Australian archbishop sentenced to year's detention for coverup of child sex abuse

Australian archbishop sentenced to year's detention for coverup of child sex abuse

Survivors say Australia has made history with a landmark conviction even if Adelaide's Catholic Archbishop does not end up in jail for concealing child sexual abuse.

Philip Wilson, 67, will remain on bail while he is assessed by prison authorities for home detention, instead of jail, and will face court next month for a decision on where he will serve the sentence.

Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson arrives for sentencing at Newcastle Local Court in Newcastle, on Tuesday.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, a national body used by bishops to address issues of national significance, said it hoped the sentencing could "bring some sense of peace" to those abused by Fletcher.

Wilson stepped down as Adelaide archbishop after he was convicted in May.

The Reuters news agency, citing a Catholic Church spokesman, reports the court was told in December that Wilson has early stage Alzheimer's disease, which might be taken in to account in deciding where he serves his time.

Stone also ruled that Wilson would not be granted parole until he reached half of the sentence, Efe news reported.

The sentence comes as abuse survivor Peter Creigh has said he wants Wilson locked up to send a message to religious leaders that institutional cover-ups will no longer be tolerated.

Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse had investigated how the Catholic Church and other institutions responded to sexual abuse of children in Australia over 90 years.

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CNN understands from sources in Rome that Pope Francis will not ask Wilson, who has held his senior post for 18 years, to resign until it is decided if he will appeal. "We have done something in Australia which no one else has been able to manage".

"Fletcher went on to abuse other boys, and we grieve for the harm done to them as we realise the terrible truth that this could have been prevented by timely action against Fletcher".

"It is a deep shock and disappointment that this man has been found guilty of covering up abuse" and a "highly disturbing reflection on the archbishop".

He faced up to two years prison after being found guilty in May of concealing indictable offences between April 22, 2004, and January 7, 2006.

Fletcher was arrested on unrelated child abuse charges in 2004 and died in prison of a stroke in 2006 while serving an nearly eight-year sentence.

Archbishop Philip Wilson was convicted in May. Wilson would begin his climb through the church's hierarchy, which would culminate in him becoming the Archbishop of Adelaide in 2001.

He said Wilson had no prior convictions and was a person of previous good character "with particular reference to the general field of prevention of child sexual abuse".

On the day Wilson was convicted, Criegh, who waived his right to a non-publication order on his name, said it was a "very, very significant day". Adelaide is the capital of South Australia state which will bring in laws in October obliging priests to report evidence of abuse heard during a confession.

It said institutions including churches, schools and sports clubs had "seriously failed" to protect children.

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