'Selfless dedication' prompts lighter sentence for priest

A judge sentencing a Salesian priest for sexual abuse of minors took into account the fact that he had selflessly dedicated his life to helping others as a priest.

The ABC reports that Judge Frances Hogan said she found sentencing difficult, as she jailed Fr Frank Klep for a year for sexually assaulting 11 boys at a Melbourne school.

Klep was charged with 14 counts of sexual assault over offences committed at the Rupertswood Salesian College at Sunbury between 1973 and 1979. All his victims were boys aged under 16.

They were assaulted under Klep's care at the college infirmary.

Judge Hogan handed down a 36-month sentence, with 24 months suspended for three years.

Noel McNamara, from the Crime Victims Support Association, says the sentence is inadequate.

"For 15 offences, that's three weeks for each boy," he said.

Priest jailed for assaulting schoolboys (ABC News 16/12/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Salesians Australia
Towards Healing (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)

Salesian "preyed on ill pupils" (CathNews 12/12/05)
Salesian in court on 29 child sex charges (CathNews 30/3/05)
Abuser 'not moved to avoid police' (CathNews 31/7/04)
Salesians 'knew of Klep allegations' (CathNews 29/6/04)
Salesian arrested at Melbourne Airport (CathNews 28/6/04)
Fr Klep being deported from Samoa (CathNews 25/6/04)

Child-sex priest jailed (Herald-Sun 17/12/05)
Priest in court on indecent assault charge (Irish Times 17/12/05)
Rights of religious belief and practice hang in the balance (The Tidings 9/12/05)
Catholic brother's appeal denied (NZCity 14/12/05)

19 Dec 2005