One of the Australian Catholic Church's most prominent and senior figures has admitted he advised other clergy it was a good idea not to take notes of interviews with priests accused of sexual abuse so they couldn't be successfully used in legal action. Father Brian Lucas, a frequent media spokesman for the archdiocese of Sydney and general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference said he had dealt with about 35 accused priests around NSW from 1990 to 1995 when he was part of a team whose job was to confront them and persuade them out of the ministry.
A priest, known as Father F, was accused of sexually abusing altar boys in Moree and Parramatta in New South Wales. One of the priest's victims, Damien Jurd, later committed suicide. Three senior priests "investigated" the claims, but no evidence was forwarded to police despite the fact Father F made admissions of serious criminal behaviour in a 1992 meeting with the three officials. One of those officials was Father Brian Lucas who's now the general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
When Lucas was asked directly (a couple of years ago) if Father F admitted to molesting five altar boys in Moree around the age of 10 or 11 he replied:When asked if he wished he'd handled the Father F case differently - that he should have contacted the police:My recollection is not as specific as that. There was a very generalised discussion with him. He was certainly very, very cautious not to incriminate himself and very, very careful not to name any names.Is that a yes?LUCAS: Look, in hindsight we always learn. There is no doubt about that.Lucas: Well, it is not so much a yes.