The Macarthur’s region’s highest-ranking Catholic, Bishop Peter Ingham, has apologised “unreservedly” to former pupils of an Eagle Vale school sexually abused by their paedophillic principal.
Philip Slattery, a former marist brother and principal of Mary Immaculate Catholic Parish Primary School at Eagle Vale (between 1986-1992), plead guilty in December to four counts of indecent assault against person under the age of 16 and is now serving a prison sentence.
In a statement released this morning, Bishop Ingham said the victims had “shown great courage and resilience in speaking the truth and seeking justice”.
“It is my understanding that the offences were committed between 1989 and 1992 against two students whilst Mr Slattery, then known as Brother Philip, was the principal of the school,” Bishop Ingham said.
“Since becoming aware of the conviction, the Diocese has been in contact with them to offer our support.
The trauma and pain endured by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and their families is real and is acknowledged.
“I further offer a heartfelt apology to all those who have suffered abuse by any person who was associated with the Diocese of Wollongong.”
Bisphop Ingham said the Diocese, including Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong and our Catholic schools, was “totally committed to the protection of children and young people above all else”.
He urged anyone with a complaint of mistreatment or abuse to come forward to the appropriate authority.
He said the church would be resolute in ensuring concerns or allegations brought forward were handled “with sensitivity and determination”.
“Contact the police through the Police Assistance line on 131 444 or contact the director of Professional Standards and Safeguarding for the Diocese of Wollongong, Anna Tydd, on (02) 4222 2405,” Bishop Ingham said.