Pedophile priest arrested on arrival

The Age (Australia)/June 25, 2004

Police today arrested pedophile priest Frank Klep as he arrived back in Melbourne after being deported from Samoa yesterday.

Father Frank Klep, who is a senior financial officer with the Moamoa Theological College in Samoa, is wanted in Victoria over five indecent assault charges against boys dating back to 1973.

A police spokesman said Klep was arrested at Melbourne airport early this morning and would appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court today in relation to the five indecent assault charges and a failing to appear on summons charge.

He was deported from Samoa for failing to reveal a 1994 conviction on four counts of sexually assaulting students at the Salesian College at Sunbury, north of Melbourne, for which he served nine months of community service.

Klep was sent to the Samoan Mission four years later, despite having been charged by Victoria Police with additional sex offences.

The Melbourne-based Australasian province leader of the Salesians of Don Bosco today said Klep had been removed from ministry directly dealing with children as a result of previous convictions.

Father Ian Murdoch said Klep had taken the decision to return to Australia and defend himself against the charges.

"Father Klep has taken the decision to return to defend himself against the charges and both he and the Salesian Order will co-operate fully with any police investigation into allegations against him," he said in a statement.

"The protection of young people in our care lies at the core of our mission and every step is taken and will continue to be taken to ensure such protection occurs.

"The Salesians were not aware of details of complaints against Father Klep which were taken to the police until they were reported in the media this week.

"I am not aware of the police having ever informed the Salesian order of any outstanding warrants for Father Klep."

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