A former Catholic school principal believed to be the first to plead guilty to concealing child sexual abuse in Australia has escaped jail despite a judge acknowledging his inaction contributed to “terrible consequences”. Source: ABC News.
William Wade admitted to failing to provide information to police during a 2014 investigation into abuse at Marist schools in the 1970s.
Wade's roles at Marist Brothers schools included headmaster in Canberra, Hamilton, Newcastle, and Kogarah, in Sydney, alongside convicted child sexual offenders Darcy O'Sullivan, known as Brother Dominic, and Francis Cable, known as Brother Romuald.
Wade, who was known as Brother Christopher, had previously been convicted and jailed for child sexual abuse.
The 84-year-old was charged under section 316 of the Crimes Act, which from 1990 made it an offence to conceal a serious indictable offence, punishable by up to two years in jail.
Acting judge Michael Adams at Sydney's Downing Centre court yesterday said Wade must be sentenced on the basis of his criminality at the time of the charges - 2014 - rather than when the complaints were made.
The judge said Wade’s silence had contributed to “terrible consequences” for the students but he was not being punished for what he “omitted to do at that time”.
Instead, Wade was charged with failing to disclose the complaints to police when he was interviewed in 2014.
In 2017, Wade was sentenced to 18 months in jail for abusing two boys — one at Hamilton in 1976 and another at Kogarah four years later.
Wade was yesterday sentenced to four months imprisonment, to be served in the community.