Priest John Denham to face fresh Taree child sex allegations

John Denham
John Denham

CONVICTED child sex offender Catholic priest John Denham has been charged with fresh offences after a man alleged he was sexually abused at Taree in the late 1970s by Denham, senior Maitland-Newcastle priest Barry Tunks and two other men.

Manning/Great Lakes Local Area Command detectives charged Denham, 76, with three sexual assault offences more than two months after charging former Vicar General Barry Tunks, 76, in March with three indecent assault offences against the same boy in Catholic Church facilities at Taree.

Police also charged former nurse David John O’Grady with three indecent assault offences against the boy in church facilities at Taree in the 1970s.

The matters will return to court at Taree in August and September. No pleas have been entered.

Police investigated allegations after a man told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that he was between 9 and 12 years old when he was allegedly sexually abused by two priests and another man in Taree Catholic Church facilities.

The man also named a fourth alleged sexual abuser, a Catholic employee, now deceased.

John Denham is serving a minimum 19 years and five months’ jail sentence for crimes against 57 boys aged five to 17 between 1968 and 1986, and will not be eligible for parole until 2028.

In a statement in March Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Bill Wright said the diocese continued to cooperate with NSW Police.