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Father Paul David Ryan’s child-sex crimes

Catholic Church authorities have covered up many child-sex crimes. Hundreds of priests have threatened and still threaten the church’s reputation by their history abuse and cover-ups. One such perpetrator of child sexual abuse is Father Paul David Ryan.

Who is Paul David Ryan?

A Brief Biography:

  • September 12, 1948 – Paul David Ryan was born in Melbourne.
  • He began the preparation for the priesthood at St. Francis Xavier Seminary in Adelaide.
  • 1971 – For unknown reasons, he was forced to leave the seminary.
  • For a long time, Paul David Ryan’s mentor was Father Ronald Dennis Pickering, who had valuable connections in the Catholic Church.
  • First, concerns about Ryan were raised even before Ryan’s ordination. The first complaints about Ryan’s not only “personal interest” in children came from Mrs Donoghue, mother of two sons, BPM and BPN.
  • Bishop Mulkearns writes ‘no incidents’ arose in Ballarat before Ryan’s ordination.
  • Some priests had concerns about Ryan before his ordination and wanted to be sure he was not a homosexual, but no one expressed any thought that he was a paedophile.
  • None of these assumptions prevented Ryan from becoming a priest and gaining access to children. Moreover, the church has long covered up institutional child sexual abuse by silencing Ryan’s actions.

Paul David Ryan in the US

Paul David Ryan had to travel to the United States several times, willingly or by necessity.

On one of these trips, he was also found to have sexually abused children.

It took place in 1979 at Star of the Sea Parish in Virginia, where he worked as a counsellor at Star of the Sea Catholic School (a primary school).

For example, when Ryan worked at Star of the Sea School, one of the boys was 14 years old. The boy reported that Ryan got him drunk on alcohol and marijuana and took the boy to bed, where he sexually abused him.

Two other boys stated that Ryan conducted “counselling” and “religious classes” with the two boys (when they were about 14 and 15 years old) and sexually abused them.

Presumably, the church knew about the crimes but covered them up, as did many others.

In 1980 Paul David Ryan returned to Australia.

Mrs Helen Watson’s complaint about institutional child sexual abuse

Ryan was appointed assistant priest at Terang in 1986.

In 1988, Paul David Ryan was appointed parish priest at Penshurst. He was removed from the parish and sent to Ararat parish after a complaint about his attempt to bathe with a 12-year boy. Ryan admitted to attempting to abuse a child sexually.

Paul David Ryan was not under the supervision or exceptional control of the church at this time, nor was he undergoing treatment. Nor was his contact and access to children restricted, which is inexcusable and cannot be justified given previous allegations and complaints that he had sexually abused children.

In 1991, while Ryan was in Ararat parish, he sexually abused a 16-year-old boy, Peter Watson. The crime resulted in the suicide of Peter Watson in 1999.

In 1997, the Professional Standards Resource Group of the Catholic Church in Victoria (“Toward Healing”) received a complaint from Mrs Helen Watson, who indicated that Father Paul David Ryan had abused her son Peter Watson. By this time, Peter had attempted suicide at least twice. Helen Watson attributed the complex mental condition of her son directly to institutional child sexual abuse and the events at Ararat parish in 1991.

Mrs Watson reported that her son loved sports and had a quick mind, but he had changed dramatically after meeting with Ryan, became anxious, and used drugs.

Ryan brought her son to the family farm after the boy stayed overnight at the parish house. Father Ryan smelled of alcohol.

After that day, her son’s mental health was severely damaged, and his life was spoiled.

Later, without giving his name, Peter told the psychologist that a priest had abused him.

At 24, Peter was admitted to a mental institution but went missing in 1999. Only six years later, police exhumed the unidentified body of a suicide victim and determined that it was Peter.

He ended his life by suicide.

Institutional child sexual abuse has extremely negative effects on the mental health of survivors, poisoning their adult lives.

Convictions in 2006 and 2019

In 2006, Ryan pleaded guilty in Australia to sexually abusing youths and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

In addition, a legal settlement has been reached with the two survivors, and they are to be paid about $37,000 each.

Ryan was arrested a second time in 2019 following a national investigation into institutional child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. The three men claimed to have experienced child sexual abuse as teenagers in the 1980s. In 2019, Ryan was sentenced again to 17 months in prison.

If you or someone you know would like to talk to one of our historical sexual abuse specialists, for free and in confidence, about your legal options, please feel free to either complete the form below with the best way and the best time to contact you, or you can call us on 02 9283 5599.

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