ARMIDALE Dumaresq Council will ask a former Catholic priest at the centre of a sex abuse scandal to step aside from his position on the sesquicentenary committee.
The man, known as Father F for legal reasons, is alleged to have confessed to sexually abusing five altar boys in the Armidale diocese during the 1980s.
The confession is alleged to have taken place during a 1992 meeting between Father F and three Catholic priests; Father Brian Lucas, Father John Usher and Father Wayne Peters, the current vicar-general of the Armidale
Father Usher and Father Lucas have denied that any such admission by Father F took place, but a letter sent by Father Peters to the then Bishop of Armidale, Kevin Manning, indicates a confession was made.
Father F was barred from working as a priest in 1992 but was not defrocked until 2005. He continues to live within the diocese.
After a Four Corners program exposed Father F’s background last week, Bishop of Armidale Michael Kennedy announced an independent investigation into the allegations.
Council general manager Shane Burns said Father F would be approached and asked to step aside from his position on the sesquicentenary committee while the investigation proceeds.
Father F’s position on the board of a community body will also come under review and will be discussed at the group’s next meeting.
Since Four Corners aired, it has also been revealed that Father F was sent to receive counselling in the 1980s from another cleric accused of abusing boys.
After initial allegations were made against him by the parents of a Moree boy, Father F was sent to Tweed Heads to stay with Father Paul Rex Brown.
Father Brown, who died in 2005, was himself accused of abusing a 14-year-old boy and was convicted of possessing child pornography in 1996.
The fresh revelations came as controversial broadcaster Derryn Hinch defied a court order and named the man live on Melbourne radio station 3AW on Monday afternoon.
Mr Hinch named Father F and provided details of his address and work, forcing management to cut the station’s online feed for legal reasons.
A transcript of Monday’s program contains a disclaimer stating “the man’s name has been omitted from this editorial, as he cannot be named in NSW for legal reasons”.
“He’s still living a good life untouched by his crimes,” Mr Hinch said.
“None of the church hierarchy thought this constituted criminal behaviour that should have been reported to police. They obviously still don’t.
“It’s a bloody disgrace.”
Mr Hinch was sentenced to five months’ home detention last year for breaching suppression orders and naming two sex offenders live on air. He was released in December.