News National Ex-Vic priest jailed for abuse

Ex-Vic priest jailed for abuse

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A former Catholic priest who abused three Victorian schoolboys in the 1960s will spend another four months behind bars.

James Patrick Jennings, 81, indecently assaulted the boys while a priest at Bendigo’s St Vincent’s College in the 1960s.

He was jailed on Wednesday for three years, but two-and-a-half years of the term was suspended.

The sentence takes into account the two months he has already served in jail before his sentencing, meaning he will serve four more months.

Victorian County Court Judge Wendy Wilmoth said Jennings knew when the school boys he abused would be alone and in which dormitory they slept.

She said he was in denial over his crimes and even blamed the victims for falsifying the charges for financial gain, despite there being no evidence of this.

Judge Wilmoth said Jennings’ crimes not only involved a gross breach of trust but an awareness his crimes were wrong.

“You were in a position of power and authority,” she said.

“You knew the offences were very wrong, so your moral culpability was high.”

Jennings, who lives in the Huon Valley in Tasmania, was in February found guilty of five counts of indecent assault against the three boys.

He was acquitted on a sixth charge of indecent assault.

The judge took into account his age and health which would make his jail time more onerous.