WA abuse victims come forward

Four Western Australian men have come forward alleging abuse by Bunbury diocese priests during the 1960's and 1970's.

The ABC's PM program reports the men say they have spent most of their lives feeling isolated by their childhood trauma. Even now three of them say they are afraid to be named.

Victim Alan Rowe brought the others together after he went public three years ago, PM says.

What the vicitims have in common is having known Fr Kevin Johnston and Fr Bertram Adderley, two priests who worked alongside each other in several parishes.

PM quoted Mr Rowe as saying Fr Johnston abused him while he was an altar boy at Bunbury's St Patrick's Cathedral in the 1970's.

Fr Johnston, who now lives in Ireland, wrote to Mr Rowe asking for forgiveness.

But the Church denies that it is an admission of any criminal behaviour, angering Mr Rowe. 

In a written statement Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan says that "Fr Johnston has strenuously denied on more than one occasion any abuse or improper action against either complainant."

"Regarding the letter of apology, Father Johnston has advised on more than one occasion that this letter, written without a specific context, was not an apology for any action of abuse. I advised each claimant to go to the police with any allegations and any evidence they feel they have.," Bishop Holohan wrote.

SOURCE

Four new Catholic abuse victims come forward (ABC PM, 13/8/08)

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