Armidale detectives investigate new allegations of historical abuse by former New England Catholic priest David Joseph Perrett

Fresh claims: David Joseph Perrett, 79, outside Armidale Local Court. Armidale detectives are investigating new allegations of historical abuse against the former Catholic priest. Photo: Rachel Baxter

Fresh claims: David Joseph Perrett, 79, outside Armidale Local Court. Armidale detectives are investigating new allegations of historical abuse against the former Catholic priest. Photo: Rachel Baxter

MORE than 10 new people have contacted detectives to lodge complaints of historical abuse against a former New England priest.

Fairfax Media can reveal Armidale detectives are questioning “upwards of 10 people” about historical allegations of abuse by retired priest David Joseph Perrett.

Perrett is on bail for nine charges, accused of molesting four young boys between 1970 and 1982 in Armidale and Guyra.

The developments come six weeks after Fairfax Media revealed Perrett’s extradition from Queensland to face the charges following a lengthy investigation by Armidale detectives.

Perrett fronted Armidale Local Court on Wednesday flanked by family members. He is yet to enter pleas to nine counts of indecent assault on a male.

While no charges have formally been laid in light of the new allegations, solicitor for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Luke Boenisch, told the court they would need more time.

I'm advised as a result of the investigation, upwards of 10 additional complainants have presented themselves to police. - Director of Public Prosecutions solicitor Luke Boenisch

“I'm advised as a result of the investigation, upwards of 10 additional complainants have presented themselves to police,” he said on Wednesday.

The court also heard “there is a significant amount of brief material that needs to be obtained”.

Perrett’s solicitor Greg Birtles did not oppose the adjournment.

Magistrate Michael Holmes said “best practice” dictated that with historical matters the brief should be ready to go before charges are laid, but acknowledged new complainants had come forward and further time was needed to investigate the matters.

He granted the two-month adjournment and ordered the case to return to court in August.

“Bail is to continue,” he said.

Armidale detectives extradited the 79-year-old former Catholic priest in May from Warwick. He had been living in Wallangarra for nearly 20 years.

On Wednesday, New England Detective Inspector Ann Joy confirmed investigations into 10 new complainants were continuing.

Police are currently taking statements from quite a number of complainants. - New England Detective Inspector Ann Joy

“Police are currently taking statements from quite a number of complainants,” she said.

“That will be quite lengthy, and those inquiries will continue for sometime.

“We would still encourage anyone who hasn't come forward who has information concerning this matter to contact Armidale detectives.”

Detectives allege Perrett indecently assaulted one young boy three times between January 1 and December 31, 1970, at Armidale.

He’s also accused of assaulting the same young boy in Armidale twice in 1971 and then again in 1972.

Perrett is also alleged to have indecently abused two young boys in Lower Creek, at different times in 1976, and a fourth boy at Guyra between 1982 and 83.

As part of his bail conditions, Perrett has been ordered not to leave an Armidale home, where he is living with family, unaccompanied and must report to police four times a week.

He is also prohibited from going within 50m of any school, playground or place frequented by young people.

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