Ex-priest John Farrell is named in court on 26 charges regarding five children in northern New South Wales
By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 July 2015
Former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell appeared in Sydney’s Central Local Court on 30 June 2015, charged with 26 sexual offences which were allegedly committed against five boys between 1981 and 1984 in northern New South Wales. According to court documents, some of these 26 offences allegedly occurred while Father Farrell was based at the Moree parish (within the Armidale Catholic diocese); and some allegedly occurred when Father Farrell visited a parish at Tweed Heads (in the Lismore diocese) on the NSW north coast. This court case is confined to these five children (and these 26 charges) and it does not include any charges which Farrell might face regarding any other children.
Father John Joseph Farrell worked as a Catholic priest in the 1980s and the early 1990s. He later lived at a private address in the town of Armidale until late 2012. More recently, he has been living in the Harden area (between Young and Yass) in southern NSW.
In late June 2015 John Joseph Farrell was arrested at Harden by a Sydney-based specialist team of detectives from the Sex Crime Squad of the NSW Police. Police charged him with the 26 alleged offences, with no police bail. On June 25, he was taken in custody to a local court (at Wagga in southern NSW) to enable these 26 charges to be officially filed. Farrell entered the courtroom with two Corrective Services officers. Two specialist detectives were present in court.
In the June 25 hearing, Farrell’s lawyer applied for a media-suppression order which would prevent Farrell’s name from being published. He said that Farrell could be placed in danger if his identity were made public. He said the type of charges laid against Farrell generated vilification and outrage in the community.