Claims priests used guns, dogs in sex abuse

Some Catholic priests have used guns, knives and dogs in their sexual assaults on children and women, an inquiry has heard.

Victoria's parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse heard stunning evidence on Monday, including claims of bestiality, hospital chaplains raping patients, student priests being sexually assaulted in the seminary, a priest carrying a gun around a school playground and boys on altar boy camp being assaulted for a week by seminarians in charge of the camp.

Helen Last, the director of advocacy group In Good Faith, says abuse victims have told stories of priests keeping guns and knives in their presbytery, while one told her that some clergy "introduced dogs into assaults of children".

Ms Last told the inquiry the Catholic Church took 15 years to deal with priest Peter Searson, now deceased, who was accused of carrying a gun with him in the playground in the mid 1990s, while another priest kept a pistol in his glovebox.

She also spoke of an incident in which a Catholic hospital chaplain assaulted a married woman in her bed immediately after she had been admitted for mental health care and then raped her in his quarters before sending her back to the ward.

"These are just the worst examples of the terrorisations," she told the Family and Community Development Committee.

"There are hundreds and hundreds we can access."

One priest who assaulted a woman at knifepoint told her he would "rearrange her face" if she told anyone, Ms Last said.

She said none of the allegations had been taken to police.

The claim of the woman raped in hospital had been managed by the Melbourne Archdiocese but no report had ever been made to the hospital authorities.

"We have three examples of assaults in hospitals by different priests, all in the role of chaplains," she said.

"These women have had the most shocking time in the last seven to 10 years trying to get the Melbourne Archdiocese to respond appropriately to these assaults."

She said clerical abuse continued to this day and her group had been inundated with allegations from victims in recent weeks.

But still the Catholic church had no mental health policy, she said, and adhered to an ancient secretive and hierarchical structure that "no rational person lives now."

Victims are afraid to complain because of public humiliation, a "fear of an angry punishing God" and because the church's Melbourne Response process only added to the trauma.

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
MTFDunedinFinance Companies
Medlicotts LawyersDunedinLawyers
Richard Hendry Builders LtdDunedinBuilders
Swordfox DesignQueenstownWeb Design & Development