Australian archbishop convicted for concealing child sex abuse

In this image made from video, Archbishop Philip Wilson, center, heads to Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, Australia on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. (AP)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Australian archbishop convicted for concealing child sex abuse

  • 7 percent of Catholic priests working in Australia between 1950 and 2010 had been accused of child sex crimes
  • Australia completed a five-year government-appointed inquiry into child sex abuse in churches

SYDNEY: An Australian archbishop was Tuesday found guilty of covering up child sex abuse in the 1970s — one of the highest-ranked church officials globally to be successfully prosecuted for such offenses.
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson was accused of concealing abuse by notorious paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the New South Wales Hunter region by failing to report the allegations.
His legal team reportedly made four attempts to have the case thrown out, arguing Wilson’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s should preclude him from trial — although it did not prevent him retaining his position in the church.
Magistrate Robert Stone found him guilty at Newcastle Local Court of concealing a serious indictable offense of another person, with the archbishop facing a maximum of two years in jail. Sentencing will be at a later date.
There was no dispute during the hearing that Fletcher, who is now dead, sexually abused altar boy Peter Creigh, but that Wilson, then a junior priest, did nothing about it when he was told.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported from the court that Stone found Creigh to be a truthful and reliable witness.
“I am satisfied and find that Mr.Creigh described to the accused he performed fellatio of Fletcher and masturbated Mr.Fletcher,” he said.
Stone added that he did not accept Wilson could not remember a 1976 conversation in which Creigh described the abuse, saying he “had no motive or interest to deceive or make up the conversation.”
The charges laid against Wilson, in 2015, stemmed from the work of Strike Force Lantle, which since 2010 had investigated claims of child abuse concealment by former and current clergy attached to the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese of the Catholic Church.
His conviction is another headache for Pope Francis, whose papacy has been haunted by allegations of sex abuse among Catholic priests.
Last week, 34 Chilean bishops announced their resignation over a child sex abuse scandal.
Several members of the Chilean church hierarchy are accused by victims of ignoring and covering up child abuse by Chilean paedophile priest Fernando Karadima during the 1980s and 1990s.


Swedish police arrest terrorist suspect with foreign links

Updated 13 December 2018
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Swedish police arrest terrorist suspect with foreign links

STOCKHOLM: Swedish security police said on Thursday they had arrested a person suspected of plotting a terrorist crime as well as illegal weapons possession in a case with connections abroad.
The SAPO security police said they made raids in western Sweden following extensive information-gathering. Several people were being interviewed in addition to the person arrested.
“The person has carried out preparations for the suspected terror crime for some time and there are international connections,” SAPO said, without giving an identity.
Police spokesman Gabriel Wernstedt declined to say which countries the case was linked to, but said the operation had no known links to a gun attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg on Tuesday. French police are still hunting a man suspected of killing at least two people.
Sweden, where an Uzbek asylum seeker mowed down pedestrians with a truck and killed five people in Stockholm last year, has kept its terrorist threat level unchanged at elevated, which is a three on a scale of five.