Clear Cop's Name over Sex Inquiry

By Russell Robinson
Herald Sun [Australia]
August 10, 2006,21985,20071410-661,00.html

MP Russell Savage yesterday called on police command to vindicate a former officer he said was hounded from the force after investigating a high-ranking pedophile priest.

Mr Savage told State Parliament failure of police at the time to prosecute Monsignor John Day has left many more victims.

"Today I grieve for the victims of Monsignor John Day and for former Sen-Det Denis Ryan, who was the investigating officer into the sad events that occurred in Mildura in 1972," he said.

"The motto of Victoria Police is to protect the innocent and to pursue crooks, villains, pedophiles and other undesirables in our community.

"In the past some undesirable individuals have been members of churches, including Monsignor John Day, who had a long list of victims.

"When he was investigated by Sen-Det Denis Ryan, it was Denis Ryan who ended up being the one . . . who eventually was forced to resign."

Denis Ryan was a Mildura detective when he was alerted by the vice-principal of a Catholic school to Day's attacks, including rape, attempted sodomy, sexual assault and gross indecency.

Mr Ryan collected statements from 14 minors, boys and girls, but just as he was about to complete the file, police command ordered a halt to the investigation.

Mr Savage told Parliament Mr Ryan had no support from his department and "was harassed by his superiors, from the Chief Commissioner (Reg Jackson) down".

In disgust, Mr Ryan quit, stating in his letter of resignation: "I can only hope that any member of the police force who in future performs a similar type of inquiry that I performed in relation to the monsignor does not suffer the same fate."

Day was eventually moved on and in 1978 died while working as a priest in Timboon, 230km southwest of Melbourne.

Twenty one years later, Mildura parish priest, Father Patrick Mugavin, apologised from the pulpit for Day's sins.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.