KASAMA Vol. 15 No. 4 / October-November-December 2001 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

DATE: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 03:05:51 +0000

FROM: Internet News Network <>

Manila (Philippines) - Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Iba, Zambales, Philippines raised no objection to the payment of the equivalent of US$2000 for the release from prison of convicted Australian paedophile 71 year-old Victor Keith Fitzgerald from Darwin.

Fitzgerald walked free into the tropical sunshine of Barrio Barretto, Olongapo, last September soon after an Australian Catholic Priest from the Diocese of Iba, Zambales, Fr. Michael Duffin, paid the bail bond. A regional newspaper, The Nation, published a photograph of the grateful Fitzgerald thanking Fr. Duffin and his dedicated supporter, German citizen Harry Joost, who worked hard for his retrial.

Fitzgerald is serving a twenty-year sentence for the sexual abuse of children on his yacht in Subic Bay. The children were rescued when a charitable organization known as the PREDA Foundation called National Bureau of Investigation officers to the yacht. The PREDA children's protection and legal assistance center was founded in 1974 by Catholic Priest Fr. Shay Cullen, a Columban missionary from Ireland. The children testified to being sexually assaulted by Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald was the first foreigner to be convicted under the Philippine child protection law after a protracted trial during which several unsuccessful attempts were made to abduct the child witnesses who were being cared for by PREDA. After the end of the trial, the two children were successfully abducted by a group of foreign bar operators, known as the sex mafia, because of alleged political links. The children were later found prostituted in the Subic bars. A third witness was hidden away before she could give further testimony against Fitzgerald.

According to Fitzgerald and his backers, Fr. Cullen framed him up, but they failed to provide a convincing motive. The foundation protects hundreds of children and assists many in bringing their abusers to justice.

The retrial of Victor Fitzgerald will commence on November 14, 2001.

Upper Kalaklan, Olongapo City, Philippines
Tel: +63 47 2239629 Fax: +63 47 2239628