AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC LEADER ARRESTED FOR CHILD ABUSE - WAS NOT IN COUNTRY AT TIME!
[ Father Greg Cooney is leader of the Vincentian Order in Australia. When his priests were accused on ludicrous charges (involving Recovered Memory and Ritual Abuse) he followed the example set by the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland i.e. he apologised to the false accusers. He was then accused himself of child abuse himself and promptly arrested by the police who failed to make the most elementary checks; Father Cooney was out of the country at the time of the alleged crimes!
It is rather a pity that the leaders of the Sisters of Mercy who grovelled before Christine Buckley and the accusers of Nora Wall were not themselves accused of raping children. They might not be so keen to betray their own Sisters in future!
14 January 2009]
(A) St Stanislaus Catholic Leader Released Without Charge [Australia]
The Daily Telegraph (Australia), December 17, 2008, by Gemma Jones
THE leader of the Catholic order in control of St Stanislaus College in Bathurst [New South Wales] was yesterday released without charge after being arrested and questioned by police over a paedophile investigation.
Father Greg Cooney, 60, was freed pending further police inquiries but another priest who is still on the board of the school was charged with eight offences.
Father Phil Robson, 61, from the Vincentian order in Marsfield, was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, intent to have sexual intercourse with a child and three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
Current St Stanislaus principal John Edwards said the congregation would now decide upon Father Robson's future.
Mr Edwards said Father Cooney, who was a science teacher at the school from 1989 to 1992 and returned as chaplain for two years in the late 1990s, visited the college up to three times a year and "enjoyed a fine reputation at the school".
Father Cooney's lawyer Greg Walsh said the priest had been out of the country at the time of the alleged offences that police were investigating and that officers had made a grave error.
Police yesterday said allegations of sexual abuse, culminating in more than 100 charges, spanned almost three decades from 1963 to 1992.
There are 16 alleged victims, aged between 10 and 15 at the time of the offences, and more than 100 witness statements.
Two search warrants have been executed in country towns and computer equipment seized.
Father Robson and four other men facing charges are due to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on Friday.
(B) Discipline Master Charged
The Sydney Morning Herald, December 17, 2008
Jonathan Dart, Geesche Jacobsen and Andrew West
A FORMER director of discipline at an exclusive Catholic boarding school in Bathurst has been charged with child sexual offences, in a police investigation of events at St Stanislaus College spanning 30 years.
Police searched the homes of the two most senior Vincentian fathers in Australia at the order's provincial residence in Marsfield yesterday.
Father Phil Robson, 60, a board member, former teacher and director of discipline, was arrested on five charges, including aggravated sexual assault and indecent assaults.
Father Greg Cooney, 61, the head of the order in Australia and a former school chaplain, was also arrested and interviewed over eight alleged offences, but later released without charge pending further inquiries, police said.
Five former clergymen now have been charged over the alleged abuse of boys, most aged 10 to 15, at the school between 1963 and 1992. They face more than 130 charges relating to 16 alleged victims. Police have taken more than 100 statements from witnesses, said the commander of Strike Force Belle, which is investigating the alleged abuse.
"The investigation is probably one of the most significant investigations of its kind, due to the extended period and the nature of the offences," Superintendent Mick Goodwin said.
During the searches yesterday, police seized objects including a computer, books and two bags of other belongings.
Father Cooney, who has not been charged with any offences, served as the school chaplain in two stints and worked as a science teacher and boarding house supervisor. He was responsible for handling complaints of sexual assault levelled against the clergy.
In the case of St Stanislaus College, he acknowledged earlier this year that complaints first began to surface in 1992 and said that the Vincentians conducted "internal investigations" into the matter.
"We've always reported it to police when it's obviously of a criminal nature, yes, and you know we urged other complainants themselves to take the matter to the police," he told ABC radio in September.
His solicitor, Greg Walsh, said Father Cooney was released without charge yesterday because he was not in Australia in 1988 and 1989, at the time of the alleged offences. He criticised police and said it was disappointing his client had been arrested.
Mr Walsh also said that Robson will be contesting the charges. "He's been charged, he emphatically denies any wrongdoing, he's upset about the allegations and will strenuously defend himself," he said.
Last night, the Catholic Church's Sydney Archdiocese confirmed the Vincentians were co-operating with police, "and have been doing so since the start of the investigation".
A church spokeswoman said St Stanislaus, where the alleged offences took place, was not part of the Sydney Archdiocese, for which Cardinal George Pell is responsible, meaning the archdiocese's Professional Standards Office could not get involved.
The school's principal, John Edwards, said yesterday he could not comment. "I'm not aware of what has taken place … We haven't been told anything in detail," he said.
On Monday, the school's former assistant dormitory master, Rick McPhillamy, 47, was charged with two counts of indecent assaults relating to two events involving one student in 1985.
Robson is due to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court with other co-accused on Friday.
The Vincentians run Aboriginal missions, retirement villages and parishes throughout Australia and the Pacific.
This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/12/16/1229189622974.html