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Priests met before abuse claims

Accused child molester and Catholic priest Father F allegedly visited Father Paul Rex Brown at his Tweed Heads rectory twice in the 1980s.
Accused child molester and Catholic priest Father F allegedly visited Father Paul Rex Brown at his Tweed Heads rectory twice in the 1980s.

THE alleged paedophile priest dubbed Father F who featured on the ABC's Four Corners program on Monday twice visited a former Lismore priest at Tweed Heads also accused of child abuse.

The Northern Star has learnt that Father F, as he is known for legal reasons, visited Father Paul Rex Brown at his Tweed Heads rectory in the early 80s and in 1987.

Father Brown, who died in 2005 and was convicted of child pornography offences in 1996, was accused by former street kid Eric Fleissig of abusing him at Tweed Heads' Futcher House youth refuge between 1982 and 1985.

Mr Fleissig could not be contacted this week but he told The Northern Star in 2008 that he reported Father Brown's abuse to church officials at the time who interrogated him and another boy before asking them to leave the church's care.

He also said that Fr Brown had been moved to St Joseph's Parish at Tweed Heads from Lismore amid allegations of sexual abuse.

An investigation by Broken Rites, a support group for victims of church-related sex abuse, found that in the early 1980s a family complained to the Lismore diocese that Father Brown had sexually assaulted their son.

According to Broken Rites', the diocese "solution" was to transfer him to Kyogle and later Tweed Heads "thus inflicting him on more potential victims".

"At Tweed Heads, Fr Brown would often choose a homeless boy to live with him in the presbytery as his sexual partner," a Broken Rites report said.

Police detectives told Broken Rites that Father Brown was once a scoutmaster.

Father F, since defrocked but now living in Armidale and a prominent member of the community, is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing boys since the early 1980s in parishes from Moree to Parramatta.

The archdiocese of Armidale has launched an investigation into Father F and NSW police also said it was assessing the claims aired on Four Corners.

The saga, which follows multiple scandals involving sexual abuse by clergy members, has prompted renewed calls for a royal commission into abuse in the Catholic Church.

Topics:  catholic church, child abuse, four corners, paedophile, paul rex brown


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