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Queensland priest loses appeal

Former Rockhampton priest Michael McArdle has lost a bid to have his six-year jail sentence reduced.

The 68 year old had pleaded guilty to a total of 62 indecent dealing charges against 14 boys and two girls over a 22-year period from 1965 in regional Catholic parishes across Queensland.

Queensland Court of Appeal president Justice Margaret McMurdo, dismissing McArdle's appeal against his sentence yesterday, said a serious aspect to the case was that the victims were altar boys who were abused in the precincts of the church where they should have been nurtured and safe.

"He often blessed the children after committing these offences on them," Justice McMurdo said.

McArdle was summonsed to meetings with bishops on three occasions. However, he was twice simply sent to other regional communities where he chose fresh targets.

In the District Court in October, McArdle faced a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. He was sentenced to six, but was given an early recommendation for parole after two years.

McArdle, who has since left the priesthood and married, says he is rehabilitated, has no contact with children and commits himself to personal devotion and prayer.

Pedophile priest loses appeal (Courier-Mail 5/2/04)

Queensland priest to appeal against jail term (3/2/04)
Diocese of Rockhampton | Bishop Brian Heenan
Rockhampton bishop asked to quit (22/10/03)
Rockhampton bishop renews apology to priest's victims (10/10/03)
Rockhampton bishop calls meetings to discuss church sex abuse (15/8/02)
Public apology for Rockhampton priest's sex abuse (17/6/02)
Church apologises to abuse victims (The Age)
Church apologises for abuse (The Courier-Mail)
Towards Healing

6 Feb 2004