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Catholic church calls in Vatican to investigate sexting priest case

The head of the New Zealand Catholic church has asked the Vatican for permission to launch an investigation into the handling of complaints about a priest who groomed a teenage girl.

Sateki Raass resigned from the priesthood after he was convicted in 2019 of indecent communication with a girl under 16 and ordered to serve 100 hours community service.

A series of stories by Stuff has since unravelled the Auckland diocese’s handling of the case. This includes bishop Patrick Dunn’s original plans – all later reversed – not to tell school communities attached to Raass’ parish, to allow Raass to say mass after his arrest, and to bail him to a presbytery attached to another primary school despite bail conditions prohibiting contact with under-16s.

Dunn also told parishioners Raass’ offending was merely “inappropriate text messaging”, paid for a QC to represent Raass, and has not directly apologised to the victim’s family.

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