Hope that paedophile priest could be 'cured' was 'unrealistic'

Hunter hearings continue

A Maitland-Newcastle Diocesan official sent a priest who admitted to being attracted to young boys to a psychiatrist with the hope that he could be "cured," the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard on Friday. ABC Newcastle has the story.

The hearing in Newcastle is investigating abuse at the hands of Vincent Ryan, a Catholic priest who worked in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese for decades.

The hope of a cure would mean Ryan could return to being a "most effective priest," the Commission heard.

Ryan has spent 14 years behind bars for sexually abusing 35 boys over a period of 20 years and is awaiting sentencing on other charges.

The Commission heard the diocese was made aware of abuse allegations against Ryan in the mid-1970s and sent him for a psychiatric assessment in Melbourne in 1976.

The 1975 abuse of altar boys only came to the attention of police in 1995.

A former senior diocese official, Msgr Patrick Cotter, wrote to psychiatrist Peter Evans in 1976.

Dr Evans was questioned by the Commission on Friday about his session with Ryan.

He said he had only ever offered an "assessment" for Ryan, not treatment, and described the Church's hope that Ryan could be "cured" of paedophilia as "unrealistic."

He said he was well aware at the time that Ryan's actions with children were criminal but as the session was confidential, he relied on Ryan to be "the responsible person."

"I would have hoped that he would have gone back to the referring doctor and Msgr Cotter and said, 'I'm going to have treatment here in Maitland'," he told the Commission.

Dr Evans read from his notes of 40 years ago that described Ryan as an "isolated person" with few social relationships.

He said Ryan told him he was depressed and had a bad relationship with his parents but added "he's OK with children and gets on well with them."

"The current social issue at the time was that he regarded himself as a loner," Dr Evans read.

FULL STORY

Hunter Catholic diocese was hopeful paedophile priest could be 'cured', royal commission hears (ABC)

MEDIA RELEASE: Truth, Justice and Healing Council

UPDATE 111 - Royal Commission - Maitland Newcastle Hearing - Day 3

RELATED COVERAGE

Bishop questions Royal Commission's focus on Church (Newcastle Herald)

Paedophile priest seemed honest: doctor (AAP/Yahoo7)

Newcastle Bishop acknowledges 'shameful chapter' in Catholic Church history (ABC/PM)

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