Fairy Meadow priest admits abusing boy

A retired Fairy Meadow Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually assaulting an altar boy 40 years ago.Kelvin Gerald Sharkey, 80, was too frail to enter the dock or stand yesterday when Wollongong District Court Judge Paul Conlon asked how he pleaded to two counts of indecently assaulting a male and one of buggery.Sharkey threatened the victim, telling him he would go to hell if he told his parents about the assaults."... it's okay, this is what we do," he told the boy.

  • Bishop apologises as priest pleads guilty The victim, now aged 50, was abused from the age of 10 to 16, including inside St John Vianney's Catholic Church at Fairy Meadow.The abuse continued when Sharkey moved to St Bernard's Catholic Church in Batemans Bay.The first incident occurred sometime towards the end of the 1969 school year.The victim had agreed to help Sharkey run afternoon Mass at St John Vianney's Church and after locking up, Sharkey asked the victim to sit next to him at the back of the church, where he assaulted the boy."You can't tell your mum or dad or you'll go to hell," Sharkey said when he had finished.Similar incidents occurred within the church until Sharkey was transferred to Batemans Bay in December 1971.Several months later while visiting Fairy Meadow, Sharkey saw the victim and told him, "I've missed our special times together".He asked the victim to stay with him in Batemans Bay during the school holidays and threatened that if he did not he would "tell everyone what happened".The victim complied, visiting during the September school holidays of 1972, when he was aged 13.During the second night of his stay, a naked Sharkey got into bed with the victim and raped him. The victim "froze in fear" and was crying, the court was told.Sharkey threatened to tell everyone what had happened if he did not come back during the next school holidays.The victim told police he had agreed to go back because he didn't want anyone to know.He was again raped about two years later.The last sexual assault occurred in either 1974 or 1975 after the pair had been drinking red wine.Sharkey retired from the church in 1988.Yesterday, he left court a free man. He is not on bail and has been excused from attending court on his next appearance date, in December.Defence lawyer Mark Dennis told the court Sharkey suffered age-related health issues and he would not be ready to be sentenced until he could track down his client's medical records.

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