ANOTHER serial paedophile priest is behind bars with victims saying he could be among Australia’s most prolific child sexual abusers.
Robert Claffey was today compared with Australia’s worst paedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, with one of his victims saying he was even more cunning.
Claffey, who has admitted molesting 14 kids, and Ridsdale, who says his victims number hundreds, worked together in the Catholic Church’s Ballarat diocese.
When Ridsdale was moved from the diocese’s Apollo Bay parish for abusing kids, Claffey replaced him.
There was no relief for the parish’s vulnerable children, one child rapist had simply been replaced by another.
One of Claffey’s victims had already been abused by Ridsdale when the priest molested him.
He said Claffey was “more astute and subtle” in the way he groomed victims than Ridsdale.
After Claffey got to him he attacked him with a cricket bat.
“I swung as hard as I could and cracked him on the left arm,” he said.
“When I swung at his head, he left.”
Claffey’s abuse didn’t stop there.
He has admitted offending between 1970, the year after he was ordained, to 1992, three years after former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns documented complaints against Claffey.
He forced him to resign as a parish priest, but later installed him as an assitant at another parish.
In his decades-long reign of terror Claffey, 73, abused kids as young as four at their schools, home, and church.
One boy was molested as Claffey dressed for mass, while a little girl was abused while Claffey was dressed in his vestments.
Another was preyed upon two days after a family member was killed. Claffey had visited him to offer pastoral support.
Plea hearing for paedophile priest Robert Claffey in County Court Shannon Deery, Herald Sun September 19, 2016