Australian archbishop gets 1 year in prison for hiding sexual child abuse

Australian archbishop gets 1 year in prison for hiding sexual child abuse
03 Jul

An Australian archbishop has been sentenced to 12 months in detention for covering up sexual child abuse by another priest.

Philip Wilson, 67, was found guilty of covering up offenses by a pedophile priest in New South Wales in the 1970s on Tuesday.

The Newcastle Local Court ordered the senior Catholic priest to remain free on bail while his suitability for home detention was determined.

Wilson is the most senior Catholic cleric in the world convicted of concealing child sex abuse as of yet.

In May, the court determined that Wilson had failed to report to police offenses on altar boys by pedophile priest James Patrick Fletcher, who was Wilson’s colleague in the 70s.

Deceased pedophile priest James Patrick Fletcher James Patrick Fletcher (file photo)

In 2004, Fletcher, who was then 64, was convicted of multiple sexual offenses on a teenage boy. He was handed a 10-year sentence but died one year into his jail sentence.

Wilson gave up his duties as archbishop after conviction on Tuesday but did not resign.

The Vatican has not commented yet.

Recently, thousands of Catholic priests have been accused of sexual abuse on teens over decades, and other priests stand accused of having helped the pedophiles escape unscathed.

In 2014, Pope Francis set up a special Vatican commission to address the issue.

The Pope’s own top financial adviser, Cardinal George Pell — also an Australian — is on trial over sexual abuse of multiple individuals years earlier in his Australian home state of Victoria.

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