Australian archbishop avoids jail over sex abuse cover-up

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A former Australian archbishop, the most senior Catholic cleric in the world convicted of concealing child sex abuse, avoided jail on Tuesday when he was ordered to serve his one-year sentence at home, according to Australian media.

Former Australian archbishop Philip Wilson arrives at Newcastle Local Court for a post-sentence decision where he was ordered to serve his one-year sentence at home, after he was convicted of concealing child sex abuse, in Newcastle, Australia August 14, 2018. AAP/Darren Pateman/via REUTERS

Newcastle Court Magistrate Robert Stone allowed Philip Wilson, 67, to serve his detention at home after an assessment by prison authorities due to a range of health issues faced by the former archbishop.

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Australian Broadcasting Corp TV said Wilson would begin serving his detention on Tuesday.

Wilson has said he plans to appeal against his conviction for failing to disclose to police abuse by a priest, Father James Fletcher, after being told about it in 1976 by two victims.

Wilson resigned as archbishop of Adelaide in July, two months after being convicted. He wanted to hold on to the position until he completed his appeal but came under pressure from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and fellow clerics to quit.

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