Priest paraded victim, court told

A PRIEST who befriended the family of a young boy from a violent home introduced the child to a paedophile, parading him to the man and telling him to ‘‘show us your muscles’’, Newcastle Local Court heard yesterday.

The introduction allegedly occurred at the presbytery of St Michael’s Catholic Church in Nelson Bay between 1982 and 1984, where Father Lewis Fenton was parish priest.

‘‘Father Lou’’, as he was known to the boy at the time, introduced Frank Tully to him in his office as his good friend, said the victim, who cannot be identified.

He was asked to ‘‘turn around’’ while Tully looked on, saying ‘‘nice, nice’’.

Shortly afterwards he was indecently assaulted by Tully in a  room to the side of the church, until they were interrupted by the boy’s  sister.

On another day, the boy’s family went on a trip to Birubi beach with Father Fenton and Tully, and the boy went up into the sand dunes with Tully to ‘‘build a sand castle’’.

They dug a hole, and after piling sand upon the boy’s legs, Tully removed the boy’s clothing and sexually assaulted him, continuing despite the boy’s pleas to ‘‘please stop’’ because it hurt.

‘‘He kept telling me that next time we would go further because I was enjoying it so much,’’ the victim, now aged 38, told the court.

‘‘After it all happened I just got up and ran back to the beach where everyone was.’’

At that time Father Fenton was standing in the surf, fishing, and so the boy ran   and stood next to him, he said.

 Father Lewis Fenton.

Father Lewis Fenton.

‘‘He looked down at me in disgust and shaking his head, and saying ‘just get away from me’’’, the court heard.

The now retired Father Fenton, 81, is the second Australian priest to be charged with concealing child sex crimes. He faces two counts, one of being an accessory before the fact of indecent assault and one of misprision of felony – failing to disclose a serious crime, and has not entered pleas.

Tully, 55 at the time of the offences, was jailed for two years in 1986 after pleading guilty to three child sex charges. He died in the 1990s.

He had been employed by the Post group of newspapers, at that time owned by the Newcastle Herald. He worked as a salesman from the Bolton Street building in Newcastle.

The victim’s sister also gave evidence yesterday. The matter was part-heard and adjourned to December 19.