Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson Resigns After Sex Abuse Scandal

By Faith Magbanua, August 06, 2018 22:08 PM

Philip Wilson(Facebook/ Screenshot)

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Philip Wilson as archbishop of Adelaide on Monday, July 30 after he was convicted of concealing child abuse, a further sign of the Vatican's struggle to keep on top of a series of scandals that has rocked it since the beginning of the year.

In May, Wilson was given a one-year sentence for failing to report allegations of abuse by a priest in the 1970s. The decision makes Wilson the world's most senior Roman Catholic cleric to be convicted of the offence.

Earlier this month, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on the Pope to sack Wilson due to the scandal and said, "There is no more important responsibility for community and church leaders than the protection of children."

During his trial, Wilson has denied any knowledge of abuse committed by priest James Fletcher throughout his time as an assistant priest in Maitland, 130km (80 miles) north of Sydney.

Fletcher was convicted of nine child sexual abuse charges in 2004, and later died in jail in 2006.

However, the magistrate found that Wilson had been told about the abuse by the young victims and that he had failed to report the crimes because he wanted to protect the Church's reputation.

Despite calls for his resignation from many groups, Wilson insisted he would not step aside until his legal options were exhausted. However, in a brief statement released at midday in Rome on Monday, the Vatican announced the Pope had accepted Wilson's resignation.

Wilson was sentenced to 12 months in prison on July 3 and ordered to serve a minimum of six months. He immediately launched an appeal against the conviction.

 

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