A "priest without a parish" is scheduled for a criminal court trial on child-sex charges

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 26 July 2019

For 25 years, Father Peter Maurice Waters ministered in a series of parishes of the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese. In 1999, when he was aged in his fifties, he ceased having any more parish postings. Since 1999, according to church law, Peter Waters has retained his priestly qualification — but without a parish (and without any other official role in the church). In 2017, when Waters was aged 72, police charged him with child-sex offences relating to his time in parishes. In early 2018, Waters underwent a four-day committal (i.e., preliminary) hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. After hearing the evidence, the magistrate ordered Waters to undergo a trial with a judge in a higher court, the Victorian County Court, to be held in 2019.

In court documents in 2018, Peter Maurice Waters was listed as being located at his private residence on Phillip Island (140 km south-east of Melbourne).

When the Peter Waters case had its first mention in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2017, police charged him with child sexual abuse offences committed between 1974 and 1987.

The charges were laid by detectives from the Sano Taskforce of the Victoria Police sexual crimes squad, located in Spencer Street, Docklands, Melbourne.

At the committal hearing in the same court in January 2018, Waters pleaded not guilty.

Until the County Court trial, he is on bail.

The County Court's case number for Peter Maurice Waters is CR-18-00056.

Foootnote

The Melbourne archdiocese (in the state of Victoria) covers the Melbourne metropolitan area and some nearby towns such as Kyneton, plus the city of Geelong. The remainder of the state of Victoria is divided into three other dioceses.

According to research by Broken Rites, Father Peter Maurice Waters was first listed (as "newly ordained") in the annual Australian Catholic Directories in 1973. He then ministered in various parishes of the Melbourne archdiocese including Croydon, Strathmore, Dandenong, Oakleigh, East Malvern, Camberwell, Aspendale, Blackburn, Bell Park (a suburb of Geelong) and (finally, until 1999) Kyneton. Interspersed among these parishes he had several periods of being listed as "on leave", plus a year or so as a hospital chaplain. After 1999, Father Peter Maurice Waters did not take on any more parish work.