Archbishop Philip Wilson is meant to be a trusted member of society.
We are supposed to look to ‘leaders’ like him for support in times of need.
Archbishop Philip Wilson is no role model. Far from it.
Wilson is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official charged with concealing child sex abuse in Australia.
He knew children were being molested at the hands of priests in his Catholic Church, and armed with the knowledge of these horrendous crimes, he chose to protect the criminal sexual abuser. He chose not to report the information to the authorities. He chose to do nothing.
Wilson was ordained a priest in 1974 for the parish of East Maitland.
Wilson first learned of child sex crimes perpetrated by a local priest in the Hunter region In 1976. Wilson failed to contact the police and took no action.
A 15-year-old boy allegedly told Wilson he had been sexually assaulted by his local priest, Jim Fletcher, which Wilson wholeheartedly denied.
“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,” Wilson told The Guardian.
“From the time this was first brought to my attention last year, I have completely denied the allegation.”
In 2004, Fletcher was sentenced to jail. He died in prison two years later.
At least five victims of Fletcher’s child sexual abuse crimes were molested for several months – for some, even years.
Failing to report a crime is a serious offence.
The catastrophic consequences of Wilson’s silence are immeasurable.
Wilson kept Fletcher’s terrible secret for decades and inflicted more irreparable trauma on the victims who reached out to him in a time of desperate need.
Wilson was charged by New South Wales authorities in 2015 for his role in enabling paedophilia to continue within the Catholic Church. In May 2018, Wilson found guilty of concealing child sexual abuse and was sentenced to 12 months detention for his crimes.
Jim Fletcher was made to pay for his crimes.
Now, Wilson will pay for keeping them a secret.
Enablers allow sexual abuse to continue for their own selfish reasons and inflict emotional damage on the victims of evil men.
That’s why you have to speak out. Now is the time to share your story and capitalise on the momentum we developed during the Royal Commission.
Image source: The Guardian