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  Home :: 2006 September :: Ballarat compensates US victims of another jailed priest


Ballarat compensates US victims of another jailed priest

The Victorian Diocese of Ballarat has made confidential compensationpayouts to at least two US victims of a former local priest who wasjailed on Friday for indecent assaults on teenagers in Western Victoria.

Melbourne's Herald-Sunreports that Paul David Ryan, 59, was sent to the US for counsellingand treatment because of concerns over his behaviour with otherstudents while still in training for the priesthood at Corpus Christiseminary.

He returned to Victoria after being exposed as apedophile in the US and, despite those offences, was appointed parishpriest at Penshurst in 1989.

Mr Ryan pleaded guilty inWarrnambool Magistrates' Court last week to five counts of indecentlyassaulting two teenage boys at Penshurst in 1989-90.

Magistrate Michael Stone sentenced him to 18 months' jail, with a minimum non-parole period of 12 months.

One of Mr Ryan's Victorian victims and the mother of a third - who later committed suicide - were in court.

Thethird victim was assaulted at Ararat after Mr Ryan resigned from hisposition at Penshurst in 1991, went to the US for more treatment andwas sent to the Ararat parish after he returned.

Two menassaulted by Mr Ryan in 1978-79 when he was a parish priest at VirginiaBeach, on the US east coast, said yesterday the Church was culpable.

MrRyan first struck trouble with Church authorities when he was asked toleave an Adelaide seminary where he started training but, despite theconcerns of Church leaders, was ordained at St Patrick's Cathedral inBallarat in 1976.

Prosecutor Sgt Sandra Skilton said Mr Ryanshowed one 16-year-old victim a videotape containing sex scenes fromvarious movies, made him take a bath with him and massaged andmasturbated him on several occasions.

Mr Ryan's lawyer, JulieSutherland, said he had turned his life around and deserved credit forhis "astonishingly frank record of interview", his early guilty pleaand the fact he was truly remorseful.

The mother of Peter Watson, the victim who died, Ms Helen Watson, told the Herald-Sunthat her son, then a student at Marian College, Ararat, was never thesame after arriving home after a night at the presbytery reeking ofalcohol.

Her son later told her Mr Ryan showed blue movies to boys at the presbytery and gave them alcohol.

Although Ms Watson this year received a written apology from Bishop Peter Connors of the Ballarat diocese, she told the Herald-Sun that she can neither forgive nor forget.

"I've been a practising Catholic all my life, but I have totally lost my faith.

"Ijust have utter disbelief that the hierarchy of the church couldactually send someone to another place knowing that he had thepotential to commit a crime."

US Bishops emphasise seminarian celibacy training

Meanwhile, the Washington Postreports that the US Bishops Conference has issued a new program fortraining seminarians that reflects the church's toughened policy onclergy sex abuse.

The updated Program of Priestly Formationputs greater emphasis on the emotional and spiritual development ofcandidates for the Catholic priesthood, including helping seminariansbetter prepare for a life of celibacy.

The program also spellsout that applicants with any record of sexually abusing minors will berejected. In addition, the 98-page document states that seminaries mustfollow the guidelines of the Vatican on applicants "with same-sexexperiences and/or inclinations."

The revised edition updates a 1992 program and has approval from the Vatican for five years.

LastNovember, the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education issued adocument designed to keep men with "deep-seated" same-sex attractionout of the priesthood.

Pedophile priest jailed (Herald-Sun 9/9/06)
How a pedophile priest destroyed a boy's life (Sun-Herald, 11/9/06)
Abuse-Prevention Training Approved (Washington Post/AP 9/9/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Ballarat
TFYQA - Stamp Out Clergy Abuse

New Church policy aims for abuse "never again" (CathNews, 4/9/06)
Ballarat Bishop accepts criticism in sex abuse case (CathNews, 15/8/06)
New controversies in sex abuse cases (CathNews, 14/8/06)
Former priest pleads guilty to 35 more charges (CathNews, 8/8/06)
More charges for jailed priest (CathNews, 8/7/05)
Prosecutors block child sex charges against ex-priest (CathNews, 17/8/04)
Pedophile priest may face more charges (CathNews, 14/12/04)

11 Sep 2006


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia