North Melbourne has landed prized father-son selection Luke McDonald but they are unsure of St Kilda’s plans for veteran midfielder Nick Dal Santo.
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North is keen to secure the three-time All-Australian but it is understood St Kilda is pushing for an early draft choice for the 29-year-old, who is happy to stay at the club but also open to moving. Dal Santo has activated a trigger clause meaning he is contracted to the Saints for 2014, but could be released from that and moved as a free agent.

Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said his club had ”held up our end of the bargain”.

”I think Nick is very much in discussions with St Kilda as to what’s best for that club. Nick, quite rightly, is a St Kilda player and he wants to do what’s best by St Kilda,” Scott said.

”I think once both parties have come to an agreement as to which is the best way to go for their club, then they’ll let us know. But we’ve registered our interest, we really like him, we think he’d fit into our playing group really well. But it’s a matter for St Kilda and Nick to work that out.”

Former Kangaroo Luke Delaney wants to join the Saints, with the two clubs opening discussions on a deal. This could involve a trade for Dal Santo.

”Luke’s nominated St Kilda as his club of choice. Now again, St Kilda have got to come forward and basically put a deal to us,” Scott said. ”We’re really keen to help Luke get to his club of choice. We really rate him as a person so we’d like to see him get another go somewhere else.”

In other trade news, Brisbane must work several trades, with Billy Longer requesting a trade to Hawthorn, Elliot Yeo keen to play for West Coast next year and Sam Docherty hoping to be traded back to a Victorian club. Carlton is understood to be the running defender’s preference, with Essendon a possibility should the Bombers move Stewart Crameri to the Western Bulldogs.

The Lions have asked Hawthorn for a first-round pick in return for Longer but are also open to bringing in replacement players and not simply looking to load up on draft picks.

Clubs consider the coming national draft to be reasonably weak, meaning draft picks beyond the third round have little to no value.

Greater Western Sydney has asked for pick 21 for defender Josh Bruce, a former zone player who is out of contract after playing 14 games in two years. Sam Fisher has been linked with the Giants, but their current priority is Collingwood defender Heath Shaw.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.Read More →

South Australia’s former international spinner Johan Botha has again had his bowling action called into question, cited and facing another suspension unless he can successfully pass a biomechanical analysis ordered by Cricket Australia.
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The 31-year-old, who has a history of issues with his action, is in the meantime still eligible to play and bowl in the Ryobi Cup, with the Redbacks due to take on Tasmania at Bankstown Oval on Wednesday. He has 14 days to have the analysis conducted on his action.

”Under CA’s Doubtful Bowling Action Procedure, a bowler must undergo testing after a single mention for a suspected illegal bowling action in an interstate season,” Cricket Australia said. ”For the 2013-14 season onwards this policy has changed to a single mention, rather than the previous requirement of three mentions.”

Botha was previously reported after his Test debut for South Africa against Australia in 2006 and then suspended by the ICC before having his action tested and found to be illegal a second time that year.

After returning he was then banned from bowling the doosra in 2009 after an ODI against Australia.

He was cited on Monday following a Ryobi Cup game against Victoria at Bankstown last Friday.

”That [the doosra] might have been one of his problem deliveries in the past,” said Victoria’s Cameron White. ”But, to be honest, he didn’t bowl the doosra to me as such the other day while I was batting.”

South Australia’s director of cricket, Jamie Cox, said the Redbacks were behind Botha. ”We acknowledge that there is a process to be undertaken and the SACA will support Johan and work with him though this process,” Cox said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.Read More →

Luke McDonald hadn’t felt nervous. He had grown up around North Melbourne, gone on last year’s pre-season camp, trained at Arden Street one day a week and come to know all of the players and coaches. It was only on Sunday night that he wondered: what if they don’t pick me?
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He didn’t have to wait long. McDonald became a North player a few seconds after 10am on Monday. West Coast bid its No.6 draft pick for the midfielder but North matched that with its own first-round pick, No.8, meaning the 18-year-old will be there for the start of pre-season training, instead of having to wait until the national draft in November.

