Officer ‘a man of integrity’

A woman whose son was abused by a paedophile priest, has described a police whistleblower as a man of great integrity.

A Special Commission Of Inquiry was launched after Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox spoke out about paedophilia within the Catholic Church in the Hunter Valley and cover-ups by the church and police.

The inquiry’s report, tabled yesterday, was damning of Detective Chief Inspector Fox, saying he was not a credible witness and that there was no evidence to show senior police ever tried to stop child abuse offences from being properly investigated.

But Pat Feenan, whose son was abused by Father James Fletcher, says they will always be thankful to Peter Fox.

“Personally I have found Peter Fox to be very credible,” she said.

“On our journey we have found Peter Fox to be a man of great integrity and that stays with our family.”

Ms Feenan says she was concerned by the limited terms of reference of the Special Commission and hopes the Royal Commission delves far deeper.

“It’s been a long time coming and it was a thorough investigation and a good look at the issues.

“I am concerned that the terms of reference were very limited and specific and I hope that some of the broader issues can be looked at in the Royal Commission that weren’t looked at in the Special Commission of Inquiry.”

One of the Hunter Valley victims of paedophile priest James Fletcher says he doesn’t believe the Catholic Church can ever recover from the damning findings from the Special Commission Of Inquiry.

The report is damning of the Catholic church’s handling of two now-dead paedophile priests Denis McAlinden and James Fletcher.

It described the actions of Bishop Leo Clarke, the head of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese for 20 years, as inexcusable.

Abuse victim Peter Gogarty says many people will never again trust the church to protect their children in Catholic schools or churches.

“That whole notion that these people are closer to God and by virtue of that they are to be trusted unconditionally, I think will never ever recover from this,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone that sends their children to a Catholic school or sends their kids off to church to be an altar boy or whatever, I don’t think any of those people will ever take the church’s word that their children are safe.”

Mr Gogarty says the report is confirmation that the Catholic hierarchy cannot be trusted to protect children.

“The Catholic Church trotting out the line that it knew nothing about paedophile priests in its ranks just doesn’t ring true.

“I feel much much better, like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulder.”

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.