The former head of the Catholic Church's child protection unit says she uncovered evidence about a Hunter Valley paedophile priest after being given access to the Church's archives, reports the ABC.
Helen Keevers was the manager of Zimmerman House, which was set up to make it easier for abuse victims to come forward. She has given evidence at the Special Commission of Inquiry into matters relating to the Police investigation of certain child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
She told the Special Commission it 'was not particularly respectful but the priests' confidential files were called the bad files.'
Ms Keevers said the former Bishop, Michael Malone, made it clear she could have access to any relevant documents she wanted, and he wrote a letter to Strike Force detectives stating they did not need a warrant and were welcome in the diocese at any time.
She said it was when she started digging in the diocesan archives that she found 'much more information and further evidence' against priests. She described former priest Denis McAlinden's files as 'three or four inches thick.'
Helen Keevers said during her four years as manager of Zimmerman House, her team investigated seven members of clergy, four of which resulted in criminal prosecution. She said police were given complete access to diocesan files, but once the unit was established her team were forever 'playing catch-up' as they were 'inundated with complaints.'
Church inundated with abuse complaints (The Courier-Mail)