Father Peter Hansen left the priesthood and later he committed child sex crimes, he now admits

  • By a Broken Rites researcher (article posted on 24 February 2021

For 15 years until 2011, Father Peter Andrew Hansen was a priest belonging to the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese. He became a priest as a mature-age adult (he says) while coping with some personal sexual issues. While he was a priest (he says) he developed a dependency on pornography. He left the priesthood in 2011 and spent the subsequent years working with Vietnamese asylum seekers. Eventually, he was arrested by Australian Federal Police at Sydney airport while returning from Asia. In court in February 2021 (aged 63), he pleaded guilty to 31 charges, including one of engaging in sexual intercourse with a child under 18 in the Philippines and 15 counts of producing child abuse material. He now awaits his sentencing.

Originally, Peter Hanson studied law. Later, he obtained a Bachelor of Theology degree from the Catholic Theological College in Melbourne and a higher degree in Asian history and religious history from the Melbourne College of Divinity.

As a mature-age adult, he became a priest belonging to the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese. (A spokesperson for the Melbourne archdiocese has confirmed this in response to an inquiry from the media.)

Broken Rites has ascertained that Father Peter Hansen is listed in the annual editions of the printed Australian Catholic Directory between 1997 and 2011. As well as residing in Melbourne parishes (including Altona North, Mitcham and Fitzroy), Hansen was the founder of the Mary of the Cross Centre in Fitzroy (in inner-Melbourne) in 2000. This centre provided counselling and support for victims of drug and alcohol abuse.

After leaving the priesthood, Hansen worked as a legal advisor for Vietnamese asylum seekers in Hong Kong and the Philippines. He knows how to handle the Vietnamese language.

In October 2018 (when he was aged 61), Peter Hansen was arrested at Sydney Airport (when returning from Vietnam) and was charged with some specific child-sex offences (but, according to statements made in court, there were also other non-charged incidents). After preliminary proceedings, he pleaded guilty to the specified incidents. In February 2021, the case went to the New South Wales District Court for sentencing.