An Australian Catholic priest accused of child abuse is preparing to return to Australia from his home of 30 years in Papua New Guinea.
Father Roger Mount is expected to arrive in Port Moresby on Thursday, the first step in his journey back to Australia.
The elderly priest, who was formerly a brother with the St John of God order, has been living in PNG without a visa.
Mount has been accused of abusing boys in his care at St John of God institutions in Australia in the 1960s, Fairfax Media has reported.He was known as Brother Gabriel Mount at the time.
A former resident of the Kendall Grange home in NSW alleges that Mount abused him when he was 12 years old, Fairfax reported.
Mount denies the allegations.
Port Moresby diocese vicar-general Father Ben Fleming could not say when Mount would return to Australia but he was expected to make the trip.
“He’s been told he needs to go down,” Fleming said.
“I have to speak to him tomorrow and ask a couple of questions, like where his passport is.”
The diocese also had to speak to PNG immigration officials about a fine to be paid for Mount overstaying his visa.
Mount’s visa expired four years ago, Fairfax reported.
He was stood down from his role as parish priest in the highlands village of Sogeri but has refused to leave.
Fleming said Mount had continued to say mass every Sunday and had not responded to letters and visits from the archbishop of Port Moresby until now.
“He has responded because he has been told: ‘This time you are damaging us’,” he said.
Fleming said Mount was not in good health but had accepted the prospect of returning to Australia.
“The prospect, I think, of having to go back to Australia and start a new life has been difficult for him to accept,” he said.