It’s been 16 years since paedophile priest Vince Ryan’s crimes against little boys shattered the Hunter’s faith in the Catholic Church and launched the region and this newspaper on an ugly fight for the truth.
It’s been four months since the suicide of John Pirona, the victim of a notorious Hunter paedophile priest, prompted the Newcastle Herald’s Shine the Light campaign for a royal commission.
Yesterday NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell finally acted and we will now have a government inquiry into the Catholic Church’s child sex crimes.
In the end he really had no choice. When Mr O’Farrell announced a special commission of inquiry yesterday, he was a politician bowing to overwhelming community outrage after decades of clergy sex abuse in Australia involving hundreds of victims, maybe thousands.
But restricting the terms of reference for that inquiry to the Hunter and allegations about police investigations by Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, revealed in the Herald this week, will not suffice. To do the most good, to uncover the most evil, the inquiry, headed by deputy senior crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen, needs to shine a wider light.