The West Australian reports…
“Vandals have struck the church connected to the City Beach priest involved in this week’s lost bracelet scandal.
Rev. Terry McAuliffe, the Anglican priest who found a $6500 gold and diamond bracelet in a carpark, gave the jewellery back to its original owners yesterday after a public backlash and scathing condemnation from his Archbishop.
But this morning vandals scrawled graffiti on the walls St Paul’s Anglican Church in City Beach and a brick was thrown through the front window.
“Thieves preach here,” was painted on one wall.
The West Australian revealed yesterday how Lesley Bevan lost the bracelet, a birthday present from husband Clyde eight years ago, in February. The couple were delighted to hear the Rev. Terry McAuliffe had found it, handed it in at a police station and then tracked them down.
But after telling them he was now the bracelet’s legal owner, Mr McAuliffe said he would give it to Mr and Mrs Bevan if they made a claim under their insurance policy and gave him half the payout.
Perth Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft yesterday described the clergyman’s actions as “reprehensible” and said he had urged him to return the bracelet.
“Whatever the strict letter of the law may be, I would expect the priest to recognise the moral issue here, and the couple concerned has every right to feel disappointed that a member of the clergy has responded in the way he did,” he said.
“The effect of his conduct is to take advantage of the misfortune of others by adopting a legalistic position. That conduct in my view is contrary to the spirit and the truth of the matter and contrary to the spirit of the Gospel.”
Archbishop Herft apologised on behalf of the diocese to “all who have been deeply distressed by the actions of the priest”.
Mr McAuliffe, who said he was a personal injury lawyer until 1988, gave the bracelet to the Bevans yesterday afternoon.
He apologised to the couple and said that on reflection he realised he had made a mistake.
“I was caught up in the legal niceties and the very interesting legal question under the statute,” he said. “That is a bit of a failing of mine because of many years of legal training.
“I tend to get excited and interested in that to the exclusion of the people.
“They were really distressed and it was not fair of me to put them through that.”
Mr Bevan said they were relieved and delighted to have the bracelet back and made a $500 donation to Mr McAuliffe’s church.”