A priest awaits sentencing in court for sexually assaulting boys in his parish house

By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 October 2018

A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 70, is listed for sentencing in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court on 30 October 2018. He has been found guilty after a jury trial in 2018 regarding sexual assaults committed against two boys in the 1980s. The assaults occurred when the boys stayed with Fr Casey at his residence in one of his earlier parishes (Mallanganee, near the city of Lismore), while he was based there in the mid-1980s. The allegations against Casey included performing oral sex on one of the boys, masturbating in the boy's presence, and digitally penetrating the other boy's anus.

Father Casey denied all the charges. However, the jury found him guilty of sexual assault (category three) of a person under the age of 16 years, sexual assault (category four), indecent act with a person under 16.

Father Casey was found not guilty of homosexual intercourse with a male under 18 years.

The trial (court case number 2015/00201591) was held in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court. The trial finished on 31 August 2018.

Judge Sarah Huggett is scheduled to sentence Casey on 30 October 2018 at 2.00pm.

The investigation of John Patrick Casey was conducted by detectives from the NSW Police's Richmond Local Area Command, which has headquarters in Lismore. The detectives were dealing with information which had been received by Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission.

Some background

John Patrick Casey is a priest of the Lismore diocese, which takes in the NSW north coast from the Queensland border to Camden Haven, south of Port Macquarie. The city of Lismore is where the diocese has its headquarters.

A church website says that Fr John Casey, of the Lismore diocese, was ordained on 2 February 1974. He has ministered in a number of parishes in that diocese.

He has also spent time away from this diocese. A website of the Townsville diocese in north Queensland says that in 1978 Fr John Casey (on loan from the Lismore diocese) was appointed for one year to the parish of Ingham in the Townsville diocese. He returned to the Lismore diocese at the end of 1979.

In the late 1980s, the annual edition of the Australian Catholic Directory listed Fr John Casey as the Parish Priest in charge of the parish of "Our Lady of Perpetual Succour" in Mallanganee (situated to the west of the city of Lismore). Some sculptures by Father John Patrick Casey were placed on display at this parish.

In the 1990s Fr John Patrick Casey was the parish priest at Camden Haven (Laurieton) in the south of the diocese. In the late 1990s, he had a senior role in the diocese, as one of the diocese's four Regional Vicars — he was the Regional Vicar for the diocese's south (the Macleay Region).

After being at Camden Haven (Laurieton) until 2004, Fr John Patrick Casey was appointed to his most recent parish the "Mary Help of Christians" parish at Sawtell, near Coffs Harbour.

As well as working in parishes, John Patrick Casey has also worked as a part-time police chaplain, with duties such as conducting funerals and other religious services for police officers.

According to local sources, Father John Patrick Casey is a nephew of Fr Anthony Casey who was the Parish Priest of Coffs Harbour for many years.