A 79-year-old Catholic priest has been jailed for three years for sexually abusing two young girls in Perth decades ago, reports the ABC.
Patrick Holmes pleaded guilty to six child sex charges, which were laid against him earlier this year. The first three offences were committed in 1969 when Holmes was the parish priest at Holy Name Church in Carlisle. The offences were committed toward a victim in the presbytery.
The last three offences happened in the early 1980s, in the presbytery of the Saint Aloysius Church in Shenton Park where Holmes was again the parish priest.
The District Court was told both victims used to regularly visit Holmes and he would give them gifts, including money. The court heard the offences against the second victim were committed in full view of the presbytery's caretaker.
It was revealed the first victim told the Church what had happened to her in 2000, and Holmes wrote her a letter of apology. He was then removed from the parish. The woman reported the matter to police in January this year.
In a statement, the Archbishop of Perth, Timothy Costelloe, said justice had been done. 'Our thoughts today are with the two women who showed such courage in coming forward to police to tell their stories of how they suffered as a result of Father Holmes’ deplorable actions more than 30 years ago.
'Today, justice has been done as a result of their honesty and tenacity. The Catholic Church across Perth is wholly committed to confronting with openness and honesty the failures of the past and to cooperating fully with police, as it has done in this case, in all matters relating to child sexual abuse.'
RELEASE BY ARCHBISHOP COSTELLOE