Priest reported to Vatican over alleged child sex chat

THE Lismore Diocese is yet to receive instructions from the Vatican about what to do with a local priest who has alleged links to the child sex industry in Thailand, the royal commission has heard.

Lismore Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett told the commission he referred a priest to the Vatican after he was allegedly heard telling others of a place in Thailand where "under-age people were available to foreign visitors".

Bishop Jarrett said he had reported the allegations between 2011 and 2012 but that he understood that a response could take some time.

A spokesperson for the Lismore Diocese confirmed on Monday that the allegations had also been referred to the ombudsman but could not say whether the priest remained in the area.

APN Newsdesk understands the priest is currently on leave.

Bishop Jarrett made reference to the unnamed priest while giving evidence about the Church's treatment of victims who suffered abuse at the hands of the dead Lismore priest Rex Brown.

Former St Mary's College student Jennifer Ingham told the commission she was sexually abused by Brown in Sydney, where she was being treated for bulimia, and the abuse had continued when the former priest was transferred to Tweed Heads.

She said Brown had flown her to Tweed Heads to stay with him and that, while she was there, he had made reference to her breasts tasting like the breasts of another young girl he knew.

Documents tendered during the hearings revealed that senior members of the Church were concerned about Brown many years before he was finally ousted from the Lismore Diocese in the late '80s.

In a letter of reprimand, dated May 1985, concerns are raised about Brown's "severe alcohol problem" and the flow-on effects, which had led to many parishioners either leaving the Church or transferring to Coolangatta and Kingscliff.

There is also reference to a stabbing taking place in the Tweed presbytery at a time when the Church was acting as a refuge and complaints from parishioners that "occupants of the refuge seemed to be running" Brown and not the other way around.

Brown died in 2005 and is buried at Lismore.

The hearings continue in Sydney.



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