A West Australian priest has been found dead after being alerted that he was under investigation over child sex-abuse allegations.
Catholic priest Father Joseph Tran was found dead, with reports in Western Australia saying he died by his own hand.
“Police commenced an investigation relating to an allegation of child sexual abuse by a priest from a Catholic Church located in the southern suburbs,” a WA police spokesman said.
“During the investigation (on Thursday) the priest was located deceased.”
The Catholic Archbishop of Perth released a statement on Saturday addressing the circumstances.
“This news is heartbreaking for everyone involved,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
The dead priest was allegedly confronted by allegations of sexual abuse of a young teenage girl before his sudden death.
Tran spent 15 years in Whitford, about 24 km north of Perth, leaving in early 2018 to become the parish priest in St Francis Xavier, Armadale.
A parish newsletter marking his departure cited his “fondest memory” as leading 170 young people to 2008’s World Youth Day in Sydney event.
“That was really amazing experience. Many fond memories of the parish will go with me,” Fr Tran said.
Perth’s Archbishop Costelloe said said he had ordered a search of files for other complaints against Tran, but none were found.
“The young girl who with her family found the courage to go to the police must be supported in every way, and the Archdiocese stands ready to help in whatever way we can,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
He also said the priest’s family will be “devastated” by his death and “horrified by the circumstances”.
The death of Fr Train is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be prepared for the coroner.
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