Mark Oberhardt. The Courier - Mail. Brisbane, Qld.:Nov 1, 2006. p. 27
AN Anglican priest used a pretext of composing music for a new church liturgy
to cover his sexual relationship with a schoolboy, a court heard yesterday.
For more than two years, Robert Francis Sharwood was able to meet with the
teenage boy, a parishioner, through their shared interest in music.
In the District Court in Brisbane, Sharwood, now 62, pleaded not guilty to
indecent assault, carnal knowledge against the order of nature, permitting
carnal knowledge against the order of nature, and gross indecency.
However, before evidence was called, Judge Fleur Kingham told the jury Sharwood
had on an earlier occasion pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault
involving the same complainant.
In his opening address to the jury, prosecutor Ron Swanwick said that from 1972
to 1976, Sharwood was the assistant curate at St Matthew's Anglican Church at
Sherwood, which took in Jindalee where the boy lived.
He said that from 1974 to 1976, Sharwood had a sexual relationship with the
Mr Swanwick said the complainant, aged 13 to 15 years at the time and now 46,
believed he and Sharwood had sex two to four times a week.
But the victim could particularise 12 of the offences because he could relate
them to certain dates such as the Brisbane floods or concerts.
Mr Swanwick said that after Sharwood went to Sydney in 1976, he kept
in contact with thecomplainant.
In 1976, the complainant's father intercepted a letter which indicated there
was a sexual relationship and it was taken to Anglican Church authorities who
counselled Sharwood and later absolved him.
for a listing of alternate locations.