One of Australia’s most senior Catholics, Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, has been found guilty of concealing child sex abuse in a case that dates back to the 1970s.
Magistrate Robert Stone found Wilson guilty of concealing details of abuse relating to late pedophile priest James Fletcher, according to multiple news reports on Monday.
The Australian reports the defence successfully argued that Fletcher’s victim Peter Creigh had told Wilson in 1976 that he was abused by Fletcher five years earlier when he was just 10 years old. Wilson failed to share that knowledge with police when Fletcher was arrested years later and claimed he had no memory of his conversation with Creigh.
Wilson, who pleaded not guilty, now faces a maximum two years behind bars.
Magistrate Stone reportedly said it was “incomprehensible” that Wilson didn’t remember his conversation with Creigh, and added: “Any allegation perpetrated on young boys by someone you have lived with is going to remain with you, no matter how long.”
Fletcher died in 2006 after being jailed for sexually assaulted an alter boy in the 1990s. However, revelations since then have shown his crimes dated back to at least the 1970s. Wilson and Fletcher shared a house in the 1970s.