POLICE Minister Troy Grant has rebuked Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese and revealed his devastation after the recent death of a victim of notorious Hunter paedophile priest Vince Ryan.
A diocese statement giving the impression the man took his own life caused additional stress for his family and other victims of the priest, said a spokesperson for Mr Grant who, as a young police officer, charged Ryan in the mid 1990s with child sex offences offences against 30 boys.
The Newcastle Herald has confirmed the cause of death is yet to be determined.
The Hunter man who died in late July was one of the priest’s last victims. The offences against him occurred two decades after serious allegations against Ryan were raised with church representatives, including the then Maitland-Newcastle Monsignor Patrick Cotter.
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Mr Grant was “devastated by the man’s death” and “disappointed the diocese has chosen to issue public commentary on this situation which has caused additional stress not only for the deceased’s family but the broader group of victims, in this case more than 30 men”.
In a statement the diocese asked Catholics to “remember the gentleman who has recently left us and all those who have died by their own hand or misadventure”.
It called for prayers for “other men and women who suffered child sexual abuse and have died, whether by intent or as a consequence of their participating in high risk and damaging behaviours”.
Mr Grant attended the victim’s funeral and has maintained an “on-going supporting relationship with the victim, his family and other Ryan victims for more than 23 years since the initial police investigation”, a spokesperson said.
He will continue to support the family.
“The minister’s clear wish is that the victim who has suffered enormously through his life is now allowed to rest in peace,” the spokesperson for Mr Grant said.
In 2012 Mr Grant said the unsuccessful police recommendation to have Patrick Cotter charged with concealing Ryan’s crimes was the source of the most heartache from his police years.
In early July Mr Grant was criticised for questioning the sentence given to Archbishop Philip Wilson for failing to report child sex allegations against a Hunter priest.