Convicted Hunter priest granted parole


Vincent Gerard Ryan, now 82, was last year jailed over the historical sexual abuse of two young boys after a judge said he was rehabilitated and unlikely to re-offend.

He had previously served 14 years behind bars for the sexual abuse of more than 30 boys.

At Ryan's NSW District Court sentencing last year, Judge Dina Yehia jailed the priest for three years and three months, with a non-parole period of 14 months.

He had been found guilty of four counts of indecent assault against two boys in the NSW Hunter region in the 1970s and 80s.

Ryan is set to walk from prison at the expiry of his non-parole period on Tuesday, after the State Parole Authority last month determined his release was appropriate.

Blue Knot Foundation president Cathy Kezelman said it was "nothing short of outrageous" that Ryan would leave prison after serving less than half of his maximum sentence.

"It brings into question the system's core understanding of the impact on victims both of these crimes, and of such leniency with convicted perpetrators," Dr Kezelman said in a statement on Monday.

"As a priest, he was in a position of trust and care and he betrayed it not once, not twice but countless times."

The SPA, in making its decision, accepted a recommendation by Community Corrections that Ryan get parole.

The authority said it took into account the sentencing judge's findings that Ryan had positive prospects of rehabilitation and that he would need an extended period of parole supervision.

Ryan had suitable post-release plans and had demonstrated excellent prison performance, the SPA said.

He will be subject to electronic monitoring and must comply with 11 standard parole conditions along with several additional conditions.

They include that he is not to be in the company of a person aged under 16 unless accompanied by a responsible adult, as determined by his parole officer.

Dr Kezelman, in a reference to the reasons for parole, said Ryan's prison performance needed to be considered "in relation to the young lives he decimated".

Asked on Monday if Ryan remained a priest, the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle said the authority to remove a priest was reserved to the Pope on advice from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Bishop Bill Wright has twice petitioned the CDF following Ryan's convictions, a statement from the diocese said.

"On both occasions, the CDF were provided with the presiding justices' judgments and sentencing remarks and other relevant information," the statement said.

"As part of these submissions, the bishop has offered his opinion to the Pope, as to what should occur with Ryan's priesthood."

Bishop Wright has said he won't comment on his submissions as he doesn't want to appear to be trying to publicly influence the Holy See.

(Source)


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