Oz Priest: ‘I Saw Church Evidence Tampering’

Insert joke here about priests who blow something other than the whistle. But to Victor Buhagiar, church child abuse is no laughing matter. He has recently quit his post as a Catholic priest over what he sees as an institutional inclination to bury the truth, abandoning the church after a dozen years of leading parishes across Victoria, Australia. The country is in the midst of a huge and unprecedented government inquiry into church-based child abuse.

Buhagiar says he personally saw unethical attempts by church authorities to prevent damaging information from coming out.

Buhagiar claims it has became impossible to continue after he found out the Church was deleting records relating to child sexual abuse.

“I saw the Archbishop and I heard the Archbishop telling the secretary to turn off the recorder,” Buhagiar said.


Alarm bells first began to ring for Buhagiar at a council meeting of the state’s most powerful priests last April. “As soon as the recording was turned off, the Archbishop started talking about the sex abuse situation,” Buhagiar said. …

“After that meeting I made enquiries as to why the recorder was turned off at that particular moment. Again, whoever I asked said to me, I do not remember, when I pushed, they said so that no names are mentioned,” Buhagiar said.

“I suspect the recorder was turned off to minimise the possibility of investigators finding evidence that can be useful to the inquiry, or to the Royal Commission; to create like a black hole, an empty space that when the investigators try to see how the situation evolved during the last 10 years or so, they seem to find nothing.”

It’s too late for that. The cat is already out of the bag, and the church will have a lot of explaining to do:

The Royal Commission estimates there are 5000 people waiting for their chance to give evidence against the Catholic Church and other institutions.

[image via Today Tonight]