A NSW priest is scheduled for a second trial soon on child-sex charges

By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 25 July 2017

A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 68, is scheduled to face a jury trial in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court (later in 2017), charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed against three young boys in the 1980s. The trial (case number 2015/00201591) may be a lengthy one.

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.

Casey has already faced a trial, which began in the Lismore District Court in July 2016. In that trial he was charged with 27 counts of sexual assault, indecent assault and rape of three boys who were under the age of 16. The incidents allegedly occurred in the 1980s at the priest's house in the Mallanganee parish, west of Casino and Lismore. Casey pleaded not guilty on all charges. On 12 August 2016, Casey, was found not guilty of 16 charges, but the jury could not make a decision on the remaining 11 counts.

Now, in 2017, he is scheduled to face a new trial on the remaining charges. The matter has been transferred to Sydney's Downing Centre District Court.

Some background

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.

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