Bunbury bishop John Goody welcomed Father William Glover in 1959 despite known paedophile allegations, court documents reveal

Documents tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in February have revealed that in 1959, Bunbury Bishop John Goody agreed to hire a priest despite knowing he had previously sexually abused a number of boys. 

In June 1958, Father William Kevin Glover was removed as a superior and parish priest in Victoria for “immoral and criminal sexual behaviour with boys and male adolescents”. 

He was given a formal canonical warning and sent to do a 30 day penitential retreat in Armidale, NSW. 

Having been assigned a new parish, Glover was brought to Sydney in July 1959 and given a second canonical warning for committing similar offences. 

He was sent to St John of God Hospital at Richmond while attempts were made to see if another Marist Province would be willing to accept him. 

An agreement was reached in early September that Father Glover would be accepted into the Catholic Diocese of Bunbury on a three-year trial, following an appeal for priests from Bunbury’s Bishop Goody. 

In a letter dated September 15, 1959, Bishop Goody wrote to Marist Fathers Provincial James Harcombe in New South Wales requesting approval to relocated Father Glover to WA. 

An extract of Bunbury Bishop John Goody's letter to Marist Fathers Provincial James Harcombe.

An extract of Bunbury Bishop John Goody's letter to Marist Fathers Provincial James Harcombe.

“I received a letter from Father Glover, asking me whether I would consider receiving him for some work in this Diocese of Bunbury,” Bishop Goody wrote. 

“His letter was a very frank one, telling me of his troubles.

“I always feel the greatest of sympathy for a priest who has had a fall and I replied to Father Glover that I would be prepared to accept him [on a three year trial] in this Diocese if all the Canonical requirements are observed. 

“Bunbury is so distant from the Eastern States of Australia that I feel that here he would have the opportunity of a fresh start with a completely clean sheet.” 

Father Harcombe then wrote to the Superior General in Rome to update him on the plans to hire Father Glover. 

The letter described how a doctor treating Father Glover at Richmond was “convinced that if he remained, Father Glover would have done untold damage.”

An extract of the letter from Father Harcombe to the Superior General in Rome.

An extract of the letter from Father Harcombe to the Superior General in Rome.

“[The doctor] said to tell you from his experience of Father Glover at Richmond, this is the only solution to what he considers would have been a catastrophe for the Society [of Mary],” Father Harcombe wrote. 

“In a Diocese however, he will stand alone and will succeed or fail with a Bishop by the way he acts and speaks. He knows that this is his only chance and we feel that he will do anything to prove himself with the Bishop.”

Father Glover ministered in Esperance, which was part of the Diocese of Bunbury from 1959 and was shifted to Margaret River in 1979 where he remained until his retirement in 1992. He died six years later. 

The commission has recorded five allegations of child sexual abuse filed in WA between 1997 and 2014 against Father Glover for offending in the Diocese of Bunbury between 1967 and 1986.

One was also received in Victoria in 1998 for alleged offending in 1956. 

Earlier this year, Porters Lawyers began to prepare a lawsuit on behalf of three people who say they were victims of Father Glover. 

The story Documents reveal Bunbury bishop hired a priest in 1959 he knew was a paedophile first appeared on Bunbury Mail.

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