INTRODUCTION 1. This is the 35th case study. It considers the response of the Archdiocese of Melbourne from the mid to late 1980s until 1996, to complaints, concerns and the like about a number of its priests.
2. Earlier case studies including the recent Case Study 31, which heard from retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, have considered the various protocols developed during this time to respond to complaints of criminal behaviour including child sexual abuse. This case study will look, in part, at their implementation.
3. The Royal Commission has selected a number of clergy for consideration in this public hearing. The clergy included are among those against whom the greatest number of complaints have been made. In the case of most of the priests, aspects of their conduct and the response of the Archdiocese of Melbourne have been the subject of inquiry before. The evidence in this case study is expected to extend what is in the public domain in relation to the conduct of the priests and the knowledge and response of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
4. There are eight priests whose conduct and management are the subject of this case study:
• Nazareno Fasciale
• Kevin O’Donnell
• Ronald Pickering
• Wilfred Baker
• Peter Searson
• David Daniel
• Desmond Gannon and
• Barry Robinson
2 5. This case study is also concerned with the structure of the Archdiocese at this time and the manner in which that structure facilitated or otherwise, first, the efficient and effective handling of these complaints and secondly the response to the complainants and to those accused. The role of the Archbishop as decision maker is expected to be a feature in the evidence given by Church witnesses. As Bishop Emeritus Connors is expected to say: “There is no doubt that the culture of seniority and authority in the Church did not encourage questioning of the Archbishop.”
6. If any party with leave is of the view that evidence from a particular witness or a document should be heard or tendered, the process set out in the Practice Guidelines should be followed. That is, I should be approached with a copy of the document or statement (unless for reasons stated, that is impractical), and unless completely irrelevant, it is likely the witness will be called or the document tendered. Any submission ultimately made about a particular witness or document not being in evidence will be considered in light of this Practice Guideline. DATA Data relating to child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Melbourne
7. The Royal Commission has conducted a comprehensive data survey of all Catholic Church authorities in Australia including the Archdiocese of Melbourne. As far as is known, data of this nature has never before been made public.
3 8. The data relates to claims and substantiated complaints that have been