MELBOURNE: A paedophile priest who fled to Malaysia on paid leave to seek the company of young Asian men has died, The Age reported.
It said Father Peter Grasby had, in January, posted on his profile that he would move to Kuching and that he happened “to like younger Asian men”.
The priest was suspected of predatory behaviour at parishes across Melbourne over almost 40 years, the report said.
The report, however, did not give details of how, where and when exactly he died.
It said: “It is believed the 66-year-old died suddenly earlier this month, but it could not immediately be confirmed that he had returned to Melbourne before his death. A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed the death but did not immediately have other details available.”
The report said Father Grasby had been accused, during a Victorian parliamentary inquiry, of inappropriate behaviour at St Michael’s in North Melbourne, a church where he had worked before moving to St Mary Magdalen, Chadstone.
Investigators also upheld a complaint that he had abused a 10-year-old boy while he was assistant priest at St Joseph’s West Brunswick in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
He was placed on administrative leave in 2012, while he was parish priest of St Mary Magdalen.
The report said the church was not aware that Father Grasby had left the country for Malaysia until contacted by Fairfax Media.
An independent commissioner for the archdiocese ordered Father Grasby to return to Melbourne and moved to cancel his entitlements because he had defied the conditions of his leave.
Priests on administrative leave are given housing, or a housing allowance, and the same wages and insurance benefits they had been paid prior to a complaint being made.
Father Grasby’s disregard for the conditions of his leave, and the failure of the archdiocese to properly supervise him, was revealed when he started using gay dating websites, the report said. He had even propositioned a former parishioner at St Mary Magdalene via a website while on forced leave.
The report quoted one of the priests victims as saying he would not shed a tear over Grasby’s death.