PAEDOPHILE priest Denis McAlinden offered to hand himself into police if senior clergy saw fit, but none of them did.
The chilling offer came in a letter penned by McAlinden to then Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone in 1995.
The letter was tendered to the Special Commission of Inquiry in Newcastle Friday, and later released to the Newcastle Herald.
To read the letter, click here.
It follows the release of numerous other letters which suggest that senior Hunter clergy not only knew of McAlinden's offending, they failed to alert police.
The December 8 letter was penned by McAlinden in Western Australia as he sought to save himself from church moves to strip him of his priestly duties.
In it, he says he has been freed from his sins of the past through his confessions and prayers which had cured his tendencies towards children.
He cites occasions where he had been in contact with children "but never for a moment was there a thought or inclination to do anything wrong with them".
Of his past failures, he wrote: "I have seen in these failures the fact that I allowed my spiritual life to become weakened."
McAlinden said he knew of other priests who had repented similar sins, but had been allowed to continue their roles within the church.
"While I admit my failures in the past regarding Canon 277, I know of other repentant priests and even a few bishops who are serving as active ministers in the church," he wrote.
The letter also reveals that when he travelled to Papua New Guinea to escape rumblings within the church about his activities in the Hunter, he was offered a position as chaplain at a college which housed 7500 young pupils. He declined the offer, "explaining my situation and past history to the good bishop".
Responding to claims that several of his victims were threatening to go to the police, McAlinden told Bishop Malone: ". . . indeed, if you would advise it, I'd be prepared to go to the police myself. There may even be work to be carried out in prison," he said by letter.
The inquiry is yet to hear from Bishop Malone as to why he didn't take the allegations to police. He was scheduled to appear before the inquiry yesterday but his appearance has been postponed until at least Tuesday.
Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox spent his fourth day in the stand before the inquiry yesterday, under at times heavy cross-examination from barristers representing the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese and police.
Pat Saidi, acting for several senior police officers, questioned Mr Fox about contradictions in his evidence provided to the commission on at least four occasions, but Mr Fox maintained that his evidence had not changed.
Mr Fox was also asked about allegations he made during an interview on ABC Television's Lateline program in which he said he was taken off his church investigation by senior police.
Yesterday, he repeated earlier evidence that Superintendent Max Mitchell had called him off the investigation, but not from Strike Force Lantle in which he served no role.
The inquiry will go behind closed doors on Monday for private hearings.
Public hearings will resume on Tuesday.