Priest jailed for abusing young girls
Priest jailed for abusing young girls

A former Catholic priest who molested two girls while serving at two separate Perth churches in the late 1960s and early 1980s has been jailed for three years.

Father Patrick Holmes, 79, admitted the charges of indecent assault at his first appearance at Perth Magistrate's Court earlier this year.

And at Perth's District Court today, Judge Henry Wisbey told Holmes he had abused his position in order to abuse the girls - the youngest being just seven years old - at two separate parishes

The court was told the first allegation stemmed from his time as a priest at the Catholic Holy Name Church in Carlisle in 1969.

The abuse occurred in the presbytery on at least three occasions, when Holmes touched the girl on her vagina and rubbed his crotch against hers.

The court was told the girl had made a complaint to the church in the year 2000, when Holmes was then removed from his position.

But police only became involved in 2014 when a complaint was made to police.

It was also revealed how Holmes indecently assaulted a girl, aged about 12, at St Aloysius Church in Subiaco in 1980.

The incidents allegedly occurred when she visited the presbytery after school, when he also touched her breasts and vagina.

That offending was done in full view of a caretaker at the church.

Both girls were offered money and treats by Holmes, which Judge Wisbey said was designed to assure their "compliance and silence".

"These offences set aside much of the work to which you have devoted your life," Judge Wisbey said.

For six counts of indecent dealing with a child under 13, Holmes was jailed for three years, who parole eligibility after 18 months.

Following Holmes guilty plea earlier this year, Catholic Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costello offered an unreserved apology to the victims for Fr Holmes’ abuse.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Perth said the two women involved had shown bravery in coming forward to expose Holmes' behaviour.

“Our thoughts today are with the two women who showed such courage in coming forward to police to tell their stories of how they suffered as a result of Fr Holmes’ deplorable actions more than thirty years ago. Today, justice has been done as a result of their honesty and tenacity," the statement said.

The West Australian

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