Already, it feels like his second summer. McDonald was allowed to travel with North to Utah last October because the club had already committed to taking him as a father-son pick. He didn’t really know anyone and he wasn’t sure whether to talk up or keep quiet, so until he felt more at ease he stuck to the person he did know: his father, Donald, then the club’s football manager.

”There was a lot to get used to, because when you first start you want to make a good impression,” he said. ”But you also want to be yourself, so you’re not sure whether to come out of your shell and be really outgoing or whether to keep to yourself.

”You want to be respected more than liked and it’s good that I’ve been through that now and feel more comfortable. I can be myself and not worry too much about what people are thinking about me.

”I suppose I feel like I’ve already had my first year at the club. I’ve got to know everyone, I’ve put on a fair bit of weight and it’s going to be a lot easier for me.”

Having finished year 12, McDonald started an arts degree this year, his university timetable giving him time to do more training, working hard with North Melbourne’s development coaches on his ”kicking, marking, handballing and everything in between”.

He played for Werribee in the VFL, starting well, working his way out of a mid-season slump and finding some excellent form in the finals. ”I’m glad I did have that struggle, because it was a good thing to have to deal with and it made me want to finish off the year well and be determined not to let it happen again.”

And while his wait is over, the nerves aren’t. Now that he knows where he is playing he wants to know where the draft will take Jack Billings, Ben Lennon and other close friends. ”I was hoping I’d end up getting picked in the second round so that we had a chance of getting one of those boys,” he said. ”It’s exciting and nervous times for them, but I’ve been through a bit of what they’re feeling and I can be there for them.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.Read More →

As one door opened for Dale Thomas at Carlton on Monday, another officially closed as it sent Blues ruckman Shaun Hampson to Richmond.
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The Blues will receive Richmond’s second-round pick, No. 28 overall, in exchange for the man who began the season as part of Mick Malthouse’s forward structure but slipped out of favour.

Richmond football boss Dan Richardson said Hampson would provide valuable support for frontline big man Ivan Maric, easing the need for Tyrone Vickery to be used as a back-up ruckman.

”Tyrone’s been playing mostly forward, anyway. If Hampson is to come in, we’re certainly looking for him to complement our ruck stocks and share the load with Ivan,” Richardson said.

Hampson played 63 matches for the Blues, but only six this year, having been taken with the 17th pick in the 2006 national draft.

But Richardson ruled out making a bid for Geelong veteran Paul Chapman. ”I don’t know where [those reports] come from actually. We haven’t really had any discussion at all about Chappy.”

He also ruled out a bid for Collingwood’s Heath Shaw.

While Shaw waits, another Magpie is about to begin a new life, with Thomas joining the Blues.

Before heading overseas for a break, Thomas said on Monday he had endured a ”tough couple of years” at Collingwood but looked forward to reinvigorating his career at Carlton on what is understood to be a four-year contract worth almost $3 million.

Having battled ankle problems in the past two years and managing only five senior matches this season and none since round seven, the 2010 premiership star said he was keen to again link with Malthouse, his former Collingwood coach.

”I’m very excited [to] get back with Mick obviously, getting to Carlton, a team on the improve, and hopefully I can play some good footy there,” he said.

Thomas said his ankle had been ”sweet” for a month, while the Blues are confident he will be a force in the midfield and also kick some goals.

Thomas, who bypassed the Magpies’ best-and-fairest count last Friday, said he had no ill feelings towards his former club, where he played 157 matches.

Thomas, 26, said Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley had accepted his decision.

”I called him up and then obviously went in and had a meeting with him,” he said. ”Bucks has got no hard feelings. I explained my decision to him and he was happy with that.

”He’s obviously got a fantastic group there at Collingwood and he’s going to steer them in the direction he wants. Hopefully it won’t be too good against Carlton, but I wish those boys all the best of luck.”

Thomas is one of four so-called ”rat pack” members to have left, or be leaving, Collingwood. Ben Johnson retired through the season, Alan Didak has been delisted, while Shaw will traded, should a suitable deal be done.

Thomas’ defection means the Blues have ultimately secured the top two picks of the 2005 national draft. Marc Murphy was taken as a priority pick at No. 1, with Thomas also a priority at No. 2.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.Read More →

While Cox Plate hopeful It’s A Dundeel has largely turned the corner in his bid for Australia’s most important weight-for-age event, he is still far from certain to contest the Caulfield Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday – a key lead-up race.
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Just an hour after Racing Victoria stewards examined It’s A Dundeel at his Flemington stable on Monday, a hoof abscess that had been troubling the four-year-old since last week finally burst.

