Rory Callinan August 20, 2012
A senior Catholic official has been called on to stand aside from the board of Daramalan College after revelations he did not report a paedophile priest to law enforcement.
Father Jim Littleton, who sits on the board of Daramalan College, failed to alert police to child abuse allegations involving Melbourne parish priest Peter Chalk in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Fairfax has uncovered evidence that police conducted a secret bugging operation of a meeting between Chalk's victims and Father Brian Gallagher from Chalk's order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) in 1994.
During the meeting, victims learned that Father Littleton and other senior figures in the order were aware of the allegations for years but did not tell police.
Yesterday one of Chalk's victims, Peter Murphy, who was abused at age 12, said Father Littleton should consider standing down from the board at the MSC-operated school while an investigation could be conducted into how the church dealt with the Chalk matter.
Mr Murphy was wired by police to record the meeting between victims and the then head of Chalk's order, Father Gallagher. He wants the role of senior MSC officials examined by the new Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations.
Daramalan College's website yesterday listed Father Littleton as a member of the college board and says he is the chairman of its policy review committee, a member of its governance committee and co-ordinator of ministry at the school and facilitating the work of the student youth ministry team.
Fairfax last month emailed questions to Father Littleton about his handling of the matter, including whether it was appropriate for him to have a board role.
MSC Provincial John Mulrooney responded confirming that Father Littleton had gone to Japan and questioned Chalk. Father Mulrooney said Chalk denied the allegations and Father Littleton ''accepted that at the time''. He said in his response: ''But it is quite clear that this would not be the case should the same allegations arise today.''
There is no suggestion that Chalk had any connection to Daramalan College.