‘The Altar Boys’ launches amid renewed calls for answers

Investigate Father Walsh Death

Title: ‘The Altar Boys’ launches amid renewed calls for answers
Author: Rebecca Riddle
Publisher: NewcastleWeekly
Date: 20AUG2020

The launch of an explosive new book in Newcastle has marked the start of fresh calls for a police investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of whistle-blowing Hunter priest, Father Glen Walsh.Two dozen survivors, their families and supporters gathered before the backdrop of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton, on Thursday afternoon, pledging to continue to fight for what they called “an overdue need for change”.

The crowd was joined by Greens Senator David Shoebridge, who said The Altar Boys, written by Suzanne Smith, had raised questions about the treatment Walsh was subjected to before his suicide.

Walsh took his own life in November 2017, two weeks before he was due to appear as a Crown prosecution witness in the case against Archbishop Philip Wilson, who was, at the time, the highest-ranking Catholic convicted of child sex abuse in the world.

The Altar Boys includes never-before published reports, emails and police statements regarding the alleged decades-long cover-up of clerical abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese.

Smith said she believed Walsh was bullied and readers should start by asking why.

“There are 400,000 priests in the world – why did Glen Walsh get an invitation to a meeting with the Pope and what was discussed there?” she said.

“If one Catholic priest stands up against the church, we need to know what happens to them, we need to ask the questions.”

Smith, a six-time Walkley Award-winning investigative reporter, said her book was a tribute to her friend and long-time colleague Steven Alward.

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