ADELAIDE, AAP – The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide is facing unprecedented calls from across political arena to resign as he prepares to challenge his conviction for concealing child sexual abuse.
Philip Wilson, 67, is the most senior Catholic official in the world to be found guilty of such a crime and was earlier this week sentenced to 12 months in jail with a six-month non-parole period.
He’s now going to appeal his conviction for the offences committed in the Newcastle region between 2004 and 2006 and plans to resign only if that fails.
But South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has joined Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in calling for Wilson to resign immediately.
“He’s been convicted, he’s been sentenced. I think it’s untenable to remain in that position,” Mr Marshall The Advertiser on Thursday.
NSW Police Minister Troy Grant, a former police officer who was involved in investigations into child abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle area in 1995, said the sentence handed to Wilson was “appalling”.
“This is no deterrent as a sentence, it’s appalling, the children deserve better, the victims deserve better, and the community do,” Mr Grant told 2GB Radio.
Wilson is in line to potentially serve his sentence in home detention, pending the appeal proceedings.
Wilson was in May found guilty of failing to report to police the historical sexual abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest after a landmark magistrate-only trial in Newcastle Local Court.
Wilson confirmed on Wednesday he would lodge an appeal to the NSW District Court.