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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


The Marist Brothers ignored the activities of this Brother. Now they face public scrutiny

This Broken Rites article tells how the Marist Brothers harboured a child-sex offender (Brother John William "Kostka" Chute) for more than 40 years, giving him access to Australian Catholic schoolchildren. Broken Rites has ascertained that the Marist Brothers appointed "Brother Kostka" to at least 12 Catholic schools in Australia between 1952 and 1993, ranging from Lismore in northern New South Wales to Marcellin College in Randwick, Sydney, as well as at least one school in Queensland. His final school was Marist College in Canberra, and it was some Canberra pupils who finally got him convicted and jailed in 2008. However, this Canberra court case was confined to crimes committed within the Australian Capital Territory. Now, in 2015, John William Chute is scheduled to face an additional charge in New South Wales, regarding an alleged offence at Lismore. (Article updated 21 April 2015.)

Broken Rites supported these orphanage victims but a bishop supported the offender

When Broken Rites launched its national telephone hotline in September 1993, our first callers included former inmates of a Catholic orphanage (St Joseph's Home, at Neerkol, near Rockhampton, Queensland). Some of these callers said they were sexually assaulted by Father Reginald Basil Durham, who was the "chaplain" at this orphanage. Broken Rites advised these victims how to obtain justice. In 1996 the church authorities were still protecting Durham and denying the crimes. The church's cover-up in the 1990s has been revealed again in 2015 at a public hearing of Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 21 April 2015.)

A former Marist Brother, who was later appointed as a "director of child safety", has appeared in court on child-sex charges re two Sydney schools

When he was a Marist Brother in his mid-twenties, Brother Brett Anthony O'Connor was at two prominent Sydney schools. Then he left the Marist Order and began a new career, eventually (in 2012) becoming the Director of Child Safety in the Queensland Government's Department of Education and Training. In 2015, New South Wales police have charged O'Connor with alleged child-sex offences, relating to his earlier career as a Marist Brother in Sydney — at St Joseph's College in Hunters Hill and St Gregory's College in Campbelltown. O'Connor, now aged 52, appeared in a NSW court on Monday 13 April 2015. The case's next mention in court is scheduled for 10 June 2015. (Article updated on 16 April 2015.)

A Marist Brother is being sentenced after pleading guilty

Marist Brother Peter Pemble (aged 67), who has been a school principal in Sydney and elsewhere, is scheduled to appear in the Newcastle District Court on 23 July 2015 for sentencing (case number 2014/00238932). Brother Pemble has admitted that he molested a schoolboy while working at a Catholic boys' school in New South Wales early in his career, more than 40 years ago. The incident occurred at Maitland (in the Hunter region, north of Sydney) in 1971-1972, when Brother Pemble was in his twenties. Later in his career, Brother Peter Pemble became the principal of several Catholic schools in Sydney. (Article updated 10 April 2015.)

How the church harboured Father David Rapson, putting schoolboys at risk

This Broken Rites article tells how the Catholic Church harboured Father David Edwin Rapson for two decades, thus endangering boys in Catholic schools in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales.

Father David Rapson assaulted boys at a Melbourne Catholic boarding school

Catholic priest David Edwin Rapson used computer games, soft drinks, alcohol and cigarettes to lure boys (as young as 12) into his office at a Catholic boarding school before he sexually abused them, a Melbourne court has been told. After two years of hearings which finished on 31 March 2015, Rapson (now aged 61) was convicted of serious child-sex crimes. Now he is locked up, awaiting his sentence. (Article posted on 3 April 2015)

How the church helped this criminal, Father Ron Pickering, to avoid the police

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese harboured a paedophile priest, Father Ronald Pickering, for many years while he committed sexual crimes against children in Melbourne parishes. The archdiocese has admitted that Pickering was an offender. Some Pickering victims ended up committing suicide. Australia's current national Royal Commission into institutional responses to child-abuse should investigate how the Melbourne archdiocese covered up for criminals such as Pickering. (Article updated 1 April 2015.)