Chief steward Terry Bailey said trainer Murray Baker’s veterinary surgeon had advised that a three-quarter shoe had been applied to the troubled near-fore hoof so It’s A Dundeel could trot and canter in beachwork on Tuesday.

”The stable have informed me they are hoping It’s A Dundeel, if all is well, will gallop on Wednesday morning and be fit to take its place in the Caulfield Stakes,” Bailey said.

The stable tried to give It’s A Dundeel a light workout on Saturday but his leg was still too sore. The Sydney triple crown winner has not worked since Thursday.

Baker has arrived in Australia from New Zealand and will make the final call on whether the stallion starts on Saturday.

It’s A Dundeel thundered to the top of Cox Plate markets after a hard-fought victory over Atlantic Jewel in the Underwood Stakes last month, with Saturday’s return bout one of the most anticipated contests of the spring.

Bailey also advised that Caulfield Guineas contender Aussies Love Sport was ”very lame” at trainer Gai Waterhouse’s Flemington stables on Monday and in serious doubt for Saturday’s group 1 classic.

The horse sustained an injury in the float on the way to Melbourne from Sydney.

Bookmaking firm Betstar confirmed on Monday that It’s A Dundeel had been a dramatic drifter in Cox Plate betting since news broke of his injury setback on Saturday.

It’s A Dundeel was a firm $3.60 equal favourite with Atlantic Jewel but is now out to $4.20 while Atlantic Jewel has firmed into $3.

”It’s an understandable reaction by punters as we are very close to the Cox Plate and to miss any work is a major problem,” said Betstar principal Alan Eskander on Monday.

Atlantic Jewel worked well on Saturday morning in preparation for the Caulfield Stakes, and trainer Mark Kavanagh is certain the five-year-old mare will strip a lot fitter than she was when she suffered her first defeat in the Underwood Stakes.

Meanwhile, leading jockey Craig Williams on Monday failed in his appeal against the severity of a 10-meeting suspension incurred for his winning ride on Anatina in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

Despite Williams believing there were contributing factors to the interference and it was a low-grade offence, the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board dismissed his appeal.

It will mean he will miss the ride on the Danny O’Brien-trained Shamus Award in the Caulfield Guineas on Saturday.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.Read More →


NEWCASTLE Knights fullback Darius Boyd is expected to be reunited with Queensland back-line partner Greg Inglis during Australia’s World Cup campaign as he chases the one trophy that has eluded him.
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Boyd was the only Knights player selected in the 24-man squad announced yesterday.

Back-rower Beau Scott was included in the train-on squad after Newcastle were eliminated from the NRL finals but did not make the touring party for the tournament in England and Wales.

Knights juniors Greg Bird (Titans) and Boyd Cordner (Roosters) were also selected.

Newcastle-born Bird, who hails from the West Maitland Red Dogs, is expected to add to his tally of six Test appearances at his first World Cup.

In Cordner’s case, his selection came less than 24 hours after he played in the Roosters’ 26-18 victory over Manly in the grand final on Sunday night.

The 21-year-old Old Bar Pirates product, Cronulla’s Andrew Fifita and Canberra’s Josh Papalii were the three uncapped players named for the Kangaroos, who will be captained by Melbourne and Queensland skipper Cameron Smith.

The Newcastle Herald tried to speak to Boyd about his selection but a Knights spokeswoman referred that request to Australian team management.

An Australian team spokesman said the 26-year-old Mudgeeraba Redbacks import was unavailable to speak to the media until Thursday, at the earliest, when the team assembles in Sydney for a half-day camp and lunch with the 1963 Kangaroos.

Boyd has won two premierships with the Broncos and Dragons, including the 2010 Churchill Medal, has played in the past six of Queensland’s eight straight Origin series wins, and was a member of Australia’s triumphant Four Nations squad in 2011, but is yet to win a World Cup.

