Case 34: The Catholic Mafia

WARNING - This episode deals with child sex abuse. It will not be suitable for all listeners. Father John Day was a Catholic priest who graduated from Corpus Christi College in Melbourne in 1927. Corpus Christi is one of Australia’s leading priesthood training colleges. Day was given his first parish in 1936 at Colac. He transferred to numerous parishes around Victoria, before being sent to Apollo Bay, a coastal town in Southern Victoria. It was during his two years at Apollo Bay that Day first met police officer Denis Ryan. Denis Ryan joined the Victorian police force in 1952. He had a strong Catholic faith and was a regular church goer with his family. Out of the academy, he was sent to Russell Street police headquarters where he did various duties and learned the ropes of policing. All new recruits were sent to Russell Street at the time. After finishing up at Russell Street, Denis cut his teeth working on patrol in St Kilda, only 8 kilometers outside of Melbourne’s central business district. It was 1956. St Kilda was known as the red light district area of Melbourne at the time. Denis had been a police officer for four years. Father John Day had been a Catholic priest for 29 years. Day was in charge of the Apollo Bay Parish but had found his way into St Kilda for the night, about a 2 hour and 40-minute drive away from home….

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