Sydney priest Father Ed Sedevic defeats child-porn charges

On 31 July 2014 a New South Wales magistrate dismissed child pornography charges against a retired Catholic priest, Father Edward Sedevic, aged 73. Police had charged Father Sedevic as part of a global operation targeting users of a Canadian pornography website. During a search of Father Sedevic’s home, the detectives seized eight invoices for purchases from the Canadian website. However, the magistrate accepted Father Sedevic's explanation for possessing this material.

Father Ed Sedevic, who worked in parishes in the Sydney metropolitan area, is now living in retirement at Lake Haven (north of Sydney on the NSW central coast).

He first appeared in Wyong Local Court on 4 September 2013 for a brief administrative procedure, in which police filed some charges relating to child pornography. The court was told that detectives from the Child Exploitation Internet Unit (within the NSW Sex Crimes Squad) had gone to see Father Edward Sedevic at Lake Haven (near Wyong) on 20 August 2014.

On 31 July 2014, the case was heard by magistrate Alan Railton in the Gosford Local Court (on the NSW central coast).

Mr Railton made the following findings about films that were seized at Father Sedevic's residence:

  • Mr Railton accepted Father Sedevic’s evidence that he was a movie buff with more than 3000 DVDs, and had not seen the seized film I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse, showing a boy in a nativity scene with tape across his mouth and pins or nails in his penis.
  • Mr Railton  accepted Father Sedevic’s defence that a downloaded version of the Swedish film Barnens O (or Children’s Island) had briefly been classified in Australia in 2013 as an art film for audiences over 18 years.
  • Mr Railton accepted Father Sedevic's defence that the Danish film You Are Not Alone was legally available to the public at the Toukley Library (on the NSW central coast) This film was described in film reviews as a "groundbreaking classic" which told the story of two boys whose friendship "blooms into a childlike love affair". It includes a scene in which the boys talk about masturbation while in the shower.
  • Mr Railton accepted the defence's claim that a movie file on the priest’s computer showed males over the age of 16.

Therefore the magistrate dismissed the child-pornography case against Father Sedevic.

Some background, researched by Broken Rites

Broken Rites has looked up Father Ed Sedevic's name in some of the old editions of the annual Australian Catholic Directory. In the 1979 edition, for example, he was listed as an assistant priest at the Blacktown parish in western Sydney (this parish later became part of the newly-formed diocese of Parramatta).

In 1984 Fr Edward Sedevic was appointed in charge of the Mount Pritchard/Bonnyrigg parish (called the "Our Lady of Mount Carmel" parish) in south-western Sydney, where one of his assistant priests in 1985 was Father Brian Lucas.

After the Parramatta diocese was hived off from the Sydney archdiocese in the late 1980s, the Mount Pritchard parish (including Father Ed Sedevic) remained in the Sydney archdiocese. Fr Sedevic was at Mount Pritchard parish until late 2000.

In 2001, after leaving Mount Pritchard, Father Ed Sedevic was listed in the Australian Catholic directory as the parish priest in charge of St Joan of Arc parish at Haberfield (in Sydney's inner-west), where he remained for several years.

In recent years, the annual Australian Catholic Directory has listed Rev. Edward Sedevic in the Sydney archdiocese section under the heading "Supplementary Priests". This section  includes a number of priests who no longer have a full-time parish appointment in Sydney (although, often, some might be available to provide assistance on a part-time basis).

The website of the Broken Bay diocese (north of Sydney) has described Father Edward Sedevic  as a retired priest who is "generously available" to help the Warnervale parish (near Lake Haven)  "on a regular basis’’.