FORMER Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson is to start serving home detention from today (August 14).
Wilson, 67, was sentenced to 12 months detention. He will begin this sentence staying at his sister’s home on the New South Wales central coast and will be detained there until at least February 13 next year, when he will be eligible for parole.
Newcastle Local Court heard that Wilson was a suitable candidate for home detention after a state corrective services assessment of the case, and his sister’s home.
A lawyer for Wilson said he would appeal Wilson’s conviction, in a bid to clear his client’s name.
In May, a local court magistrate found Wilson guilty of concealing child abuse by a priest.
The magistrate ruled that between 2004 and 2006, Wilson failed to tell police about the repeated abuse of two altar boys by priest Jim Fletcher in the New South Wales Hunter Valley region during the 1970s.
Ten days later, on July 30, the Holy See issued a statement confirming Pope Francis had accepted Wilson’s resignation, although he remains an ordained bishop within the Church with no episcopal authority.
“There is no more important responsibility for community and church leaders than the protection of children,” Prime Minister Turnbull said, following the Holy See statement.
Wilson said he hoped his resignation would be a “catalyst to heal pain and distress”.
He wrote directly to Archdiocese of Adelaide priests, religious, parish and school communities: “Though my resignation was not requested, I made this decision because I have become increasingly worried at the growing level of hurt that my recent conviction has caused within the community.”
The pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Adelaide remains in place in the hands of the Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Greg O’Kelly, until the Pope appoints a new archbishop.