Catholic Archbishop Sentenced to Jail for Concealing Child Abuse

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A former Catholic Archbishop in Australia has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for concealing child abuse.

The former Australian Archbishop was found guilty of concealing sexual abuse against children in his diocese in the 1970’s. The court has however allowed the former Church leader to serve the prison sentence at home instead of a public prison.

Retired Archbishop Philip Wilson, 67, was sentenced to one year in prison for helping to cover up sexual abuse against children by a priest Jim Fletcher in the Hunter region of New South Wales State.

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In his ruling on Tuesday, Margistrate Robert Stone ruled that former Archbishop Wilson will not need to spend time behind bars, because of his age as well as his previous good records which was taken into consideration.

The former Archbishop will be detained at his sister’s house for six months before he is eligible for parole but he will be made to wear a tracking device for the duration of his prison sentence.

Former Archbishop Wilson is the highest ranking Catholic Church official to be convicted for covering up child abuse by priests under his authority.

During the conviction in May, the sexual abuse victims of priest Jim Fletcher blamed former Archbishop Philip Wilson for covering up the assault cases and also failing to apologise to the victims.

One of the victims Peter Gogarty at the court sentencing yelled outside the court premises,

“Any words for me, Philip? Philip will you say sorry for what you have done to me and other child sex abuse survivors? Philip, please, something … one word of contrition.”

 Another victim of the sexual assaults, Daniel Feenan, also criticised Wilson for failing to say sorry.

I’d like to see him show some type of remorse and I’d like to see him apologise,” he said.

The former Archbishop had quit his job despite reluctance on the part of Pope Francis to accept his resignation after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on the Vatican to sack him.

Although he remains an ordained Bishop, he has no official role of authority within the Catholic Church as Pope Francis eventually accepted Wilson’s resignation last month after mounting pressure from the Australian public.

Archbishop Wilson is accused of helping to conceal sexual abuses against an altar boy by Fletcher; more victims have since come forward to testify against the duo.

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