MELBOURNE- An Australian archbishop has been found guilty on Tuesday of concealing child sex abuse by a priest, which Australian media said made him the most senior Catholic in the world to be convicted on such a charge.

Philip Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide sentencing is expected to be held in June. The maximum penalty for for his conviction is two years.

Wilson’s is accused of covering up serious  indictable offence by another priest, James Fletcher, after he was informed in 1976 when he was an assistant parish priest in the state of New South Wales.

Wilson’s who is 67, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported that Wilson’s lawyers argued that he did not know that Fletcher had abused a boy.

Fletcher was found guilty in 2004 of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in jail in 2006.

Magistrate Robert Stone ruled that the “offence proven”, in an email statement from the local court in New South Wales.

The broadcaster reported that Stone ruled he did not accept Wilson explanation that he could not remember a conversation in 1976 in which the victim, who would have been 15 at the time, had described how he was abused by Fletcher a few years earlier.

In the email statement, Wilson said, “I am obviously disappointed at the decision published today.”

He added that he will consult with his lawyers for possible steps in the future.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said Wilson had maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process.

Photo Credit- AFP

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