A priest pleads guilty in Victoria regarding two girls

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article posed on 4 November 2018

Fr Bernard Mahony, aged 75, a priest in the Sale diocese (covering the Gippsland region in the state of Victoria), pleaded guilty in court on 2 November 2018 regarding indecent assaults of two girls, committed 40 years ago in one of Mahony's earlier parishes. In the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court at Morwell, a magistrate sentenced him to a wholly suspended sentence of six months.

In December 2016, Fr Mahony celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest. According to the annual editions of the Australian Catholic Directory, some of Fr Mahony's parishes (during his career) have included Neerim South, Maffra, Bairnsdale and (most recently) Pakenham. He retired from parish work in 2017.

The matter of Father Mahony's past arose when each of the two victims spoke privately to a commissioner from Australia's national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The matter was then investigated by a detective from the Sexual Offences and Child-abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) of the Victoria Police (based at Bairnsdale). The police filed charges against Bernard Mahony in the magistrates court.

The court case was regarding incidents which occurred while Mahony was based at St Ignatius' Church in Neerim South between 1978 and 1981.