Vic police misleading on abuse: church

The Catholic Church has hit back at claims that not a single case of child sex abuse was reported to Victorian police.

Peter O'Callaghan, QC, the independent commissioner in charge of the Catholic Church's Melbourne-based complaints system, has submitted to the state's child sex abuse inquiry that Victorian police had told "blatant untruths", News Limited reports.

He said a great deal of police evidence was "misconceived, misleading and damagingly wrong".

Deputy Police Commissioner Graham Ashton had previously submitted to the inquiry that police had not "had a single referral of a child sex abuse allegation by the Catholic Church", claims that have formed the defining evidence of the investigation.

Mr O'Callaghan submitted that of 304 complaints made to him to June 30 last year, 97 were reported to police, 115 related to offenders who were already dead, nine were for offenders who were overseas and 76 complainants were encouraged by him to go to police, News Limited reported on Wednesday.

He also detailed cases from 1997 and 1999 when he arranged for victims of abuse to be interviewed by police, and charges were laid.

Mr O'Callaghan claims there was constant contact between him, police and the church.

He also refuted police claims that victims of abuse were required to sign confidentiality agreements on their complaints, saying they were free to discuss with anyone the facts and circumstances of the abuse and any compensation paid.

A committee spokeswoman told News Limited that all evidence to the inquiry would be considered.

She said serious penalties awaited anyone who gave false or misleading evidence.

LATEST BLOG POSTS