Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson pleads not guilty to concealment of child sex abuse charges

9 News, Australia/May 7, 2015

Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson has pleaded not guilty to charges of concealing child sex abuse.

The charges relate to abuse allegedly committed by fellow priest Jim Fletcher when the pair worked at NSW’s Maitland Diocese in the 1970s.

Court documents reveal the concealment charges involve the case of a 10-year-old boy allegedly abused in 1971.

Fletcher was convicted of nine sexual abuse charges in 2006.

He died shortly after being sentenced to at least seven and a half years for his crimes.

Archbishop Wilson did not appear in court today.

He was first charged in March and at the time said he would fight the accusations.

“From the time this was first brought to my attention last year, I have denied the allegation," he said in a statement.

"I am unable to make any further comment at this stage... but I intend to vigorously defend my innocence."

It is believed he is the highest ranking Catholic official to ever be charged with offences relating to child sex abuse.

The NSW Police Force established Strike Force Lantle in 2010 to investigate allegations of concealment of child abuse by clergy "formerly and currently attached to the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese of the Catholic Church".

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