UPDATED: DECEMBER 2014

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/12/16/vic-pedophile-priest-walk-free-weeks

16 Dec 2014 – 7:44pm

Vic pedophile priest to walk free in weeks

An 88-year-old Catholic priest who sexually abused an alter boy in Melbourne in the 1970s will walk free from jail within weeks, after successfully appealing the length of his sentence.

The now-retired priest, James Henry Scannell, had served 138 days of his two year sentence when the Victorian Court of Appeal reduced his jail time to 15 months, with 10 months of this suspended.

Scannell was found guilty of a single charge of buggery by a Victorian County Court jury in July, and he continues to deny committing the assault.

The joint ruling by Justices Mark Weinberg, Phillip Priest, Lex Lasry on Tuesday rejected Scannell’s bid to have his conviction overturned but did allow a reduction in his prison term.

Scannell’s was originally required him to serve at least 12 months before being eligible for parole.

Under the reduced sentence, he will be released within weeks.

Scannell committed the abuse during a sexual education lesson more than 40 years ago.

He was asked by a long-time friend and member of his East Kew parish to discuss puberty with the boy.

Instead, Scannell, wearing only a dressing gown, led the boy into his bedroom, stripped him naked and sexually abused him.

The victim came forward in 2010 when he learnt Scannell was to conduct his aunt’s funeral.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-07/victorian-catholic-priest-88-jailed-for-raping-boy-in-1970s/5655446

Victorian Catholic priest, 88, jailed for two years for raping boy

By court reporter Peta Carlyon

Thu 7 Aug 2014, 3:55pm

An 88-year-old Victorian Catholic priest has been sentenced to two years in jail for raping a boy more than 40 years ago.

James Scannell was convicted in the Victorian County Court of one charge of raping the 12-year-old while he was working in Kew in the early 1970s.

The court heard that Scannell had always denied the offence and had shown no remorse.

The priest suffered from a series of serious health problems, including a heart condition and cancer, the court heard.

Scannell joined the church as a Marist Brother in 1945 and served as a priest for almost 50 years, working in parishes around Melbourne, including Warburton, Brighton, Flemington and Geelong.

His lawyer told the court his client dedicated his life to serving the community and had set up an important education program for autistic children.

But Judge David Parsons said Scannell was guilty of a serious breach of trust and that he had no choice but to sentence the elderly priest to an immediate term of imprisonment.

Although Scannell was suspended last year, the church had yet to revoke his religious orders.

His credentials for working with children were only revoked last year.

Bernard Barrett, a representative from victims’ advocacy group Broken Rites, said Scannell’s victim had waited a long time for justice.

“The guilty parties covered this up all these years,” he said.

Dr Barrett said the conviction raised serious questions about whether the Melbourne Archdiocese knew about Scannell’s offending and what they would do in response to his jailing.

“[Scannell] has been a priest in the Melbourne Archdiocese for 50 years, including working with disabled children,” Dr Barrett said.

“Questions need to be asked of the Melbourne Archdiocese about how and why this sort of thing could have happened and how it’s taken all these years for it to come out.

“Why is it that victims always feel as though they must remain silent, when the offender is a priest or some sort of church person?

“He’s still listed in the current edition of the Annual Australian Catholic Directory, as Reverend Father Scannell, past or emeritus, a distinguished priest.”

Scannell will be eligible for parole in 12 months.

 

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