Church of England boys group leader Victor Madeley guilty of sex offences

HE was a pillar of the community, a leader of a Church of England Boys Society group in a Riverina town, but under that mask lurked a sex monster who used his position to prey on the boys he was trusted to care for and nurture.

Victor Madeley, 81, is behind bars tonight after pleading guilty in Wagga District Court to 15 offences against boys aged under 16 between 1974 and 1979.

Instead of enriching the boys, he stole their innocence.

Crown solicitor, Virginia Morgan, successfully applied for a detention application to put Madeley in custody immediately, ahead of his sentencing in February.

Judge Deborah Payne granted the application.

“He has lost his presumption of innocence, it’s gone,” Judge Payne said.

“There is no prospect of him being acquitted, there is no prospect of him escaping a custodial sentence.”

Judge Payne placed a non-publication order on the name of the Riverina town in order to protect the identity of Madeley’s six known victims.

Madeley was involved in the boys group between 1974 and 1986.

In a statement released to The Daily Advertiser after Madeley’s pleas, the Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Stuart Robinson, acknowledged the significant failure of the church in past decades to deal with offenders or to provide respectful, caring and compassionate treatment for victims of sexual offenders in the church (see statement in full below).

Bishop Stuart Robinson. Picture: Goulburn Post

Bishop Stuart Robinson. Picture: Goulburn Post

Agreed facts tendered to the court detailed how many of the offences took place in Madeley’s car after he drove his victims out of town following CEBS night meetings.

After abusing one boy, Madeley said: “If you tell anybody I will tell them it was your idea and you are gay.”

He told the boy another molestation: “If you keep your mouth shut this will never happen again.”

He also admitted to one count of buggery.

In opposing the Crown’s detention application, Madeley’s barrister Alan Blackman put to Judge Payne that his client needed time before going into custody to sort out treatment for his medical conditions.

Madeley also needed his liberty to see a psychologist because it was difficult to get a psychologist to go into a prison to prepare a report to assist in sentencing.

Mr Blackman conceded Madeley would be jailed for “a number of years”.

He said Madeley would not be an unacceptable risk to the community before going into prison.

He said Madeley had no criminal history before now and the offences happened more than 40 years at a particularly difficult time in Madeley’s life when his wife was dying from cancer.

Mrs Morgan argued that Madeley’s health issues had been ongoing and he’d had time to sort out his future treatment.

And she said by and large psychologists were happy to assess prisoners via videolink with jails.

NOTE: One paragraph of this story has been removed since the original publication.

Bishop Robinson’s statement

Mr Victor Madeley, a former CEBS (Church of England Boys’ Society) leader of the Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn, has pleaded guilty and been convicted of 15 charges of historic child sexual abuse. He will be sentenced in Wagga Wagga District Court in the New Year.

The Diocese has been working with NSW Police to see the matter resolved and endeavoring to care for those who have been harmed by the person in question.

Bishop Stuart Robinson, current Bishop of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn acknowledged the significant failure of the Church in past decades to deal with offenders or to provide respectful, caring and compassionate treatment for victims of such sexual offenders in the Church.

Bishop Robinson said recently, “I apologise unreservedly to all those who have been affected by such offenders. I have a firm resolve that our procedures should provide justice and care for victims and the Diocese is working with energy and commitment to do as much as we can to rectify our past mistakes.” He said that the Diocese has established protocols to ensure it does all it can to provide within the Church a safe environment for all people. Consequently, the Diocese takes complaints made against Church workers with utmost gravity and applauds the courage of those who have come forward to report the harm perpetrated against them. Often it is only because those harmed have taken such a courageous step, that the criminal justice system is able to prosecute those who have offended against the vulnerable. The Diocese recognizes that the pain, hurt and distress caused by the abuse is deep and often lifelong.

The Diocese has implemented major changes in the care of those who have been harmed by the church. These new processes and procedures continue to be regularly evaluated.

These processes enable the Church to deal with complaints made against Church workers in a rigorous, transparent and timelier way and to provide responses and results designed to assist those who have been harmed to move towards recovery and healing. The Diocese therefore encourages anyone who has endured abuse or been mistreated by individuals or groups connected with our Diocese to contact either the Police or our Professional Standards Director on 1800 070 511.

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