He made his Test debut on the wing in Australia’s 46-6 victory over Papua New Guinea in Townsville in his only appearance at the 2008 Centenary World Cup. New Zealand upset Australia 34-20 at Suncorp Stadium in the final of that tournament.

Boyd has played 11 Tests and 17 State of Origin games, mostly on the left wing outside Inglis.

The Kangaroos will train at Jubilee Oval on Sunday then leave for England on Monday.

Australia will kick off the tournament against co-host nation England at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on October26, then complete their pool matches against Fiji at St Helens on November2, and Ireland at Limerick on November9.

The Knights did not have a player named in the Junior Kangaroos to play the Junior Kiwis at Jubilee Oval on Sunday but 19-year-old Wellington-born back-rower Joseph Tapine was included for the Junior Kiwis.

Darius Boyd in action against the Storm in September.

The World Cup will be held in the UK and Ireland from October 26.

Australian squad:Greg Bird, Darius Boyd, Daly Cherry-Evans, Boyd Cordner, Cooper Cronk, Robbie Farah, Andrew Fifita, Paul Gallen, Jarryd Hayne, Greg Inglis, Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Brett Morris, Josh Morris, Nate Myles, Josh Papalii, Corey Parker, Matt Scott, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith (capt), James Tamou, Brent Tate, Sam Thaiday, Jonathan Thurston.

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THE Catholic Church says it has accepted that notorious pedophile priest Vince Ryan sexually abused a young boy while another clergyman looked on.
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The Herald has learnt that the Maitland-Newcastle diocese paid compensation to Ryan’s victim several months ago after the man came forward under the church’s Towards Healing program.

The diocesan child protection and professional conduct unit manager Helen Keevers said the church informed police and the NSW Ombudsman of the fresh claim immediately after it was revealed in a formal statement from the victim earlier this year.

Ms Keevers said the victim’s statement that a “second unidentified priest” was present during the abuse had been “completely accepted” by the church and diocesan head Bishop Michael Malone.

It is the first piece of evidence accepted by the church that points to other clergy knowing of Ryan’s pedophilia more than 20 years before he was convicted of child sex crimes.

Ms Keevers said the church had investigated the victim’s story to try to confirm the identity of the second clergyman but was unable to do so.

The incident occurred in the early 1970s when Ryan was working at East Maitland.

The sex predator is serving a 20-year jail sentence for 53 offences on young Hunter boys aged six to 14 between 1972 and 1991.

The church had investigated whether the second priest was another convicted pedophile, Jim Fletcher, who was sentenced earlier this year to 10 years’ jail for the continuous sexual assault on a teenage boy about 20 years after the East Maitland incident.

“We don’t know if it was Father Fletcher, it could have been him or several other priests,” Ms Keevers said.

“We have taken it as far as we can so far, but we need this person to come forward again.

“The [investigation into the identity of the second priest] is closed at the moment. We can’t make a complaint if we don’t know the identity of the priest.”

The victim was unable to name the priest but gave limited information about what type of car he drove and other factors that could lead to his identification.

Ms Keevers said the unit, which was only set up earlier this year to combat sexual assault in the diocese, launched an in-depth investigation to find the priest but had run out of leads.

The church would not disclose the amount of compensation paid to the latest Ryan victim.

It also revealed it was aware “that potentially, there are victims of Father Vince Ryan and Father Jim Fletcher who may not be known to the church or to the police”.


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FIRST came the sex scandal. Then there were lawsuits. Now there are bankruptcies.
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And some economic analysts believe this could be just the beginning of the financial fallout from widespread charges of clerical sexual abuse within the US Catholic Church.

Nearly 11,000 people have accused priests of child sexual abuse from 1950 through 2002, according to a church-commissioned study released in 2004. There could be thousands more who have not yet come forward.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has acknowledged this as its worst scandal and vowed to “heal the hurt that has happened”, in the words of departing conference president Bishop Wilton Gregory.

The question is how to pay for it.

“Even without the sex abuse scandal, the Catholic Church was in deep financial difficulty,” said Charles Zech, an economics professor at Villanova University who monitors church finances.

Professor Zech said the church’s money troubles included the costs of deferred maintenance on church properties, the ageing of its low-cost workforce of priests and nuns and its disproportionate holdings in real estate often run-down inner-city buildings that are hard to sell.

