Survivors say the Catholic Church did not inform them of the death of pedophile priest Vincent Gerard Ryan


Abuse survivors have lashed out at the Catholic Church, saying they were unaware of the death of a pedophile priest and only found out weeks after his death.

Vincent Gerard Ryan has preyed on the children of the NSW Hunter Valley for decades. He was imprisoned for over 20 years for abusing 37 victims.

But when the 84-year-old died in April, there was no public announcement or pastoral notice.

Survivors also say there were no phone calls from counselors linked to the Child Protection Unit of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Abuse survivor Scott Hallett said he was livid. Ryan’s death was not made public until six weeks later.

“Catholics keep denying and denying and denying, and like I said years ago, they just wait for all the former victims and survivors to die and say, ‘Let’s just go under the rug,'” said Mr Hallett.

Vincent Gerard Ryan was jailed for 20 years for abusing 37 victims.(ABC News: Antoinette Lattouf)

faith and fury

This week, the diocesan administrator of Maitland-Newcastle, the Reverend Gregory Barker, sent parishioners a pastoral letter, obtained by the ABC, expressing his deep regret over the abuses committed by priests and lay pedophiles.

Reverend Barker is responsible for the diocese in the absence of a bishop following the death of Bishop Bill Wright last November.

“I continue to be saddened and deeply regret what happened to so many innocent young people and their families,” Reverend Barker wrote.

There was no mention of Ryan by name, which angered some of his abuse survivors and their families.

In the letter, Bishop Wright was described as a tireless crusader in preventing abuse in the church.

Ryan’s survivors told the ABC they disagreed and remained angry that although Ryan had his priestly faculties stripped in the years before his death, he retained the title. of father.

Secrecy request from the grave

Survivors believe Ryan left a will specifying that his death will not be made public, which infuriated Geoffrey Nash whose brother Andrew took his own life in 1974.

“Some priests in the diocese, whom my mother Audrey had known for 50 years, had told her that Ryan had left a will,” Mr Nash said.

When the ABC contacted the church, it would not comment on Ryan’s will.

Instead, Reverend Barker reaffirmed the diocese’s commitment to the protection of minors and the vulnerable.

He said Ryan’s remains were treated respectfully but privately and unceremoniously.

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