The Catholic Church protected Fr Kevin O'Donnell for 50 years during his life of crime

One of Australia's most notorious paedophile priests, Father Kevin O'Donnell, committed sexual crimes against children throughout his 50-year career in Melbourne Catholic parishes while his superors and colleagues looked the other way. In his final years, he even received public praise from one of his superiors, Bishop (later Cardinal) George Pell. Eventually some of his victims got O'Donnell convicted and jailed. (Article updated 1 April 2015.)

A Marist Brother is jailed for child-sex crimes at a "top" Sydney school — and there are also complaints about him in Queensland

For years, the Marist Brothers tolerated a child-abuser (Brother John Dennis Maguire) as a teacher and dormitory master at their high-profile St Joseph's College boys' boarding school in Hunters Hill, Sydney. Maguire allegedly would target the youngest boarders (perhaps eleven years old) who were homesick – comforting them and then sexually assaulting them. In 2002,  police charged Maguire with assaulting six of these boys but the Marist Brothers defeated each of these charges. In 2014, after a total of nine jury trials, a seventh ex-student succeeded in getting Maguire convicted in court. Finally, on 20 March 2015, Maguire (now aged 71) was sentenced to at least 21 months in prison. There have also been complaints about Maguire in Queensland, which would need to be handled by the Queensland police. Maguire was a danger to girls as well as boys. (Article updated 3 April 2015.)

The church hid the crimes of Brother Ted Dowlan (alias Ted Bales) — but Broken Rites helped to expose this cover-up

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Christian Brothers organisation concealed the crimes of Brother Edward Dowlan (now known as Ted Bales). From the start, the Christian Brothers knew that Dowlan was committing criminal sexual assaults against Australian schoolchildren but, instead of dismissing him, the Brothers kept transferring him to more schools, thus giving him access to more victims. His victims were usually aged about 11 or 12 but some were as young as 8 or 9. In the early 1990s, when some victims finally reported him to the police, the Christian Brothers supported Dowlan and tried to defeat the victims. The victims eventually won (by getting him jailed in 1996 and again in 2015), but their lives have been damaged by the Christian Brothers — and several of Brother Dowlan's victims ended up in suicide. Dowlan's 2015 jailing (under the name Ted Bales) is reported towards the end of this article. (Article updated 27 March 2015.)

A Marist Brother is charged with a 1960s child-assault in northern NSW

On 18 March 2015, New South Wales police charged a Marist Brother (now aged 82) regarding an alleged indecent assault at Lismore on the NSW north coast The offence allegedly occurred between 1967 and 1969 when the Brother was in his mid-thirties. The alleged victim was a schoolboy in Year Six. (Article posted 21 March 2015.)

A Marist Brother is brought to justice for old crimes, including buggery

A Marist Brother, Francis William Cable (known as Brother "Romuald"), was found guilty on 17 March 2015 of 13 serious child sex offences against two schoolboys after a jury trial in Sydney. Two days later, on March 19, he entered guilty pleas to offences against another 17 schoolboys. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on a later date. The offences occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, when Brother "Romuald" was aged in his thirties and forties. The offences include buggery, plus multiple counts of indecent assault.

A Jesuit priest is jailed for child-porn but still gets church support

Father Stanislaus Hogan, a senior Jesuit priest who has been based at some of Australia's most prominent Catholic schools, was sentenced on 20 March 2015 to at least 10 months jail after he admitted accessing and possessing child pornography. His schools have included Xavier College in Melbourne, St Aloysius College in Sydney and St Ignatius College in Adelaide. A church spokesman has indicated that, after finishing his jail sentence, Hogan will welcome to live in retirement in a Jesuit community in Australia, and the Jesuits will continue to give him financial support. (Article updated 20 March 2015.)

