Archbishop prefers prison over breaking confessional seal

Melbourne Archbishop says prison time preferable to breaking the seal of confession 

Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli has claimed three years imprisonment would be preferable to a priest breaking the seal of confession and reporting child sexual abuse to police.

New laws were introduced in August which make religious ministers mandatory reporters of abuse suspicions alongside police, teachers, medical practitioners and early childhood workers.

Priests could face jail time for concealing child sexual abuse revealed in confession.

Archbishop Comensoli spoke to ABC Radio in Victoria mid-August regarding the new laws. 

I hold the principle of mandatory reporting… and I also hold onto the principle of the seal of confession,” Archbishop Comensoli said.

“My own position is that I don’t see that as mutually exclusive.”

The Archbishop said he would ask a child abuser to discuss the crimes outside the confessional box. However, if the abuser refused, he would “keep the seal”

Catholic Archbishops in the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia have also vowed to reject the laws.

Victoria’s Liberal-National opposition has indicated it would back a law mandating priests report child abuse allegations. Crossbench MP Fiona Patten welcomed the government’s move.

I think that Jesus would mandatory report,” Fiona said.

23-year-old Sydney man faces 65 child sexual abuse charges over “sextortion” of teen

A 23-year-old man from the Northern Beaches will be charged with 65 offences relating to the alleged sexual exploitation of another 35 child victims.

Kurtis Whaley was arrested earlier this year after he lied about his age and identity online to elicit sexually explicit photos from a 16-year-old teenager. 

When the girl refused to send more photos, Whaley threatened to share the photos with her friends and family members. This prompted the teenager to tell her family and report Whaley to the police.

The 65 charges include both soliciting and transmitting child pornography. 

He is due to face court on Wednesday 4th September 2019.

Whaley has already been charged with using a carriage service to groom a person under 16-years-old for sexual activity, soliciting child pornography and using a carriage service to transmit child pornography, threaten serious harm and procure sexual activity with a person under 16-years-old.

Family Court reporter charged for sexually abusing three children

A psychologist appointed by the Family Court to assist in custody disputes involving allegations of child sexual abuse has been charged with sexually abusing three children.

The alleged paedophile was tasked with making recommendations in cases where one parent has accused the other of sexual abuse.

The child abuse allegations could overturn court rulings which involved the psychologist’s recommendations.

One mother was sent to the psychologist in 2013 after she accused her husband of abusing their three-year-old daughter. She said the psychologist made her feel uncomfortable and implied her husband abused their daughter because she was not meeting his sexual needs.

“He was kind of overly physical with me. He kept touching my arm and my leg. It made me feel creeped out,” the mother said.

“He said weird things. He kept telling me that he knew about real paedophiles and that they would show up on [psychometric] tests.”

He was absolutely adamant that he would be able to tell a real paedophile. And I just was like ‘well what do you mean by a real paedophile?‘.”

In another case, the psychologist recommended an abused child continued to live with their abusive father because he “found no significant evidence” the abuse had occurred.

The alleged paedophile remains on bail until court proceedings in October 2019.

Image: Unsplash

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