Police criticise church for naming guilty priest

Police have criticised the Catholic Church after it named a Blenheim priest publicly before he appeared in court today.

Aidan Kay pleaded guilty in Blenheim District Court to a charge of indecently assaulting a male.

Church leaders began telling parishioners on Saturday evening that Kay had been relieved of his duties. This was followed by a media statement issued after Sunday mass by the leader of the Catholic Church in New Zealand Archbishop John Dew.

Police are now questioning the church's decision to reveal Kay's name before he appeared in court today.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ciaran Sloan says there is a need for "accuracy and fairness". He said the accused has a right to apply for name suppression and that can also protect a victims privacy.

"In this instance there was no public safety need that would override those rights," he says.

But the church says the community needed to know why their parish priest wasn't conducting services.

Police say Kay's offending was at the lower end of the scale and have received no further complaints

The 71-year-old will be remanded on bail until next month and has been ordered to avoid contacting the victim.

An elderly Blenheim priest pleads guilty to indecent assault. Source: 1 NEWS

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