The church knew about this priest's crimes but gave him further victims

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 January 2019

Broken Rites is researching Father Kevin Wright, who spent many years in the Wagga diocese which covers a large region in southern New South Wales. There is evidence that the Catholic Church authorities knew about Wright's offending but they allowed him to continue in the priesthood, thus enabling him to assault more children in more parishes.

Fr Kevin Wright's parishes (this is not a complete list) included:

  • Culcairn parish in the 1960s;
  • Jerilderie parish in the early 1970s; and, later,
  • Junee parish.

A male victim ("Max"), who encountered Fr Kevin Wright in the mid-1970s at the age of ten, has told Broken Rites: "I was assaulted by Father Kevin Wright in the Jerilderie parish in the mid-1970s, but recently I found evidence that another family had already complained to the Wagga diocese headquarters in the 1960s that Father Wright sexually assaulted their nine-year-old daughter in an earlier parish, the Culcairn parish. That is, long before I became a victim, the church authorities knew that Wright was a danger to children but they still inflicted him on later victims, including me.

A female victim ("Charlotte") has told Broken Rites: " I was sexually assaulted by Fr Kevin Wright at the Jerilderie parish when I was about nine years old."

Another male victim ("Patrick", from Junee) has told Broken Rites:

"In the 1970s, when I was aged nine at, Fr Kevin Wright used to invite me for visits at his parish house at Junee, where he offered me a cool drink and biscuits. Eventually he took advantage of his position in the church and community and committed acts of sexual abuse toward me over a two-year period. He said that, if I told anyone, God would take my mother and father away and that I would never see them again. I remember being so scared that this would happen to my parents that I never ever mentioned my ordeals to anyone and that when I left primary school to go to secondary school, I felt relief that I would never have see him ever again.

"I found concentrating at school very difficult in my senior primary years and recollections of my abuse haunted me throughout my school life. As I matured, I realised that what had happened to me was a lurid act of indecent crime that sickens me to this day.

"Eventually, when I was married, I realised that this childhood-abuse was affecting our marriage. 

"Fr Kevin Wright used the power of the church to inflict unfair intolerant paedophilic practices, behaviour and sexual abuse toward me, a trusting loyal child who would never say negative things about a priest in the eyes of our Catholic faith. After all, he was the one person in the community that connected our families, our spirituality and our trust in ongoing religious beliefs. The Catholic Church has a lot to answer for."