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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Australian archbishop, convicted of abuse cover-up, stepping aside for now

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, who faces a maximum penalty of two years in jail for failing to inform police about child sexual abuse allegations, said he will stand aside from his duties as archbishop while he considers how to proceed legally.

In a statement on 23rd May, the archbishop said he was arranging for management of archdiocesan affairs and would step aside as of 25th May.

“If at any point in time it becomes necessary or appropriate for me to take more formal steps, including by resigning as archbishop, then I will do so,” Archbishop Wilson said.

“In the meantime, while the remainder of the legal process runs its course, I want to assure the Catholic faithful in the archdiocese of my continued prayers and best wishes and assure everyone that the affairs of the archdiocese will be appropriately managed in my absence.”

The local court in Newcastle found that, in 1976, then-Fr Wilson had been told by a 15-year-old boy that he had been indecently assaulted by a priest who later died in prison, but that Fr Wilson chose not to go to the authorities despite believing the allegations were true.

Picture: Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, Australia, leaves the Newcastle Local Court on 22nd May. Archbishop Wilson, who was convicted of covering up clergy sexual abuse, says he will consult his lawyer before he decides next steps. (CNS/Peter Lorimer, EPA).