A 92-year-old Sydney priest in court regarding alleged offences from 40 years ago

By a Broken Rites researcher

An elderly Catholic priest, Father Theodore Arrivoli, who has ministered in many parishes around the Sydney region during the past 60 years, was charged in court on 15 January 2015 (when he was aged 92) regarding alleged sexual assaults (including buggery) against two children near Sydney in the 1970s. However, at a later hearing, the case did not proceed any further at this stage because of the elderly priest's health issues.

The case began on 26 November 2014, when detectives (from Hawkesbury Local Area Command) interviewed the 92-year-old priest about alleged offences against two boys. Police alleged that these offences (four counts of buggery and one count of attempted buggery) occurred between 1973 and 1974, when the priest was in his early fifties. The priest was served a court attendance notice (for 15 January 2015).

On 15 January 2015 the charges were filed at a brief procedure with a magistrate in the Penrith Local Court, north-west of Sydney (case number 14/00348821).

The case was then scheduled for a higher court, the Penrith District Court in February 2016 (when Father Arrivoli was aged 93). In this hearing, the church's defence lawyer successfully claimed that the elderly priest was "unfit" to enter a plea at present. Therefore, the case did not proceed any further at this stage. The outcome was listed as:

Not fit to plea - No plea entered. Referred to the mental health review tribunal.

Broken Rites research

A Marist Brothers website for Marcellin College, Randwick, in Sydney, has a list of former students who became priests. The list includes Father T. Arrivoli plus several others (including Fr Adrian van Klooster, Fr Anthony Caruana, Fr M Blumenthal and Fr R Fuller).

Broken Rites has searched through some of the old printed editions of the annual Australian Catholic Directory to compile a list of parishes in which Father Theo Arrivoli served. He was ordained as a priest in 1952. Most of his career was spent in the Sydney archdiocese, although his most recent parishes were in the western suburbs which were formed into a separate diocese (now called the Parramatta Diocese) inĀ 1986.

Broken Rites found that Father Theo Arrivoli's parishes (in chronological order) have included Bondi Beach, North Ryde, Forest Lodge/Glebe, Pennant Hills, Mount Pritchard, Auburn, Liverpool, Pyrmont, Richmond, Baulkham Hills and Lawson.

His Richmond parish (St Monica's) was in 1972 - 1985. Richmond is 65 kilometres north-west of Sydney in the Hawkesbury Region.

His next parish ("Our Lady of Lourdes", in Baulkham Hills South, 30 kilometres north-west of Sydney) was in 1985-1998.

His final parish (1998-2010) was "Our Lady of the Nativity" at Lawson, in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

After retiring from full-time parish work in 2010, he was still a priest and was listed in the Australian Catholic Directory in 2011 as Reverend Theo Arrivoli, living in a home-unit in Baulkham Hill (several other priests have a unit in the same building). The Directory listed him under the heading of "Supplementary Clergy", which includes priests who might still be available to relieve a parish priest who is sick or away.

According to the 2013 directory, Father Theo Arrivoli has received a papal award, called "Croce pro Ecclesia et Pontifice".

Father Arrivoli was not listed in the 2014 edition of the Directory.