A defendant in the Armidale District Court recently plead not guilty to 139 charges of sexual offences against children, according to reports. The man is a former Catholic priest who is alleged to have committed his crimes while serving as a representative of the church between the 1960s and the 1990s.
The case is just one of many in recent years which have seen complainants bring large amounts of sexual assault charges against individuals who committed their crimes across the span of decades while under the watch of an ostensibly trustworthy organisation, in this case, the Catholic Church.
Background of the case
The defendant, who is now 82 years old, plead not guilty to all charges. Per the many complainants, the crimes that the individual is alleged to have committed took place across a wide variety of locales, including Armidale, Guyra, Moree, and Sydney. The defendant served as a priest in most of those areas.
One news source noted that it took more than an hour for the judge to read out every individual complaint.
The defendant first left the church in the mid-1990s after pleading guilty to different but similar allegations, according to one news report. The latest case against him was brought to the court system last year, and the defendant was originally denied bail by a NSW Supreme Court judge when first arrested for the charges. However, he was later granted a conditional bail in April after his doctor reported that he likely had less than 12 months left to live.
The case is currently scheduled to return to the courts sometime in February.
Can victims receive compensation for sexual abuses suffered while under the care of large organisations, like the church?
Absolutely and, thankfully, laws are progressing constantly in order to allow survivors of sexual abuse to achieve justice and receive compensation for crimes committed against them, even if those crimes occurred many decades in the past. That is exemplified by the case described above, which concerns allegations regarding abuses that in some cases happened more than 50 years ago.
If you were a victim of sexual abuse, you too can pursue justice and compensation for the crime, no matter how long ago it took place and no matter how imposing the task may seem. For more information, as well as a consultation on your options for legal action, speak with the legal specialists and consultants at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.