Archbishop Philip Wilson and the Catholic Church's damage control on clergy sex abuse

A prominent Australian Catholic Church leader, Archbishop Philip Wilson, has claimed (in 2010) that during his rise from junior priest to church administrator, he "knew nothing" about the sexually-abusive behaviour of fellow-priests — even though he lived and worked with some of these criminals. Does Wilson's "know-nothing" attitude help us to understand his extraordinary rise to the top of the Australian church hierarchy? Wilson's senior roles eventually included the managing of church sexual abuse. (This article, by a Broken Rites researcher, was written in May 2010 and it is re-posted on this page on 17 March 2015.)

VIDEO: Christian Brother Chris Rafferty, now in Sydney, is facing charges in Goulburn

Christian Brother Christopher Rafferty, now aged 63, from Sydney, has been charged by police with child-sex offences allegedly committed in the 1980s while he was working at St Patrick's College in Goulburn, in south-western New South Wales, when he was aged in his thirties. In recent years, until his arrest, Brother Rafferty has been working (and residing) at a Catholic boys' school (St Pius X College) in Chatswood, on Sydney's North Shore. Before joining St Pius X College, Br Rafferty had been deputy headmaster of St Mary’s Cathedral College in central Sydney.

This Broken Rites article tells you how to see to some video footage of the police taking a man into custody. (Article updated on 16 April 2015.)

VIDEO: Christian Brother David Standen is now facing 31 assault charges

Christian Brother William Peter Standen (known as Brother "David" Standen), who has taught at Catholic schools in Sydney and regional New South Wales, will face a total of 31 child-sex charges when his case comes up for another mention in court 13 May 2015.

This article includes a video of Brother Standen being arrested at Sydney airport on 19 August 2014 when he arrived back in Australia from East Timor.

A priest is charged with a child-sex offence in NSW

A Catholic priest, Father Patrick Kervin, 58, is facing court in New South Wales, charged with an indecent assault of a schoolboy, allegedly committed 27 years ago. Father Kervin is a member of an Australia-wide religious order, the Society of Mary (also known as the Marist Fathers). Father Kervin has worked at Catholic schools near Wollongong and Lismore (New South Wales) and also in Tasmania. The charge relates to Holy Spirit College, at Bellambi, near Wollongong, in the 1980s. More recently, he ministered at St Patrick's Presbytery (Church Hill) in the Rocks area in central Sydney. (Article updated on 26 March 2015.)

Christian Brother Obbens is facing more charges

Christian Brother William John Obbens (also known as Brother "Dominic" Obbens), now aged 69 and living in Sydney, will face four charges of indecent assault of two "persons under 16 under authority" when his case has another mention in court in 2015. Police allege that the offences were committed on two boys, then aged 13 and 12, in the late 1980s, while Brother Obbens was a teacher at St Patrick's Christian Brothers College in Goulburn, south-western New South Wales. (Article updated 16 April 2015.)

This senior priest (who became the deputy to a bishop) was a child-abuse criminal

According to police, a senior Catholic priest from western Sydney, Father Richard Cattell, committed sexual crimes against boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Later, in the early 1990s, the Catholic Church promoted this priest to become the Vicar-General of his diocese, supervising 48 parishes in western Sydney on behalf of the bishop. In 1994, Cattell was jailed regarding one of his victims (from the 1970s). In February 2015 (aged 74) he was jailed again regarding another of his victims (from the 1980s). The February 2015 victim (Broken Rites will call him "Zachary") submitted a written impact statement to the judge, outlining how the church provided Cattell with easy access to vulnerable children, causing long-term damage to the victim's later life. The impact statement is included in this Broken Rites article. (Article updated on 1 March 2015.)

The church compensates some sex-abuse victims at Melbourne's Xavier College

Broken Rites research has uncovered some examples of sex-abuse settlements involving clergy at one of Australia's most "prestigious" Catholic schools — Melbourne's Xavier College. This article contains four examples of Xavier cases.