Frank Butler, president of a group of major donors to Catholic institutions, said the problems could go deeper.

“Many of the archdioceses are very marginal operations, and the reason for that is they have a very ageing infrastructure that includes the parishes and schools,” Mr Butler said from the Washington-based Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities.

In addition, American Catholics gave less per person to their individual churches than Protestants or Jews did, Mr Butler said, adding that those who did give were getting older.

“Their donor base would seem to be shrinking,” he said.

Added to these long-term problems are expected payments that could total billions of dollars nationally to victims of priest sexual abuse.

Nearly three years after the pedophile scandal erupted in Boston, that archdiocese has sold real estate to help pay $US87 million ($112.58 million) in claims by 541 people.

The diocese in Orange, California, recently settled claims of 87 alleged abuse victims that reportedly will total more than the Boston settlement, with an average $US1.1 million ($1.42 million) payment per plaintiff.

Los Angeles, the largest archdiocese in the US, could face hundreds of lawsuits, with some estimates putting a possible total settlement there at $US1 billion ($1.29 billion) or more.

This is a small fraction of the US Catholic Church’s annual revenue, which in 2001 was an estimated $US102 billion ($A132 billion). For individual dioceses, though, such settlements can be devastating.

Three dioceses Spokane, Washington; Portland, Oregon, and Tucson, Arizona have filed for protection from creditors under the US bankruptcy code.

Joseph Harris, a Seattle-based management expert who has analysed the US Catholic Church’s revenues, said he was initially surprised to learn of the bankruptcy filings but not after he had checked the numbers in the Portland case.

“If I was working as a financial manager . . . I don’t know what you do with $US341 million ($441.25 million) in claims,” as there were in the Portland diocese, Mr Harris said. “We are going into uncharted territory.”

Some US bishops have stressed that the choice to file for bankruptcy or reach a negotiated settlement puts all plaintiffs on an equal footing, as opposed to the first-come, first-served procedure that would favour the first to file individual claims and leave those who come forward later at a disadvantage.

But these paths also mean that it will be up to a bankruptcy judge to decide who actually owns church property a question that caused dissent in the 19th century and what can be sold off to pay victims’ claims.

The bishops have said they do not own church property, but hold it in trust for parishioners.

If bankruptcy judges find that parishioners themselves own church property and can dispose of it as they see fit, that would be a major shift, Zech said.

Until the 19th century, US Catholic parishioners had financial control of their churches. But in a move aimed at allowing priests to act with autonomy, the Vatican Council of 1869-1870 gave the popes ordinary jurisdiction in every Catholic diocese.

“If you start telling parishioners they own church property, they’re going to insist on all kinds of things that the bishops aren’t prepared to give them: the right to hire their own pastor, the right to dispose of property far more possibility than they currently have,” Professor Zech said.

“For the worldwide church, they’re opening such an issue that they shouldn’t want to have to deal with,” he said. Reuters

ABUSE: Protesters demonstrate outside the Middlesex Superior Courthouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 11, 2002 as accused Catholic pedophile priest Paul Shanley is released on bail.

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DEPARTING: Stewart Perry is heading for a parish in the north.‘‘COME to church, for Christ’s sake,’’ reads the board outside St John’s Anglican church in Cooks Hill.
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Quick with a joke andalways topical, the board is about to fall under new management. Stewart Perry, the young reverend who stamped his personality on it for seven years, is due north.

‘‘We’re heading to the Gold Coast, so I’m going to have to layer on the SPF-40,’’ Mr Perry told Topics.

‘‘I’m very sad to leave St John’s. It has been awesome. I blame God.’’

The Perrys – Stewart, his wife Leanne and their children Anika, 11, and Caleb, 4 – will take up a posting in the Parish of Robina.

Topics is sorry to see them go, not least because it casts doubt on the sign’s future. We raised our concerns with the departing reverend. He hinted at a plan of succession.

‘‘I’m sure someone will take over the sign,’’ Mr Perry said.

‘‘And I might have to start one up in Robina.’’

So as the reverend disappears up the highway to save the souls (we guess) of Gold Coasters like Bernard Tomic and Schapelle Corby, let us reflect.

