The Catholic Church has a terrible past of crime, lies, and child sexual abuse.
Thousands of lives have been ruined by paedophile priests, stealing the innocence of children and leaving them – broken – to pick up the pieces. Most of these children are brushed aside, ignored, or threatened when they try to report abuse.
The victims of these evil men are forced to live out their lives in physical and emotional agony while their abusers walk free.
One of the most prolific paedophile priests to go unpunished for his crimes in Australia was Monsignor John Day.
He received more than 100 complaints in the Towards Healing program, an organisation set up to deal with allegations of abuse in the church.
Ex-detective, Denis Ryan, collected 16 sworn statements from 14 boys and two girls from Mildura detailing how the Monsignor had committed sexual crimes against them in the 1960s. The offences included buggery, attempted buggery, indecent assault, and gross indecency.
Monsignor Day walked free, moving from parish to parish throughout his career, and died, unpunished, in 1978. The Victorian Police avoided charging the Monsignor at all costs.
Monsignor John Day graduated from Corpus Christi College in 1927. He was assigned to his first parish – Colac, near Geelong – in 1936 after serving as a priest in Ballarat East.
After Colac, he was sent to Ararat, then Horsham, Beech Forest, and Apollo Bay before being dispatched to Mildura in 1957 where he became Monsignor.
In 1971, Mr John Howden, deputy headmaster at St Joseph’s College, Mildura, notified Detective Ryan that a 12-year-old female student had been fondled by Monsignor Day.
Ryan started investigating Day. In the end, 14 male victims testified to police that the Monsignor had driven them from Mildura to Melbourne where he molested them in his car, in his sister’s house, and in motels. Two female victims also testified.
Ryan’s investigation was opposed by the head of the unit, Detective Sergeant James Barritt, who was a friend of Monsignor Day. He ordered Ryan to drop the investigation.
Detective Ryan and Headmaster Howden were ostracised by fellow parishioners for speaking out against Monsignor Day.
In 1972, Detective Ryan was ordered to move to Melbourne. Ryan needed to stay in Mildura for his family, so he was forced to resign from the police force, giving up his superannuation entitlements and his career.
Monsignor Day was rewarded with an appointment at the rural Timboon parish, near Warrnambool in Victoria, where he remained until he died in 1978.
In 1993, a victim wrote to Bishop Robert Mulkearns about Monsignor Day, questioning how he was allowed to continue working in the church after so many children testified against him.
“The Church is bigger and more important than the activities of one or another Church member, even should that member be or have been in the past a priest,” Mulkearns said.
“The Church is made up of both saints and sinners.”
This kind of disgusting behaviour can’t be allowed to continue. Countless paedophiles have been allowed to walk free without punishment and have even been protected by the authorities. Other priests have disregarded the pleas for help from victims of abuse.
Monsignor John Day died without ever being punished for his crimes. His victims never achieved justice. Don’t let this happen to you.
If you have been abused by a member of the church, please fill out our claimant information form. We want to help put these monsters behind bars.