Archbishop Philip Wilson faces landmark trial on allegations he failed to report child sex allegations

CONCERNED about the “acts of punishment” that Hunter priest Jim Fletcher had been subjecting him to, a young Peter Creigh reached out to someone he thought he could trust. 

It was 1976 and Mr Creigh, then a 15-year-old boy, sought out the “young, fun” priest who organised the youth group activities at St Joseph’s Church, East Maitland.

That man, he claims, was Philip Wilson, then a junior Maitland-Newcastle priest, now the Archbishop of Adelaide and the most senior Catholic cleric in the world to be charged with concealing child sex allegations involving another priest. He denies the allegation.

Mr Creigh, who can be identified after he asked to have the non-publication order on his name revoked, was the first witness called at Archbishop Wilson’s landmark hearing in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday.  

He claims he told then Father Wilson he had “concerns over certain acts of punishment that were committed on me by a former priest of the parish”. 

Mr Creigh claims Archbishop Wilson asked who the priest was and he told him it was Father Jim Fletcher. 

“I said Father Fletcher asked me to strip naked and to kneel on the floor while he started to masturbate himself in front of me,” Mr Creigh said.

“He then … pressured me to continue the masturbating on him until he ejaculated.

“That was the first occasion.

“On the second occasion I described that I was pressured into performing oral sex on Father Fletcher.”

Mr Creigh said Father Wilson appeared “shocked” and said he would have the matter “looked into”. 

“The look on his face,” Mr Creigh said.

“He sat upright and the look of horror on his face when I described the abuse.”

Six months later, when Mr Creigh says he asked Father Wilson for an update, he claims he was told “they were still looking into it”.

Mr Creigh said the pair never spoke about it again. 

Wilson was charged in 2015 with failing to report the allegations to police between 2004 and 2006, after Fletcher had been charged with child sex offences and before his death in jail. 

The hearing continues on Friday.