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Samoa Archbishop reported to be "furious"

There is more coverage of the Salesian story in the Australian press this morning. The Archbishop of Samoa, Alapati Mataeliga, is reported to be "furious" by The Australian. He is now preparing to send Fr Klep home to Australia "on the first plane".

Much of the reportage concerns inaction by police as well as actions taken by the Salesians. The Australian says Archbishop Mataeliga has summoned the Salesian Order to his Apia office this morning to explain its "breach of trust", "and ordered it to prevent Klep from delivering Mass or mixing with children".

"We are not prepared to be involved in sheltering or hiding Father Klep in any way," the Archbishop's spokesman, Puletini Tuala, said yesterday.

"As soon as the police inform us that he is wanted for arrest, we will say yes, take him, he is out of here on the first plane."

In an editorial The Age says:

But for the 1994 convictions, none of the allegations above have been proven in court and every accused priest is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The point to be made, though, is that such allegations should be investigated by police and, should they lay charges, the evidence should be tested in court. The church should in no way frustrate that process. Father Murdoch [Congregational Leader] says the Salesians are "deeply sorry for the sexual misconduct of some of our members and for their violation of the young". Members of the order and the church they represent cannot begin truly to repent and atone for that – in the eyes of their public and their God – until their leaders do their moral and legal duty. The order has the power to recall Father Klep to answer the charges, and should, or else stand condemned for complicity.
In a further article being carried by Murdoch newspapers it is claimed "the Catholic church has paid up to $100,000 in compensation to sex abuse victims linked to exiled priest Frank Klep.

The Australian – Samoa's pedophile anger
The Age – Editorial: Church compounds the sins of the fathers – $100,000 sex abuse payout

Dallas Morning News – Convicted sexual abuser and fugitive works with kids under his religious order's wing
Dallas Morning News – Multi-media interactive presentation
The Age – Pedophile priest stays out of reach
ABC Radio PM – Priest with paedophilia conviction relocated to Samoa
ABC Radio PM – Alleged sex abuse victim speaks out
LA Times – Vatican Aware of Abuse for Centuries, Study Says
Salesian Australian website

23 Jun 2004