melbourne priest blames celibacy for assault

A Melbourne court heard yesterday that a priest who indecently assaulted a 15-year-old boy told police celibacy was to blame for the sexual abuse of minors.

71 year old Fr John Barry Gwillim of Coburg yesterday pleaded guilty in the County Court to five counts of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency between October 1979 and February 1981.

Prosecutor Michael Tinney said Gwillim told police after his arrest in July last year: "It was the sort of thing (where there was) a lovely slice of cake, and I bloody well ate it."

Fr Bob Maguire, the director of Open Family Foundation, said Gwillim was a "wounded healer" who suffered burnout.

The court heard Gwillim, who was the priest at St Peter's church in Keilor East between 1979 and 1999, approached the schoolboy in the Melbourne CBD while he was waiting for a train in late 1979.

Telling him he was a teacher or private tutor, he offered him a lift home. He pulled aside on a quiet street and after asking the boy to be "nice" to him, directed him to perform oral sex.

Judge Fred Davey will sentence Gwillim this week.

Catholic priest blames celibacy for assault (Herald-Sun 9/12/03)

Catholic priest admits sex assault on boy (Sydney Morning Herald/AAP 8/12/03)

9 Dec 2003