Vincent Ryan WHAT JEFF CORBETT WROTE
Dear Father Ryan,
I am a Herald columnist who has written a number of times about matters relating to your pedophilia and particularly my belief that diocesan leaders and clergy whose blind eye allowed you to prey on children for so many years should have joined you in the dock.
The head of the diocese’s child protection and professional conduct unit, Helen Keevers, told the paper that the church had “completely accepted” that a second priest had been present during the assault.
Ms Keevers says, though, that despite an investigation the diocese has not been able to establish the identity of the second priest.
That, Father Ryan, is why I’m writing. The man who lodged the complaint does not know the priest’s identity but you do. Who was it?
Ms Keevers said the church had asked you in the past about whether other clergy were involved with you in sexual abuse but you had not given any information about other priests, a statement that suggests the church has not asked you as part of its investigation this time.
It is puzzling that you’d continue to protect the identity of a cohort.
Is it a brotherhood thing, priests or pedophiles standing firm together? Have you felt an obligation to protect the identity of other priests or men involved in pedophilia? Do you now?
(Herald, November 8, 2005)
VINCENT RYAN’S REPLY
Dear Mr Corbett,
Thank you for your letter of 8/11 which I received yesterday, 14/11/05. I have little hope that you will believe that I, a convicted criminal, will tell the truth especially since it denies the truth of your newspaper’s news reports about another ‘voyeur’ priest as the reporter so colourfully wrote.
I cannot prove that I’m telling the truth but I think the actions I have taken to address my offending behaviour and making a full disclosure (about those victims unknown to police) so that victims could seek help, should at least point towards my truthfulness.
I am not protecting anybody, I’ve held nothing back, I have no reason any longer to be secretive, my life is an open book for all to see.
I pleaded guilty from the day of my arrest and helped the police in every way I could.
The later further charges I didn’t mention simply because I thought it better not to visit further trauma on my victims by police questioning.
This belief was reinforced when two of my victims, from the three who later made complaints, begged me not to mention their names to police when I told them I wanted to make full disclosure.
Trying to sort out what was best, and seeking advice to help me make the right decisions, I made full disclosure when victim statement ever mentioned the presence of another person and I don’t recall the police, at that time, mentioning this matter.
The first I heard of a possible “ring” was when Detective Peter Fox visited me here in 2003 and again at a later date.
I’m not sure what gave rise to this new direction in questioning but I can only assume it was because of the allegations against Father James Fletcher.
I’ll tell you what I told Detective Fox. Up until around 1989, when I saw some TV program about sexual abuse in some orphanage in Canada, I believed that I was unique in my betrayal and never imagined that any other priest could possibly fall as low as I had done.
No, I had no knowledge of any”ring”and certainly no other priest was present during my offences.
You appear to imply that Father James Fletcher and I were close friends and that he may be the unidentified priest.
He and I knew each other as do all priests know each other in our small diocese.
But we never visited each other’s presbytery, or played golf together, or had a drink together as close friends do. I was in his company with many other priests on various occasions at conferences, Masses and other celebrations. I know nothing of his offending