A graceful day for His Grace
Plan to keep track for sex offenders
A Brisbane bishop has proposed that Church workers convicted of sex crimes be monitored by the archdiocese when they leave jail and re-enter the community.
The monitoring would involve formal, ongoing face-to-face meetings, said Bishop John Gerry. “It would ask them how they are travelling and what they are involved in,’’ he said.
The bishop’s proposal, reported in the Courier-Mail newspaper, follows revelations that convicted priests were occupying sensitive roles without any supervision or ongoing monitoring from the Church.
Bishop Gerry, who oversees the way the Church handles sex abuse allegations, will submit his proposal to the next meeting of the church’s professional standards resource group.
Bishop Gerry said the resource group had discussed such a program but had not taken it forward. “We did have it set down last year but we haven’t put it into practice because there didn’t seem to be any urgency at the time,’’ he said.
In the meantime, a paedophile priest has quit as a “companion’’ in a spiritual retreat run at the Bethel Community Centre on the Gold Coast after an article in the Courier-Mail.
The priest, convicted on 17 counts of indecent dealing, had been conducting meetings with retreat participants – some of whom were abuse victims.
The retreats were being co-ordinated by Sr Julie O’Gorman from the Sisters of St Joseph’s.
Sr Margaret Robertson, provincial leader of the order, said the priest had quit after talks with Sr Julie and a psychiatrist.