A former archbishop in Australia was let off easy following a conviction for his role in concealing child sex abuse, with officials determining he could serve his one year jail sentence at home.
Philip Wilson, 67, was found guilty of failing to go to the police about the crimes committed by then-priest James Fletcher, who repeatedly abused two altar boys in the 1970s. (Wilson was an assistant priest at the time; Fletcher died in prison in 2006.)
Wilson denied the accusation, but nevertheless resigned from the clergy last month following mounting public pressure, the Washington Post reports.
Though he was convicted, he’ll be allowed to pass his sentence at the home of his sister, and will even be eligible for parole in just six months. The paper reports that Robert Stone, the magistrate who ordered the decision, found that Wilson showed no remorse or contrition for the cover-up, his primary motive being to protect the Catholic church. How noble. In fact:
The magistrate accepted Wilson was unlikely to re-offend but found he had to serve a period of detention to deter others.
He said home detention was adequate punishment given Wilson’s age and mental and physical conditions and that he had previously been of good character.
His age? I just watched my 63-year-old mother, essentially his contemporary, deadlift like 200 pounds at the gym this morning. (That’s a slight exaggeration, but she does work out almost every day, and would snap me like a twig in hand-to-hand combat.) Point being, maybe if he spent less time guilt-swallowing barbecued snags and being complicit in horrific crimes against children, he wouldn’t be in such bad shape now!
Outside the courthouse, one of Wilson’s victims, Peter Gogarty, asked Wilson if he planned to apologize. He received no response.
“I’m beside myself about this,” Gogarty later told reporters. “I’m still here, still hurting...and not a single, solitary word to say sorry.”
He called Wilson’s detention lenient, labelling it a vacation.