Two priests, one convicted of sexual abuse, and another charged with 30 sex offences were, in the 1990s, allowed to continue ministering in the Melbourne archdiocese.
The discovery, reported in The Age, is the result of confidential documents obtained by the paper.
The Age reports that the documents show how senior church leaders continued to shield Fr Victor Rubeo from scrutiny after child sex abuse allegations about him were first reported to the archdiocese in 1994.
Rubeo was also allowed to continue preaching in Melbourne’s Boronia parish. Police or parishoners were not informed.
Further, file notes made in September 1994 by the then vicar-general of the Melbourne archdiocese, Gerald Cudmore, reveal he oversaw the appointment of Father Frank Klep, accused of child sex offences, as Rubeo’s spiritual director after Rubeo’s sex abuse had been reported.
Klep was convicted of indecent assault in December 1994, and despite his conviction continued to act as Rubeo’s spiritual adviser during 1995.
Rubeo, 78, died the day before he was due to face a committal hearing in Melbourne’s Magistrates Court after being charged with 30 new child sex offences.
On April 17, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu announced a year-long parliamentary enquiry into the handling of criminal abuse of children.
In response, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart undertook to co-operate with the enquiry.
“I reaffirm the Archdiocese’s position that we have nothing to hide from such an independent inquiry, and I am confident that any inquiry into the Archdiocese’s Melbourne Response process will confirm this,” Hart said in a statement.
“My clear, and often stated, preference is for allegations of criminal conduct to be investigated by Victoria Police and dealt with in the criminal courts.”
“The State, and not the Church, is best placed to deal with these matters.”
News category: World.