Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson will be sentenced for covering up child sex crimes.  Picture: AAP Image/Darren Pateman
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson will be sentenced for covering up child sex crimes. Picture: AAP Image/Darren Pateman

Archbishop to learn fate in child sex allegations

THE most senior Catholic official in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex crimes is set to learn his fate in a regional NSW court.

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, 67, is expected to be sentenced in Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday after he was previously found guilty of failing to report to police the historical indecent assault of two altar boys.

The offence carries a maximum two-year jail term.

Abuse survivor Peter Creigh has said he wants Wilson locked up to send a message to religious leaders that institutional cover-ups will no longer be tolerated. Mr Creigh was repeatedly abused by paedophile priest James Fletcher in the Hunter region during the 1970s. The then-teenager went to Wilson for help, but he did nothing.

Wilson's defence barrister Ian Temby QC told a sentence hearing in June that his client may not survive jail if his diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's and "recurrent falls" worsened amid the risk of violence from other inmates.

He said Wilson had no prior convictions and was a person of previous good character "with particular reference to the general field of prevention of child sexual abuse".

Peter Gogarty, another victim of Fletcher, said Wilson's incarceration could open the floodgates around the world and empower more victims to speak up.

"There is much more at stake than just a slap on the wrist or some public embarrassment," he said.

"The deterrent effect of a custodial sentence will mean that children across the globe are safer."


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