Paedophile priest Vince Ryan to walk free from Long Bay Prison on Tuesday


Key points:

  • Victims have been left angry at Ryan's release from prison
  • A former detective says Ryan will "always pose a risk"
  • Ryan previously spent 14 years in prison for abusing more than 30 boys

Notorious paedophile priest Vince Ryan will walk free from jail tomorrow after serving less than half of a three-year sentence for the historic sexual abuse of two altar boys.

The 82-year-old was granted parole last week after a pre-release report stated "the offender has demonstrated excellent prison performance" and a sentencing judge found the offender has "positive prospects of rehabilitation" upon his release from Sydney's Long Bay Prison.

Scott Hallett and Gerard McDonald gave evidence before Newcastle Court in 2016, in which they described how Ryan gave them wine as nine-year-old altar boys before subjecting them to horrific sexual abuse in the 1970s and 1980s in the NSW Hunter region.

Mr Hallett, 55, described being "overcome with anger" when he found out about Ryan's upcoming release while holidaying with his wife and three children at Surfers Paradise.

"He is just an evil man, very calculating — I don't think the guy even thinks he's done anything wrong by pure fact that he is still able to be called a priest," he said.

"I mean he has been convicted of that many crimes."

Scott Hallett
Victim Scott Hallett says Ryan is "very calculating".(ABC News: Steve Keen)

Ryan previously spent 14 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 30 boys between 1973 and 1991 — and has never apologised to any of his victims.

"When you look at all the victims, plenty has changed for us — we don't get to walk around like a normal person day to day and he's just going to come out and think he's done nothing wrong and back to being a priest," Mr Hallett said.

Newcastle Bishop Bill Wright declined an interview with the ABC, but in a statement, said he had twice written to the Pope informing him about Ryan's criminal history.

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

A board listing Vincent Ryan's name and date of birth hangs around his neck for a mugshot photo.
Ryan previously spent 14 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 30 boys.(Revelation/In Films)

"He will not make any comment on these submissions as he will not risk appearing to attempt publicly influencing the Holy See."

What the statement doesn't answer is whether Bishop Wright has asked Rome to strip Ryan of his priesthood — something Mr Hallett and other survivors would like to see happen.

"It's all about protecting the church — never admitting that they did anything wrong and to get anything out of them you virtually have to beat them with a stick," Mr Hallett said.

Vincent Ryan stands in a church in Rome in 1966.
Vincent Ryan stands in a church in Rome in 1966.(Revelation/In Films)

Former Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, who previously investigated Ryan and campaigned for a Royal Commission into clergy abuse, believes Ryan should remain locked up.

"I think Vince Ryan will always pose a risk — he is a convicted paedophile, he's abused dozens of young boys and sadly he will always be a paedophile and a risk to the community," he said.

"He's very at ease talking about his offences and I suppose that rings alarm bells for me."

Mr Fox is calling on Pope Francis to make a rule that all priests are stripped of their priesthood if found guilty of "heinous crimes" similar to those committed by Vince Ryan.

"I think the church is failing his victims if it doesn't take action and say, 'Hang on, we are also going to punish him for the crimes committed against you'," he said.

"The church has argued in the past by leaving them as a priest it gives them greater control over that individual once they are released — but didn't they have that control before they committed their crimes?"

As part of his parole conditions, Ryan must stay away from his victims and not go anywhere near children, while wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet 24 hours a day.

"Parole supervision includes face-to-face meetings and appointments with Community Corrections officers, verification checks, home visits and regular contact with NSW Police," a Corrective Services spokeswoman said.

As a frail Ryan prepares to leave his cell on Tuesday, Mr Hallett is encouraging any other potential victims of clergy abuse to contact police.

"Come and tell your story — apart from taking a weight off your shoulders, you can't let these people get away with it," he said.

(Source)


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