The Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, has vowed to clear his name after being charged by NSW police with concealing a serious offence regarding clerical child sexual abuse in the Hunter region nearly 30 years ago.
In a statement released yesterday, Archbishop Wilson said: “I am disappointed to have been notified by the NSW Police that it has decided to file a charge in respect of this matter.
"The suggestion appears to be that I failed to bring to the attention of police a conversation I am alleged to have had in 1976, when I was a junior priest, that a now-deceased priest had abused a child.
"From the time this was first brought to my attention last year, I have completely denied the allegation. I intend to vigorously defend my innocence through the judicial system.
"I am unable to make any further comment at this stage, but I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to dealing proactively with the issue of child sexual abuse and the implementation of best-practice child protection measures which I have pioneered since becoming a bishop."
The President of the ACBC, Archbishop Denis Hart, said in a statement yesterday: "The presumption of innocence applies to Archbishop Wilson as it does to all citizens subject to criminal charges before the court. I urge people not to make any judgement until the charge against Archbishop Wilson has been dealt with by the court."
Archbishop Philip Wilson: I didn’t hide child sex abuse (The Australian)
Prelate could face two years jail over charges of concealing sex abuse (The Daily Telegraph)