VICTIMS sexually abused by a Wigan priest are demanding to know why he is still a clergyman – two years after being jailed.
Fr William Green (pictured above), formerly of Holy Family RC Church in New Springs, is currently serving a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to 27 counts of sexual assault in 2008.
Green, 69, abused six pupils aged 11 to 15 while working as a religious education teacher at St Bede’s Boys’ School in Whalley Range, Manchester, between 1975 and 1987.
Following Green’s conviction, church chiefs vowed that he would never minister to the public again as he agreed to be defrocked or “laicised” – a process involving the Vatican which would see him stripped of his priesthood and privileges.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Salford said that the laicisation was on-going and was out of their hands.
Green was asked by the Diocese of Salford in January 2009 to apply for laicisation, which he did.
The application went to the Bishop, who then sent it to Rome to be considered by the Congregation for the Defence of the Faith (CDF).
This application is still with the CDF, and the diocese could not confirm a time-frame when things might begin to move.
Fr Barry O’Sullivan, safeguarding co-ordinator at the Diocese of Salford, said: “The most important thing for the victims to know is that now he has been held to account of his offences, he will never work again as a priest. It is an ongoing process which we don’t actually control. We can’t determine the length of the process.”
But two years on, the process is still incomplete and victims and former parishioners are questing what is taking so long.
One of his former parishioners, who does not wish to be identified, said: “There seems to be a very big gap between what the church says it will do in such cases and what actually happens.
“During the summer of 2010, the Catholic bishops seemed keen to remind us that Pope Benedict XVI had led changes to church law that included fast-track dismissal from the clerical state for offenders.
“However, in practice, these processes seem to run very slowly, if at all, in the Diocese of Salford.
“William Green has still not been laicised more than two years after he was convicted and sentenced.”
In 2001, the Nolan Report was published in the wake of damaging disclosures of clerical sexual abuse and cover ups at the start of the decade.
It was designed to root out sex offenders and prevent paedophiles from entering the priesthood.
Recommendation 78 of the Nolan Report states that “if a bishop, priest or deacon is convicted of a criminal offence against children and is sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more, then it would normally be right to initiate the process of laicisation. Failure to do so would need to be justified.
“Initiation of the process of laicisation may also be appropriate in other circumstances.”