Normal service

WE’VE been talking about customer service, and how much one should expect.

Reader Todd reports that some mates, out for a feed in a Newcastle suburb, ducked into a bottle shop.

‘‘There was a bunch of customers in there, but when they got up to the counter they found a sign that said, ‘Having dinner, back in 15 minutes’,’’ reports Todd.

‘‘Apparently the guy working there was eating out the back so they and a bunch of other people walked out empty-handed – they could have easily walked out without paying. Definitely not the type of person you want working for you.’’

Speaking of service, Topics once visited a roast chicken place. The kid behind the counter grunted ‘‘what you havin’?’’. We ordered a burger with beetroot, which prompted our attendant to enquire ‘‘what sauce you want?’’

‘‘What sauce do you have?’’ asked Topics.

‘‘Normal sauce,’’ he replied, scowling.

‘‘Give us that, then.’’

And with that, the kid squeezed the contents of a tube onto our burger. We never found out what ‘‘normal sauce’’ was.

Too matey matey

PETER Stroud-Watts, of Wallsend, writes in response to ‘‘Well, um, look, mate’’ (Topics, October 5).

‘‘What really gets up my nose is pimply faced 17, 18-year-olds at supermarket checkouts asking me ‘What have you been up to today?’ ‘Got any plans for the weekend?’’’ says Peter.

‘‘What is going on here? I’m old enough to be their grandfather! For goodness sake, whoever trains them, give them politer, more relevant questions to ask. A simple, ‘How are you?’ would suffice.’’

Donna Norris, of Glendale, argues that ‘‘mate’’ has its place.

‘‘I’ve been told I know a lot of people, so the word ‘mate’ is handy when you can’t remember the person’s name even though you have known them for 30 or more years.’’

‘‘Very embarrassing. That’s why I like ‘gidday mate’. I don’t like ‘matey’ or ‘buddy’ – they seem condescending.’’

RELIGIOUS SIGN: The board outside St John’s.

RELIGIOUS SIGN: The board outside St John’s.

RELIGIOUS SIGN: The board outside St John’s.

RELIGIOUS SIGN: The board outside St John’s.

RELIGIOUS SIGN: The board outside St John’s.

RELIGIOUS SIGN: The board outside St John’s.

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THE Catholic Church has declined to comment on conflicting stories surrounding convicted Hunter pedophile priests Vincent Ryan and James Fletcher.
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The Herald reported on November 4 that in settling a compensation claim the diocese had accepted that another clergyman looked on when Father Ryan abused a young boy in the early 1970s.

Diocese child protection and professional conduct unit manager Helen Keevers was reported as saying the church “completely accepted” the victim’s allegations.

She said the church had investigated the victim’s story.

Though the identity of the second clergyman might never be known, it could have been Fletcher or several other priests.

In a letter published in the Herald on Saturday, Ryan denied that Fletcher, any other priest, adult or lay person was involved in his offences.

Ryan said police were the only ones to interview him about his abusive behaviour and called for an explanation/apology from the diocese for Ms Keevers’s statements and an apology from The Herald.

On Sunday, Singleton parish priest Matthew Muller told his congregation during Mass in St Catherine’s Church, Greta, that The Herald’s reporting on the matter was incorrect.

Father Muller said Ms Keevers had told The Herald the wrong thing or had been misquoted.

He did not say whether all, or which parts of Ms Keevers’s statements were wrong.

Father Muller asked parishioners to write down their opinions on the situation and give them to him next Sunday so he could better understand the community’s feelings and respond appropriately.

The Herald could not obtain comment yesterday from Father Muller or Ms Keevers.

On November 4, Ms Keevers indicated to a Herald journalist the report in that day’s newspaper was accurate and balanced.

A spokeswoman for the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese said late yesterday that, after legal advice, no comment would be made.

The diocese wanted to consult its community and a considered public response was possible in several weeks, she said.

Ryan is serving a 20-year jail term for 53 offences on Hunter boys between 1972 and 1991.

Fletcher was sentenced this year to 10 years for the assault of a Hunter boy.

The Herald, November 4, 2005, page 1

The Herald, November 4, 2005, page 2

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