Skater admits taunts, expresses regret

One of the skateboarders who provoked a tirade from Melbourne's St Patrick Cathedral Dean Geoff Baron has expressed regret over his role in the affair but said that the priest's reaction was also wrong.

The Sunday Herald Sun reports that the 16-year-old also revealed his school was furious over the posting of parts of the incident on the Internet.

"Tom" confirmed he was among the youths who verbally jousted with Monsignor Geoff Baron outside St Patrick's Cathedral.

He said he deeply regretted the incident that led to Monsignor Baron's shocking outburst.

But he felt the Monsignor's actions were indefensible.

"I do feel sorry for him really, because I know what we did was wrong. But I think his reaction was wrong too," Tom said.

Monsignor Baron fled to Sydney last week following revelations of the incident a year ago, in which he swore at the youths.

Tom uses his YouTube and MySpace sites to post videos of his group's skateboarding exploits.

Monsignor Baron's niece Steph Baron this week posted an Internet comment defending the priest.

She also claimed the group had been taunting him for years, despite being asked to leave.

Ms Baron said her uncle had even "called the cops a few times," but had been unsuccessful in removing the group from the cathedral grounds.

In another story, the Herald Sun also reports that Monsignor Baron had left Melbourne for his brother's home in Sydney.

Monsignor Baron also told the paper that his tirade came as a result of a four-year campaign of harassment by a mob of skateboarders.

A diocesan worker at St Patrick's Cathedral in East Melbourne confirmed that Monsignor Baron had been baited and abused - even physically threatened - by the camera-toting skaters since 2004.

But Monsignor Baron, whose tirade was posted on YouTube, said their campaign of abuse stretched back further than three years.

"Make it four," he said.

I egged on Monsignor Baron, admits skater (News.com.au, 4/8/07)
Priest: Skaters taunted me for years (Herald Sun, 4/8/07)

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

Skateboard-hating priest suspended (CathNews, 1/8/07)
Cathedral security upgrades amid skater payback fears (CathNews, 31/7/07)
Priest succumbs to skateboarder taunts CathNews, 30/7/07)

6 Aug 2007