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