PATRICK Parkinson, a Sydney University law professor testifying at a state inquiry into sexual abuse, said today that Catholic clergy commit SIX TIMES as much abuse as those in the rest of the churches combined.
The Australian child protection expert added:
And that’s a conservative figure.
Parkinson told the Parliamentary inquiry that the figures for the Catholic Church were strikingly out of proportion, and he proposed a 12-month amnesty from charges of perverting the course of justice if the Church opened all its files on offenders alive and dead. Those involved in cover-ups, however, would have to resign, he said.
Professor Parkinson, who chaired a review of child protection laws in New South Wales and twice reviewed the Church’s national Towards Healing abuse protocol, said he broke with the Catholic Church over its cover-up of his independent report on the Salesians of Don Bosco.
Speaking under parliamentary privilege, he said the order sent three priests overseas to avoid police questioning, then suppressed his report on their actions.
He told the committee an American child safety expert had labeled the order:
The Church’s most defiant and unrepentant group.
Professor Parkinson added:
The lies were breathtaking, and [former Australian head] Father [Frank] Moloney was absolutely at the centre of all the untruths.
Earlier, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton set the inquiry’s opening day alight with more broadsides against the Catholic Church’s systemic obstruction of police inquiries over five decades.
He said police had statistics for sexual offences by clergy and church workers since January 1956, uncovering ”shocking” figures: 2,110 offences against 519 victims, overwhelmingly perpetrated by Catholic priests and mostly against boys aged 11 or 12. But in all that time the Church had not reported a single crime to police.
Savaging the church’s Melbourne Response protocol for dealing with complaints, Ashton said:
If a stranger were to enter a church and rape a child it would be immediately reported to police. But if the stranger were a member of the clergy, their special process would be wrapped around him. What is different about the clergy? It is the reputation of the church that creates the difference.
Hat tip: Tim Davies