Former bishop destroyed letter relating to abusive priest

Bishop destroyed letter

A former Bishop of Parramatta has told the Royal Commission he destroyed documents relating to potential legal action against a paedophile priest. Fairfax Media has the story.

Former Bishop of Parramatta Bede Heather yesterday told The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he destroyed documents because he was traumatised by a police search of his office as part of an earlier investigation into sexual abuse by clergy.

The inquiry heard Bishop Heather advised his lawyers of his actions in a 1996 letter.

"Following the police raid on our offices, shortly afterwards I took the precaution of destroying all papers of mine which could have been to the disadvantage of persons with whom I deal," he wrote in the letter which was partly read out before the Commission.

In evidence, Bishop Heather admitted he destroyed material which might contain information about crimes committed by clergy.

"You've destroyed documents that might say something which could be adverse to an individual?" Commission chairman Peter McClellan asked.

FULL COVERAGE

Bishop Bede Heather 'destroyed' documents: Royal Commission (Fairfax Media)

Bishop Bede Heather destroyed abuse papers (The Australian)

NSW bishop destroyed sex abuse letter (AAP/Nine News)

Church took two years to de-frock paedophile priest John Joseph Farrell (ABC)

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