Christian pastor Bob Cotton
Title: Christian pastor Bob Cotton’s call to increase penalties for covering up child sex abuse
When Maitland Pastor Bob Cotton’s hard-fought push to increase penalties for concealing child sex abuse became a reality, he thought things would change.
He thought the NSW government agreeing to increase the maximum jail term from two to five years in November 2018 would mean more people who covered up child abuse in church hierarchies would be sent to prison.
But more than two years later, there’s little to show for it.
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data shows that since the sentencing reform was introduced, there have been six charges for concealing child abuse in NSW, three of which resulted in guilty verdicts.
Two of the charges and one conviction relate to Marist Brother and convicted child sex offender William Wade, the first senior Catholic in Australia to plead guilty to concealing the child sex crimes of Catholic colleagues. But Pastor Cotton said the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse exposed many more senior clergy members who knowingly concealed child sex abuse who had not been apprehended.