This priest assaulted boys in Wollongong NSW, police allege

A former Catholic priest, Father Peter Lewis Comensoli, now aged 76, has been committed to stand trial in the New South Wales District Court accused of molesting boys while this priest was working in the Wollongong diocese, south of Sydney, in the 1960s. In October 2015, some additional charges were added to the case, which is scheduled to come before a judge in 2016.

Peter Lewis Comensoli was charged by police in early 2014 regarding two boys.

In Port Kembla Local Court on 6 May 2015, he entered pleas of Not Guilty to three charges (called "indecent assault of a male"), allegedly committed against two teenage boys while Comensoli was a priest in the Wollongong diocese:

  1. Police allege that Comensoli assaulted one of the alleged victims multiple times in 1966 during visits to the boy's family at their home at Ingleburn. It is alleged he would play a wrestling game with the boy and, while on top of him, squeeze his genitals. The man reported the alleged assaults to the church in 1999, but the information was not passed on to police until January 2014.
  2. Comensoli is accused of assaulting the other boy in 1968, while working at the Shellharbour parish. It is alleged that the boy became close to Comensoli through the priest's role as leader of a fellowship group for children who attended the parish. This alleged victim disclosed the alleged incident to a psychologist in 2012, who urged him to go to police.

The incidents with both boys allegedly happened on church premises.

The Port Kembla magistrate committed Comensoli for trial in a higher court, the New South Wales District Court, where the case will be conducted by a judge.

In Port Kembla Local Court on 14 October 2015, a fresh set of allegations were made against Comensoli. In new documents tendered to the court, Comensoli is accused of twice indecently assaulting a teenage boy sometime between February 1968 and December 1969 when the boy was aged 14 and 15. The court ordered that a brief of evidence be served on Comensoli’s lawyer in the fresh allegation. The new charge would return to the Local Court later in 2015 for further mention.

Peter Lewis Comensoli was born of Italian and Irish parents about 1939. Educated at Catholic schools in the Wollongong district, he was ordained as a priest in 1965, aged 26, to minister in parishes in the Wollongong diocese. By the 1980s, according to the annual Australian Catholic Directory for 1988, he was also a senior member of the Wollongong Diocesan Tribunal, which deals with such things as applications for a marriage annulment.