South Australia’s highest ranking Catholic official was convicted by a judge May 22, 2018 for covering up sexual abuse of altar boys in the 1970s. Magistrate Robert Stone of the Newcastle Local Court handed down the guilty verdict of Philip Wilson.
The judge found the testimony of a former altar boy who had been abused very compelling along with the evidence presented to back him up. The archbishop’s legal team tried several times to get the charges thrown out because of his Alzheimer’s which they claimed made it impossible to verify whether or not the former altar boy had reported the abuse to Wilson. However, the judge didn’t buy that defense.
Prosecutors, according to the judge, met their burden of proof by showing Wilson was aware of the actions of the late Jim Fletcher between 2004 and 2006 when Fletcher faced charges of child sex abuse, was subsequently convicted, and eventually died in jail. The archbishop’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 19. It is anticipated he will appeal his guilty verdict. Questions remain as to whether he will be forced to step down from his official duties for the Catholic Church, given the fact that Pope Francis has strongly defended Wilson. The maximum sentence for his crime is two years in jail.
The late ex-priest Alberto Rivera, who made it his life’s work to expose the Vatican’s dark side, claimed that the Roman Catholic Church is not really interested in reforming the sexual abuse and homosexuality because they believe they are acceptable practices for their pagan system masquerading as Christianity. He also gave an account of how he was sexually assaulted by a fellow student when he was a young priest-in-training and was reprimanded by a priest for fighting the boy off and not accepting the other boy’s “act of love.”