Australian ex-archbishop acquitted, convicted of covering up a pedophilia case

Australian ex-archbishop acquitted, convicted of covering up a pedophilia case

A judge in Australia today acquitted the ex-archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, by accepting his appeal against the sentence of one year of house arrest that was imposed on him for covering up a pedophilia case.

Wilson, 68, was found guilty in May of covering up, during a police investigation between 2004 and 2006, the sexual abuse committed by priest James Fletcher against two of his altar boys in the 1970s.

Judge Roy Ellis of the district court of Newcastle, in the state of New Wales of the South, revoked the sentence imposed by a lower instance, according to confirmed to Efe judicial sources of this state.

The magistrate considered that the prosecution could not prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the prelate, which he qualified as an honest and consistent witness.

"There is no adequate basis on which he can rely to reject the appellant's evidence," the judge said on ABC.

Wilson, the highest office of the Catholic Church convicted of crimes related to pedophilia in Australia, alleged during the trial that he did not remember the complaint made by the victims.

Fletcher was convicted of the abuses in 2004 and died in prison two years later.

The prosecution, which had also filed an appeal for Wilson to enter prison, declined to clarify Efe will appeal the ruling.

An official commission that investigated the response of Australian institutions to cases of pedophilia revealed that the Catholic Church, with strong roots in the country, received complaints from 4,500 people for alleged abuses of some 1,880 religious and priests between 1980 and 2015.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Wilson as archbishop of Adelaide on July 30.


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