And About Time Too17 March 2015
If I know or suspect that someone has committed a crime and I give assistance to that person to avoid prosecution, I’m guilty of a criminal offence. It used to be called “being an accessory after the fact” (not sure whether that’s still the term).
Day after day in Australia we have watched the proceedings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse and heard evidence from senior members of various churches as they tried to explain their way out of their actions. The most common course of action was to move the priest to a different parish (and we heard evidence that their behaviour often continued in their new environment.) Occasionally they were even moved to a new country.
And day after day, I’ve shouted at the television screen. They KNEW that an offence had been committed and they either turned a blind eye or chose to help cover up the crime.
But today I hope is the beginning of a new era. The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide has been charged with concealing child sexual abuse – apparently the most senior member of the church to face these charges.
Let’s hope that charges will now be forthcoming of the other priests, bishops, Salvation Army officers and head-teachers who have also, on their own admission most of the time, committed this offence.