Cathedral security upgrades amid skater payback fears

Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral has been forced to upgrade security after skateboarders threatened to cause further trouble following an outburst from cathedral Dean Rev Geoff Baron who yesterday apologised for his "outrageous behaviour".

The Herald Sun reports that hundreds of angry messages attacking the dean appeared on internet site YouTube yesterday.

The threats follow the posting of a video of Rev Geoff Baron swearing and making racist and sexual slurs against a group of skater boys, which as of this morning has been removed.

The monsignor's foul-mouthed outburst - and the skateboarders' equally vile reaction - has been viewed almost 40,000 times.

"Might go skate the church tomozz (sic) and cover the place in wax and grind the steps down and throw some rubbish all over the place," one angry skater posted.

Another threatens to turn the picturesque cathedral into Melbourne's "next skate park".

"I'm gonna round up some bike riders and scooter riders and beat-boxers and . . . have a competition down the stairs there," the post said.

Another wrote: "Let's all go skate St Pat's and see if he's calmed down a bit !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Dozens of other messages suggest skaters should have bashed the priest to "teach him a lesson".

The footage - taken almost a year ago - shows Rev Baron losing his temper and swearing profusely before slapping one of the teens.

It also shows the priest being spat on, pushed, threatened and baited by the skateboarders, who repeatedly throw things at him.

The church official said skaters had been a problem at the cathedral for some time.

He said the church would investigate the threats but refused to comment further.

Rev Baron was not speaking to the media yesterday but offered a public apology on radio.

"The shame that I feel and the embarrassment, I can't really describe," he told 3AW.

"It was outrageous behaviour. I let myself down terribly badly, quite clearly, and I've also brought scandal and shock to other people.

"I wish I could take it back, but I can't. I've got to live with the consequences."

He described the teens as "jackals and hyenas", who had started things by calling him a pedophile and provoking him.

"When you're pushed to the limit, you lose control."

Rev Baron apologised to the public for his blasphemous outburst, but not to the skaters.

Priest's rant sparks security fears (Herald-Sun, 31/7/07)
Priest apologises for verbally abusing teens (ABC News, 30/7/07)
Potty-mouthed priest ashamed of outburst (News.com.au, 30/7/07)
Priest's shame over abuse (Courier-Mail,31/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
"Priest kickout" - Youtube (video removed)
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne | St Patrick's Cathedral

Priest succumbs to skateboarder taunts CathNews, 30/7/07)

31 Jul 2007