ALMOST 18 years ago former police officer and Nationals MP Troy Grant charged paedophile priest Vince Ryan, and formally interviewed the priest who ‘‘decided to say nothing’’ about Ryan’s offending.
Ryan was convicted and sent to jail for 14 years.
Monsignor Patrick Cotter, who declined to answer questions many times during his interview with Mr Grant, was not charged with concealing Ryan’s crimes despite police recommending that this should have happened.
It is the legacy of his police years that causes Mr Grant the most heartache.
‘‘My failure to have Cotter and a couple of nuns held to account for their roles in Ryan’s ability to keep offending over many years still troubles me,’’ he said yesterday, after speaking strongly about the Catholic church’s inability to deal with its sex abuse crisis.
‘‘In hindsight, and with more experience, could I have done better? Should I have?’’
Mr Grant said it was time for leaders of the Catholic church in Australia to ‘‘fall on their swords and do the right thing’’ after years of failing to acknowledge the systemic problems that supported paedophile priests.
Asked about a royal commission, Mr Grant said the NSW Government would be watching the Victorian parliamentary inquiry to ‘‘give clear guidelines of what’s needed next’’.
He said the church preached sections of the gospel about the ‘‘preciousness of children’’ but ‘‘they don’t respond commensurately as an organisation’’.
Mr Grant said he respected the church’s position on the sanctity of the confessional, but it had ‘‘no right to privilege in circumstances where information about offences comes by complaint’’.
‘‘They have to stop being the judge themselves of what happens when people come forward to report abuse,’’ he said.
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