lunedì 28 novembre 2016

The Australian
(Dan Box) An alleged child sex victim worries the man he says abused him will still have access to children after being acquitted despite a judge saying he was “well satisfied” the crimes had taken place.
The extraordinary verdict is being examined by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse after being handed down in Sydney’s District Court in August of this year.The alleged victim told the commission this morning that he was sexually abused by a Catholic brother, Christopher Rafferty, at St Patrick’s College in Goulburn, NSW, between 1984 and 1987.
The man, who cannot be named, subsequently attempted to commit suicide and eventually decided to report the alleged abuse to police, despite being told by his local Catholic priest not to do so, the commission heard.
He was not told that the trial would take place before a judge alone, without a jury, who ultimately acquitted Mr Rafferty of six counts of child sexual abuse alleged to have taken place during music lessons at the school. “I am well satisfied that the accused did sexually abuse the complainant at school and I reject his blanket denial as a reasonable possibility,” Judge David Frearson said in passing judgment.The judge, who will not be called to give evidence, said he could not be satisfied that the specific assaults alleged in the charges had taken place, the commission heard.
“The evidence was replete with confusion and inconsistency ... but confusion and inconsistency is probably what one would expect had he been sexually abused as he says,” Judge Frearson said.
The alleged victim said Mr Rafferty’s lawyers “absolutely tore me to shreds,” and accused him of making up the abuse in order to receive compensation from the Catholic Church.
“I still don’t understand how the judge could say that he believed that Rafferty had abused me and that he was a sexual predator, but then allow him to walk free,” he told he commission.
“I worry about Rafferty continuing to now have access to children. If you are charged with offences involving children and get away with it but the judge states you are a sexual predator, you should not be around kids again.”
The commission is also looking at other recent prosecutions of child sex offenders, including one where a Catholic priest was convicted of abusing four children but found not guilty of abusing a fifth, after a judge ordered the trials be held separately.
“It became clear to us early in our work that the criminal justice system’s response to institutional child sexual abuse to date has not been adequate,” commission chair Peter McClellan said.
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