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Statement from Archbishop Costelloe regarding Fr Patrick Holmes
Statement from the Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe SDB, Archbishop of Perth, regarding Patrick Holmes given at Catholic Church Office, Perth
On Tuesday, April 15th, in Perth Magistrates Court, Fr Patrick Holmes, a member of the Order of St Camillus who has served as a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Perth for many years, pleaded guilty to six charges of sexual abuse to two minors. These charges relate to two separate incidents which both occurred more than thirty years ago.
The crimes committed by Fr Holmes will have had a devastating effect on his victims, their families and their friends. I know the Camillian Fathers would want to express their deep sorrow and heartfelt apology to those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, because of Fr Holmes’ actions. I want to express my own dismay at Fr Holmes’ betrayal of these women’s trust in him when they were young girls and, because he was working as a priest in our Archdiocese at the time, I also want to offer my own sincere apology.
Child sexual abuse is a serious crime as well as a betrayal of everything the Catholic Church stands for. I am deeply ashamed that people have been subjected to this terrible experience by those whom they trusted and from whom they had an absolute right to expect integrity, decency and impeccable behaviour. In the case of Fr Holmes the two women who have suffered because of his deplorable actions have shown great courage in coming forward to tell their stories. They deserve our gratitude, our admiration and our support.
The Archdiocese of Perth has cooperated fully with the police in their investigation of these matters and we will continue to do so.
The Catholic Church is determined to confront the awful reality of the sexual abuse of minors by priests, religious and lay church workers, and to eradicate it from our midst. In the Archdiocese of Perth, we are currently examining and seeking to implement a range of strategies (in addition to those already in place) to ensure that our Church and its communities are places of absolute safety for all, especially children and young people.
Should anyone wish to make a complaint or allegation of child sexual abuse against a Catholic priest, religious or lay worker, I urge them most strongly to take the matter directly to the police. They are in the best position to investigate any allegations of criminal sexual abuse fully and objectively. The Catholic Church’s Professional Standards Office in Western Australia will assist anyone to contact the appropriate police department should they need or require such assistance. The Director of the Professional Standards Office can be contacted on 1800 072 390 or 08 9422 7904.
The Archdiocese of Perth is committed to confronting with openness and honesty the failures of the past. We are committed to provide whatever assistance, healing and hope we can to those who have suffered so badly because of the actions of some priests, religious and lay Church workers and to ensure that no-one suffers again as so many have in the past. The shame we feel at the revelation of Fr Holmes’ crimes only deepens our resolve.
The Most Rev Timothy Costelloe
Archbishop of Perth, 15th April 2014