A priest is sentenced to jail for assaulting a nine-year-old girl

A Catholic priest in Victoria, Father Leslie Sheahan, now 84, was given a jail sentence on 5 March 2015 after pleading guilty to a charge that he indecently assaulted a nine-year-old girl in one of his parishes forty years ago. The jail sentence is for 12 months, with the first three months to be served behind bars (and the remaining nine months to be served on parole). Father Sheahan intends to appeal against the jail sentence. He is on bail until the appeal is heard. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 5 March 2015.)

The church concealed the crimes of Father Paul David Ryan

Broken Rites Australia is doing further research about how the Catholic Church authorities continually harboured a criminal priest, Father Paul David Ryan, thus enabling him to commit more crimes on more children in more parishes. The church authorities continually concealed Ryan's crimes from the police. Under Australian criminal law, this concealment can itself be a crime — and perhaps, some day, certain powerful people in the church could be prosecuted by the police for this cover-up. 

A prominent churchman is convicted again in Bathurst NSW

Richard John McPhillamy has been a prominent layman in Catholic Church affairs in the diocese of Bathurst, in central-west New South Wales. He was formerly listed as an "acolyte", assisting in various matters at Bathurst's Cathedral of St Michael and St John. Also, he worked as an assistant dormitory master at St Stanislaus College — a Bathurst boarding school for boys. In 2011 he was jailed for committing sexual crimes against two of the boys who were under his control. In February 2015 he was convicted again regarding a third boy. (Article posted 18 February 2015.)

The church kept quiet about Brother Neil Richards' crimes but now he is in jail

Helped by Broken Rites, some of the victims of Christian Brother Desmond Eric ("Neil") Richards have achieved justice. On 27 November 2014, the Sydney District Court gave him a jail sentence of 3 years and 3 months, with a minimum of two years behind bars before he becomes eligible to apply for parole. (Article updated 1 February 2015.)

Broken Rites helped victims of Father John Denham to gain justice

Broken Rites has helped to obtain justice for victims of an Australian criminal Catholic priest, Father John Sidney Denham. His superiors and colleagues knew about his child-sex crimes but this information was concealed from the police. Finally, with advice from Broken Rites, some victims began to contact the police, so Denham was convicted in court in the year 2000 and again in 2010 and 2015 (and jailed). The sentencing judge made scathing comments about how this criminal priest had been protected by the Catholic Church. (Article updated 23 January 2015.)

A 92-year-old Sydney priest is charged with buggery of a child from 40 years ago

A Catholic priest, Father Theodore Arrivoli (now aged 92), who has ministered in many parishes around the Sydney region during the past 60 years, was charged in court on 15 January 2015 regarding alleged sexual assaults of two children near Sydney in the 1970s. The alleged offences include buggery. (Article posted 22 January 2015.)

Marist Brother Luke Leslie Saker in court on sex-assault charges

Marist Brother Leslie Garfield Saker, 74, whose religious name in the Marist order is Brother Luke Saker, was charged by police in a Sydney court on 20 January 2015 with sexual offences allegedly committed against a 16-year-old schoolboy in 1974.  The boy was a student at a Catholic school in Auburn in Sydney's west. (Article posted 21 January 2015.)

Priest pleads guilty re offences in western Sydney parishes

A former Catholic priest of the Sydney archdiocese, Father Robert Flaherty, now aged 71, has pleaded guilty regarding sexual offences against two children dating back to the 1970s. (Article updated 20 January 2015.)

A Catholic bishop faces court on child-abuse charges from 1969

The Catholic Bishop of the Australian Defence Force is involved in court proceedings, charged by police with a child-sex offence dating back to 1969. Bishop Max Davis, now 68, is believed to be the most senior Catholic clergyman (and the first bishop) to be charged by Australian police with a child-sex offence. (Article updated 28 January 2015.)

The church protected Father John Sidney Denham, a judge says

An Australian judge has made scathing comments about how Father John Sidney Denham had been protected by the Catholic Church. Denham was jailed in 2010 after some of his victims contacted the New South Wales police. On 23 January 2015, he received additional jail time after some more of his victims contacted the police. According to research by Broken Rites, these are not necessarily Denham's only victims. (Article updated 23 January 2015.)

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