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Broken Rites Australia helps victims of church-related
By a Broken Rites researcher
The Catholic Jesuit order in Australia has acknowledged that a Jesuit priest, Fr John Byrne, engaged in "problematic behaviour" against pupils. Byrne taught at prominent Catholic schools in Melbourne and Sydney.
According to the Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography, John Byrne was born in Gunnedah in rural New South Wales, on 29 February 1912. He gained a scholarship that gave him secondary schooling with the Jesuits. Ordained as a Jesuit priest in 1947, he spent his whole career working as a teacher in Jesuit schools:
Byrne died in Melbourne on 23 December 1974 aged 62.
A church investigation confirms abuseA former student, Mark, says that he was sexually abused by Fr John Byrne at Xavier College's preparatory school (Burke Hall) in Melbourne in 1971 when Mark was aged 11. Mark says it was sadistic violent abuse. Mark says that this abuse, plus the church's cover-up, disrupted his teenage development and his later life.
In 2005, Mark lodged a complaint with the Catholic Church's Professional Standards Office (the PSO) in Sydney. On 23 December 2005 a senior Jesuit, Fr Geoffrey King, who was in charge of professional-standards matters for the Australian Jesuits, wrote to Mark, stating:
The PSO arranged a facilitation meeting with Mark at which the Jesuits offered Mark a "financial gesture", provided that Mark signed away his rights to seek a more appropriate figure. Mark declined this "gesture" as it was an amount that he considered not to be commensurate with the damage done to his life.
However, eventually Mark and the Jesuits reached agreement about an amount of settlement, and the Jesuits then sent their compensation cheque to Mark.