Victim of paedophile 'hurt' by Fox findings

A paedophile priest victim, whose evidence at the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry reduced people to tears, is ''hurt'' and ''disappointed'' by findings he says lack balance about Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox and what he represents for child sexual abuse victims.

''I gave evidence to give a balanced view on what Peter has done,'' said Daniel Feenan of Maitland. ''I hoped it would be reflected in the findings and it hasn't been, which is why I'm speaking now.''

Mr Feenan's statements to Detective Fox in 2003 led to the conviction of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher, one of two priests who were the subject of the inquiry.

''Peter needed to be made to account for what he put out there, but knowing the man, the reasoning behind what he did, I've got nothing but admiration for him,'' Mr Feenan said. ''He was the shock we needed to get a commission.''

Commissioner Margaret Cunneen, SC, found the church first knew about Fletcher's offending in 1976, the year Mr Feenan was born.

But findings that Detective Fox was ''deliberately untruthful'', had ''exaggerated'' evidence and developed an ''obsession about the Catholic church and alleged conspiracies involving senior police'' were the overwhelming messages from the inquiry, in part because of the way the NSW Police Force conducted its case, Mr Feenan said.

''I don't think the police in general come out of the commission of inquiry well,'' he said.

''They could have made the points they wanted to make about Peter but they went much further. They attacked a man who represents good for a lot of people because we know his motivations were good.''

However, the NSW Police Association of NSW has welcomed the report's findings, saying it vindicates Hunter police and the force's integrity.

''In our view their honesty was never in question and they continue to do a great job protecting the most vulnerable in our society.

''This inquiry and the royal commission set up by the commonwealth government will ensure that, as a community, we can get at the truth, that perpetrators are brought to justice and the rights of victims are respected.''

More than 20 police officers gave evidence to the inquiry, including the region's most senior officers. In the whole, Ms Cunneen accepted their evidence as truthful, barring several minor irregularities.

Of note, Ms Cunneen found no evidence that the strike force set up to investigate claims that senior Catholic clergy had covered up cases of sexual abuse was the ''sham'' Mr Fox said it was, nor was it designed to fail.

She did, however, conclude that ''unfortunate'' delays to the investigations were caused by a chronic shortage of police resources, particularly in the Lake Macquarie region.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and Police Minister Stuart Ayres are yet to comment on the report handed down on Friday.

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