Australian Bishop Sentenced to Year’s Detention for Cover-Up

(From AP News)

The most senior Roman Catholic cleric to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse was sentenced to 12 months in detention by an Australian court Tuesday in a landmark case welcomed by some abuse survivors as a strong warning to institutions that fail to protect children.

Newcastle Magistrate Robert Stone ordered Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson to serve at least 6 months before he is eligible for parole.

But Wilson will not immediately go into custody. Stone will consider on Aug. 14 whether Wilson is suitable for home detention. He could live with his sister near Newcastle.

Stone in May found the 67-year-old cleric guilty in the Newcastle Local Court of failing to report to police the repeated abuse of two altar boys by pedophile priest James Fletcher in the Hunter Valley region north of Sydney during the 1970s. Wilson faced a potential maximum sentence of two years in prison.

Stone said Wilson failed to act against Fletcher because he “wanted to protect the church and its image.”

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