Australian media reveals Church ‘abuse file’ memo

Church believed memo was a legal arrangement with police.

Australia – Documents gained by the media reveal that the Church in New South Wales apparently operated under the belief that it did not have to offer files on paedophile priests to the police. Following a Freedom of Information request by a politician, the ABC network discovered that the Church had issued a memorandum stating that it would not pass any suspect files unless compelled to do so by a court. Later, in 2003, when a Church representative contacted the New South Wales police office tasked with investigating child abuse to inquire as to whether the contents of the memorandum still stood, he was informed that no such arrangement had ever existed and would, in fact be in contravention to the law.

The revelations against a Church already suffering fallout from recent clerical abuse scandals have led to further allegations that it had sought to use the memorandum to quash potential police investigations into clerical criminality.