Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has given an undisclosed amount of leave to Reverend Monsignor Geoff Baron for swearing, making sexual remarks, and racially offensive comments directed towards teenage skateboarders.
Though the incident occurred nearly a year ago, it has recently attracted attention after a video of the confrontation surfaced on YouTube, a video sharing website.
According to the Archdiocese of Melbourne, skateboarders have previously caused damage to the steps of the Cathedral and have been a cause for concern because they could harm themselves or others.
The confrontation occurred when the skateboarders refused to leave the property of the Cathedral. The teenagers then began to taunt Msgr. Baron and called him a pedophile. Baron proceeded to use highly inappropriate language including telling one Asian looking member to, “Get back to where you came from you fool. You don't belong in Australia".
Dean Baron profoundly apologized to the public, to the Catholic people, and all who witnessed the incident.
When asked by Samantha Dunovon of Australia ABC Local Radio, where the obscene language originated, Dean Baron answered, “From the depths of my heart, I suppose, I mean I'm a human being and as we grow up we learn these things from a very early age and they get tucked away in your life and they're generally under control. But um, sadly enough and to my utter disgrace, when I was pushed to the limit something snapped inside of me and I was out to say as much as possible to hurt and humiliate these, as you call them, thugs.”
“The shame that I feel and the embarrassment, I can’t really describe,” he said. “It was outrageous behaviour, I let myself down terribly badly, that’s quite clear and I’ve also brought scandal and shock to other people.”