The church apologises for a priest's behaviour towards a girl aged 15

The Independent Commissioner for the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has upheld a complaint by a Melbourne woman about sexually abusive behaviour by Fr Anthony (Tony) Hicks in the 1970s when she was 15 years old. The Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Comensoli, has issued a written apology to her in 2019 in relation to this matter.

In a letter to the female complainant (dated 14 May 2019), Archbishop Peter Comensoli wrote:

"I have recently been informed by the Independent Commissioner, Mr Gleeson, that he has upheld a complaint concerning the abuse inflicted upon you by Father Anthony (Tony) Hicks (deceased).

"As it has been told to me, you were sexually abused by Father Hicks on a few occasions between the age of 15-18 years. I understand that these incidents were distressing and the cause of much confusion for you.

"It saddens me greatly that your trust in a priest, who was so trusted by your family, should be betrayed. I am truly sorry."

Fr Tony Hicks (born in 1939) was ordained in Melbourne in 1970. He served as an Assistant Priest at in the Melbourne parishes of Manifold Heights, Essendon, Kilmore, Fawkner, St Kilda East and St Patrick’s Cathedral. He was the Administrator at Caulfield Parish and later the Parish Priest in charge at Heidelberg West, Surrey Hills and Wattle Park Parishes until his death in 2010.

In addition to parish duties, Fr Hicks served at Centacare (the church's Melbourne welfare agency) and the Melbourne archdiocese's Marriage Tribunal, and also served as chaplain at Melbourne's Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.