Ex-Priest Jailed for Child Assault

Daily Mercury [Australia]
August 9, 2006

A Former Anglican priest who lived in Mackay has been jailed for at least two years in South Australia for molesting an altar boy.

Ray Ayles, 61, father of three adult children, was arrested in Mackay in June, 2004, and was extradited to Adelaide to face charges of molesting a boy between the ages of 12 and 14 in the early 1970s.

In the South Australian District Court in Adelaide yesterday, Mr Ayles was convicted of three charges of indecent assault.

The court heard that Mr Ayles had wanted to marry his 14-year-old male victim.

The victim“s parents intercepted a love letter Mr Ayles sent to their son but were told by church officials not to report the matter to police because ——the church would take care of it““.

Mr Ayles was later stripped of an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) after he attempted to engage in sexual activities with two more youths during an Adelaide Hills youth camp in the 1990s.

In Mackay, Mr Ayles worked with social groups and was a prominent member of a bushwalking club.

Mr Ayles was a priest in Adelaide before serving as a priest in Cloncurry from 1975 to 1983 and in Ingham from 1984 to 1990.

He had lived in Mackay since 1993.

During her judgement, Judge Andrea Simpson said Mr Ayles genuinely believed he was in love with the boy, but had grossly abused his position of trust.

Mr Ayles, who faced a maximum penalty of 21 years imprisonment, was jailed for four years with a non-parole period of two years.


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