Second former priest charged over abuse cover-up

ABC News, Australia/January 4, 2013

A retired New South Wales Hunter Valley Catholic priest has become the second Australian person to be charged with covering up child sex offences committed by another man.

The 81-year-old was charged by a dedicated clergy abuse police taskforce at Charlestown Police Station in Newcastle this morning.

He is charged with concealing a serious crime relating to child sex offences allegedly committed by another Hunter Valley man between 1982 and 1984.

Police say a nine-year-old victim was abused at a premise in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, and at a beach at Newcastle.

The priest worked in Hunter Valley parishes between the 1970s and 1990s.

The man is not the first Hunter Valley Catholic priest to be charged with concealing child sex crimes.

Last year, Father Tom Brennan was in the same situation relating to his alleged cover-up of crimes of another Hunter priest in the 1970s.

But Brennan died of cancer before his matter was dealt with by the courts.

The former priest arrested this morning was granted conditional bail to appear in court at the end of the month.

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