A paedophile priest "had no hesitation" in warning a fellow paedophile of an altar boy's abuse complaint even though it meant breaking the seal of confession in the process, the Guardian reports.
The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse heard that victim BTU told Father Wilfred "Bill" Baker in confession at a neighbouring parish in Melbourne, Australia, that Father Ronald Pickering was abusing him. However Baker was also a paedophile and used the confession to discover what Pickering was doing and warn him, the commission heard.
"The conversation was not about the abuse that I disclosed to him; instead what Fr Baker wanted to know was where I lived ... I thought this was odd," BTU told the inquiry.
"By mentioning it to Fr Pickering, Fr Baker clearly had no hesitation in breaking the seal of my confession to him and also Fr Pickering appeared to be agitated and was clearly concerned about this," said BTU.
The inquiry heard how the abuse confused BTU because priests were "next to God."
"There were mixed messages because, on the one hand, you were taught how holy priests were and they could do no wrong.
"But on the other hand, what Fr Pickering was doing to me was the opposite of the church's teachings."
One of Baker's victims, known to the inquiry as BTO, told the inquiry he was overwhelmed someone cared about him.
"I struggle to accept that I was preyed upon as a child and that it wasn't my fault," he said.
Baker was convicted in 1999 of abusing BTO and seven other boys between 1960 and 1979. BTO receivd $35,000 in compensation but said the money made him feel like "a prostitute."
"It felt like hush money," he said.
The royal commission's inquiry is ongoing and is examining how different institutions, including the Catholic Church, have responded to allegations of abuse.