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Mildura abuse victims to launch action

An alleged victim of sexual abuse by the late Monsignor John Day who is thought to have abused hundreds of girls and boys in the Victorian city of Mildura decades ago, is to make a claim against the Diocese of Ballarat.

Online Catholics reported yesterday that a letter of demand is expected to be sent to the Diocese before Christmas.

The alleged victim's solicitor, Mr John Zigouris, confirmed that others will join in the action depending on information contained in a yet to be released Victorian Police file. The file is said to contain a confidential report by a police ethics review that corroborates the testimony of former senior detective Denis Ryan. Ryan raised the original allegations of sexual abuse against Day in the 1970s. His career was cut short as a result. Ryan has recently launched an action against the Victorian Police for wrongful dismissal.

Ballarat's Bishop Peter Connors, in Sydney this week for the Plenary Meeting of the Bishops Conference, said that a number of similar complaints against Monsignor Day had been settled by the Diocese out of court. Bishop Connors said he had not read the reports regarding Denis Ryan and was unable to comment on his story. However, the Bishop said that such cases tended to bring new allegations of abuse to the surface.

"These things that happened years ago, we did not understand them, the causes of these things," Bishop Connors told Online Catholics. "But we understand them better now, and are therefore better able to deal with them." Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, the Bishop of Ballarat at the time of these events, is retired and in poor health.

Mildura Abuse Victims to launch action (Online Catholics 24/11/04)

Sins of the monsignor (The Australian 20/11/04)
Catholic Diocese of Ballarat
Broken Rites Victim Support Group

25 Nov 2004