Ex-Australian priest sentenced for child abuse

Former Australian priest John Joseph Farrell has been sentenced to a minimum of 29 years for a string of sexual assaults on children in the 1970s and 80s in New South Wales.

Ex-Australian priest sentenced for child abuse

Sydney: An Australian court on Monday sentenced a former Catholic priest to 29 years in prison for sexually abusing a dozen children between 1979 and 1988.

Farrell, 62, who has previously been known as "Father F", was convicted earlier this year of 79 offences against 12 victims.The assaults were committed against boys and girls around Moree, Tamworth and Armidale.Many of the victims were alter boys, but three of the victims were girls.

Many of those sitting in the public gallery of the courtroom wept as the sentence was handed down, while others clapped as the judge imposed a non-parole period of 18 years.

Judge Peter Zahra said Farrell had abused his position of trust to engage in "a deliberate course of sexual abuse", assuming he would not get caught.

"The offender was aware of and exploited the powerful position he held as a priest. He operated with supreme confidence his acts would not be detected. The victims were humiliated and degraded by the offender. They would have been confused about what was happening to them," Judge Zahra said.