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  Home :: 2006 November :: Further complaints against jailed priest examined,22049,20746316-5005941,00.html

November 13, 2006 12:00

QUEENSLAND police are investigating two further complaintsagainst a former Anglican priest who was jailed last week for 12 monthsfor sexual assault of a boy.

Robert Francis Sharwood, 62, was sentenced to jail after a jury inthe Brisbane District Court found him guilty of sodomy, allowing sodomyand sexual assault involving a boy between 1974 and 1976.

Yesterday, the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, Dr Philip Aspinall, confirmed two other complaints were being investigated.

"There are two more complainants in the matter and those matters are in the hands of police," Dr Aspinall said.

"I can't say anything about where they are from."

The new complaints emerged as Dr Aspinall came under fire over aletter he received from an Anglican priest in 2002 about anotherincident involving Sharwood in the 1970s.

The letter - from Canon Thomas Hood, reported in The WeekendAustralian yesterday, as were the two new complaints - said Sharwoodhad apologised to the parents of the victim in the incident.

The victim told the newspaper he should have been told about theletter and the fact that both his parents had known of the "abuse".

Had he known, he said, he could have succeeded in legal action overthe incident, because his mother, who has since died, could have givenevidence.

Dr Aspinall said yesterday he had been unaware the victim had not known his parents knew of the abuse.

"I had no way of knowing that the victim didn't know that, and I hadno way of knowing that it would have meant so much to the victim tohave known that," Dr Aspinall said.

"If I had any inkling of those things at the time, then I'm sure I would have made the letter available."

Dr Aspinall said the church had dealt with the letter in accordancewith advice from the police, to file it and provide it to them onrequest.

He said the actual abuse allegation was reported to police sixmonths before receiving the letter and the church had co-operated withthe victim's solicitors.

As soon as the church had become aware of the abuse allegations, inearly 2002, the victim had been provided with counselling, policealerted and the priest stood aside, Dr Aspinall said.


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia