Catholic priest Father John Walshe, who admits that many years ago (around the time of his ordination as a priest) he got sexually involved with an 18-year-old male student, is believed to be returning to Melbourne in October 2016 after an overseas trip. But some of his Melbourne parishioners, including parents from two local Catholic primary schools, are telling the Melbourne archdiocese that they don't want Father Walshe back in their parish. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 29 September 2016.)
This Broken Rites article gives some background about a former Catholic priest, Robert Claffey, 72, who is awaiting sentence in October 2016 for assaulting a number of children (mainly boys, plus one girl) while he was in parishes during three decades in western Victoria. The guilty pleas relate to incidents of buggery, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 29 September 2016.)
This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders remained silent for 30 years about Father John Joseph Farrell's sex-crimes against children. In 1993, Broken Rites began researching the Farrell cover-up. In 2012, our research helped to make a "Four Corners" television program about the Farrell cover-up, thus bringing this cover-up to nationwide attention. And this has helped to encourage the Federal Government to establish its national child-abuse Royal Commission. Gradually, Broken Rites (but not the church officials) encouraged some of Farrell's victims to talk with child-protection police, resulting in the jailing of Farrell (now aged 63) in 2016. Broken Rites is proud to have exposed this cover-up. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 19 September 2016).
The ABC television "7.30" program (on Monday 19 September 2016) had a story about the child-abuse Royal Commission's public hearing re the Father John Farrell case (and the role of church official Father Brian Lucas). The Broken Rites team helped the ABC with research for this "7.30" item. A link to the ABC video is given at the end of this Broken Rites article. (Article updated by a Broken Rites researcher, 20 September 2016.)
This Broken Rites article summarises the court proceedings against John Joseph Farrell (also known as "Father F"). The court process continued from 2012 until he was sentenced in 2016. Father Farrell targeted numerous children (mostly boys, plus some girls) in northern New South Wales in the 1980s (and later in western Sydney until 1992). On 2 May 2016 he was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years jail for 62 of his crimes, committed against 12 of his victims. A further 17 incidents were taken into account at sentencing, making a total of 79 incidents. These were not Farrell's only victims — Farrell is currently scheduled to appear in court again in 2017 regarding several more children from the 1980s. And other children from the 1980s have not yet spoken to the NSW Police detectives. This Broken Rites article includes some additional charges which were laid against Farrell in September 2016, to come up in court again in 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 September 2016).
In the late 1990s, the Catholic Church paid a small amount to a former altar boy, Damian Jurd, to settle his complaint about having been sexually abused (at the age of 11) by a local priest, Father John Joseph Farrell (sometimes referred to as "Father F"). Damian said his life had been disrupted by this abuse and by the way the church protected Father Farrell. At the age of 28 (not long after this settlement), Damian took his own life, leaving two children of his own. This Broken Rites article gives some more information about Damian's tragic life. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 September 2016.)
The Catholic Church authorities have accepted a complaint from a former altar boy, Daniel Powell, that he was sexually abused in a Sydney parish at the age of 12 by a Catholic priest, Father John Joseph Farrell (sometimes referred to as "Father F"). Daniel, who was aged 25 at the time of the settlement (in 2005), received a relatively small amount of compensation from the church. But he was still severely damaged by the abuse (and by the church's cover-up). Daniel Powell ended up dying by suicide in 2007, aged 28. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 September 2016.)
In the 1990s, Broken Rites helped to reveal sexual abuse of young people by Catholic priests in the St Gerard Majella religious order in western Sydney. Two decades later, on 15 September 2016, this religious order was mentioned at a public hearing of Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. This Broken Rites article gives the background of the St Gerard Majella Society.
Broken Rites has helped to obtain justice for schoolboys who were sexually assaulted by Marist Brother Francis William Cable (also known as "Brother Romuald") in Catholic schools in New South Wales. During Brother Romuald's life of crime, his Marist colleagues and superiors looked the other way, protecting him from the police and giving him access to more victims. Eventually, some of his victims (acting separately) began to contact Broken Rites and/or the New South Wales Police, instead of merely telling Romuald Cable's church colleagues. NSW Police detectives then found some more of his victims. "Rom" Cable was jailed in 2015 regarding 19 of his victims. But these are not his only victims — these 19 are merely those who have spoken to the detectives. Other victims have remained silent, thereby helping Rom Cable to evade the full force of the law. Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission is holding a public hearing (in Newcastle in early September 2016) to examine how the Catholic Church handled several offenders, including Brother "Romuald" Cable. (Article updated 1 September 2016.)
A Marist Brother, Darcy John O'Sullivan (also known as "Brother Dominic"), has pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting boys while he was teaching in Catholic schools in northern New South Wales in the 1970s and '80s. He was a teacher at Marist Brothers in Hamilton (Newcastle) and was later a principal at St Mary's High School in Casino (on the NSW north coast). He entered his plea in Sydney's District Court on 14 March 2016. His sentencing is scheduled for 23 September 2016. Meanwhile, Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission is holding a public hearing in Newcastle in early September 2016 to examine how the Marist Brothers organisation harboured offenders such as O'Sullivan. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 September 2016.)
The Marist Brothers have been forced to acknowledge that yet another one of their members — Brother Thomas Joseph Butler (known as "Brother Patrick") — committed sexual offences against children. Former students, from several Marist schools in New South Wales and Queensland, have told Broken Rites that the Marists knew about Butler's offences but the Marists allowed him to continue teaching — and offending — throughout his long career. Now, Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission is holding a public hearing (in Newcastle in early September 2016) to examine how the Marist leadership handled Brother Patrick Butler plus some other offenders. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 September 2016.)
This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders knowingly protected one of Australia's worst sex-criminal priests, Father Vincent Gerard Ryan. Ryan's superiors (in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese in New South Wales) knew that he was sexually assaulting boys in his parishes. But the church concealed Ryan's crimes from the police and kept him in the ministry for twenty years, giving him access to new victims. He was jailed in the 1990s for some of his crimes, and he is awaiting sentence in 2016 for a few more. Other victims of his are remaining silent. Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission is holding a public hearing (beginning on 31 August 2016 in Newcastle) to investigate how the church handled Fr Vincent Ryan while he was committing these offences. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 September 2016.)
Often, people remain silent for many years before exercising their right to contact the police regarding allegations of church sexual abuse but in January 2014 Sydney police charged a Catholic priest regarding an incident that allegedly occurred relatively recently - in 2005. The priest (from the Maronite rite, a branch of the Catholic Church originating in Lebanon) is scheduled to face Sydney's Parramatta District Court. The parish is St Joseph's Maronite Catholic Church, Acton Street, Croydon, in Sydney's inner-west. (Article updated 6 September 2016.)
In the early 1970s, a boy (this article will refer to him as "Boy A") complained to the Catholic Church about being sexually abused by a Sydney priest, but the church merely transferred the priest to a new parish, thus giving him easy access to more victims, a Sydney court has been told. Many years later, one of the later victims (we will call him "Dwayne", not his real name) contacted Broken Rites, which advised him to speak to police detectives, not to the church. Detectives then charged the priest, Father Robert Flaherty, who pleaded guilty in court in 2015 regarding two of his victims (Boy A and Boy B). A jury found Flaherty guilty of assaulting the third boy (Dwayne). In February 2016, Father Flaherty (aged 72) was sentenced to jail regarding these three victims. Flaherty appealed against the conviction regarding Dwayne. On 24 August 2016. the Appeal Court upheld this conviction, although it agreed to reduce Flaherty's time behind bars. Meanwhile, the news about Flaherty has prompted more alleged victims of Flaherty to contact the detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 25 August 2016.)
The Australian headquarters of the Franciscans (the Order of Friars Minor) have been forced to acknowledge that Brother Paschal Bartlett was a child-abuser. This Brother joined the Franciscan Order in the 1920s, moving through parishes in Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand and Sydney. He supervised altar boys for almost 50 years in these parishes, exploiting his position of authority to sexually abuse them. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 9 September 2016.)
Paedophile Catholic priest David Anthony O’Hearn, 55, has been in jail in New South Wales for the past four years, awaiting details of his jail sentence. In jury trials during the past four years, he has been found guilty of 44 child-sex offences against six victims. For legal reasons, those trials could not be reported in the media until the final jury completed its work in 2016. On 22 August 2016, in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court, Judge Richard Cogswell sentenced O’Hearn to 18 years and three months jail. With time already served, he will be eligible for release on parole on 17 February 2022. This article includes some Broken Rites research about O'Hearn. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 22 August 2016).
An elderly Christian Brother who spent decades teaching in Victorian Catholic schools has been charged with 39 offences, including child sex abuse. Robert Charles Best, 75, now living in Ararat in western Vctoria, is alleged to have committed acts of indecent assault over a 20-year period, according to charge sheets filed with the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 2 September 2016.
Catholic priest Father Glenn Humphreys, who has ministered in several places around Australia, has recently been in jail in Western Australia for child-sex crimes committed in that State. On 16 August 2016, he was arrested in Western Australia by New South Wales Police, to be extradited to New South Wales to face a court there on charges relating to child-sex crimes allegedly committed in NSW. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 August 2016.)
Australia's Catholic Church hierarchy received a complaint in 2002 that a trainee priest (George Pell) had sexually abused a twelve-year-old altar boy (named Phil) in 1961-62 at a holiday camp for boys on Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. According to a church document, Phil has alleged that, on several occasions, the trainee priest George (then about 20) thrust his hand down the inside of Phil's pants and got "a good handful" of the boy's penis and testicles; and, on other occasions, George allegedly tried to guide the boy's hand into the front of George Pell's pants. By the year 2000, when Phil was aged 50, he realised (from television news footage) that the trainee priest George had risen to become an Archbishop. Phil was shocked — "he did not think it right that someone who had behaved indecently towards children should lead the church," the church document says. So, beginning in 2000, Phil tried to alert the church authorities. Phil emphasised that he was not seeking compensation and was not reporting the matter to the police; he was concerned about the safety of children in the church's care; and he merely wanted the church authorities to be aware of the issue. In 2002, the hierarchy paid a senior barrister, Mr Alex Southwell QC, to examine (and report on) Phil's complaint. Archbishop George Pell (who was indeed at the altar boys' camp) denied committing any abuse. Mr Southwell's report concluded that the former altar boy "appeared to speak honestly from an actual recollection". Mr Southwell said he was not persuaded that the former altar boy was a liar as alleged by Pell.
Cardinal George Pell is a frequent flyer, travelling in comfort in Business Class. During his years as Archbishop of Sydney, he would regularly make the flight to Rome so as to keep an eye on career opportunities at the Vatican. Now he has become the third most important person in the Vatican. He now possesses a Vatican passport. He still goes on plane trips from his Rome headquarters but is reluctant to re-appear in Australia. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 August 2016.)
This Broken Rites article tells how the Marist Brothers harboured a child-sex offender (Brother John William Chute) for more than 40 years, giving him access to Australian Catholic schoolchildren. Broken Rites has ascertained that the Marist Brothers appointed Chute (whose religious name is "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, more of Chute's former Canberra students have spoken to the police; and therefore in 2016 a court has ordered Chute to face a trial in Canberra for these additional offences, which were allegedly committed in Canberra in the 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 August 2016.)
The Marist Brothers headquarters in Sydney put a child-sex criminal, Brother Gregory Joseph Sutton, on a plane to Canada after learning that he was being investigated by New South Wales police, Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission has been told. The police extradited him back to Australia, where he was jailed for sexual crimes against girls and boys. Questioned at the Royal Commission, senior Marists down-played Sutton's crimes as merely "improper conduct" or "moral lapses", rather than as crimes. This strategy helps to protect the Marist organisation from being sued by victims for compensation, a victim's lawyer told the Commission. This strategy can also be an attempt by senior Marists to avoid being accused of concealing a crime. Ex-Brother Sutton, who was jailed in 1996 for child-sex crimes committed in New South Wales, is facing additional charges in 2016 in the Australian Capital Territory. On 9 August 2016, a Canberra magistrate committed Sutton for trial. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 10 August 2016.)
In 1996, Broken Rites informed the Australian public that the Catholic Church had been harbouring Father Nazareno Fasciale (pronounced "Fah-SHAH-lay") while he was committing crimes against children. Police charged Fasciale but he suddenly died. Then church leaders, including George Pell, gave this pedophile a grand funeral. One church leader said that the church is "immensely proud" of Fasciale. When Broken Rites exposed this (and other) church cover-ups, George Pell's diocese (Melbourne) went into damage control, hiring a public relations firm to announce the "Melbourne Response", a forerunner of the church's "Towards Healing" strategy. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)
According to Broken Rites research, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has finally been forced to admit that Father Anthony Bongiorno committed sexual crimes against children during his 30 years working in Melbourne parishes. Anthony Salvatore Bongiorno began training for the priesthood about 1960, aged 25, in the same trainee group as George Pell and Denis Hart, both of whom eventually became archbishops of Melbourne. In 1994, Pell (then an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne) officiated at a requiem mass for Bongiorno's brother Sam. Anthony Bongiorno's child-sex crimes were covered up until some were exposed in the mid-1990s. The total number of Bongiorno's abused children is unknown. For example, in 1980, a woman in Bongiorno's parish learned that her son (aged 11) was a Bongiorno victim but this woman was murdered before she could expose Bongiorno about her son's abuse. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 25 July 2016.)
The Catholic Church harboured a child-sex abuser, Marist Brother Gerard Joseph McNamara, for four decades until some of his victims brought him to justice. When the police charged McNamara with child-sex crimes, the Marists enthusiastically supported McNamara and ignored the victims. But Broken Rites supported the victims — and in 2004 McNamara finally pleaded guilty. In 2016, detectives from the Sexual Offences and Child-abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) at Morwell (in eastern Victoria) are laying additional charges against McNamara. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 July 2016.)
This Broken Rites article reveals how the Catholic Church authorities in Western Australia harboured a paedophile priest (Father Kevin Glover) for many years while he committed sexual crimes against local children. When his crimes became known in one parish, the church merely transferred him to another parish. Later, the church arranged for him to transfer to a mission in the Pacific Islands (there, he was safe from any complaints by his Australian victims). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 July 2016.)
One way in which the Catholic Church has traditionally covered up its sex-abuse crimes is by not revealing any written record about complaints. But in 2013, prominent Australian journalist Geraldine Willesee forced the Perth archdiocese to release a 1963 letter which reveals that a priest (Father Brian Gerard Harris) admitted abusing her when she was a pupil in his custody, aged 14, at a Catholic school in Perth. The priest's admission indicates that he was committing a possible criminal offence but the church managed to conceal this information from the police. The church allowed Father Harris to continue as a priest and it successfully concealed Father Harris's admission for 50 years until 2013. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 July 2016.)
A prominent Catholic educator, Christian Brother William Peter ("David") Standen, was the principal at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral College for a decade before he retired in 2010. During his career he also spent six years as the deputy principal at St Dominic's College, Penrith, in Sydney's outer-west. On 10 June 2016, Standen was jailed for indecently assaulting vulnerable young boys at one of his earlier schools (a Catholic boarding school in south-western New South Wales between 1977 and 1981). These boys were aged 10, 11 or 12, feeling isolated and homesick in their first year away from their rural families. The Catholic Church sheltered Brother Standen during these crimes, putting the boys in danger. Overwhelmed by the church's "holy" image, the victims were forced to remain silent about the crimes for many years. Some of the victims have told the court how this cover-up damaged their later lives, ending up in family break-ups and/or life-long struggles with drug and/or alcohol abuse and damaged careers. This Broken Rites article includes a link to a video showing how this case began when detectives arrested Standen at Sydney airport in August 2014. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 July 2016)
A Marist Brother (Br. Michael Gerard Rush, now aged 76) has been charged in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2016 with child-sex offences allegedly committed, earlier in his teaching career, while he was working at Catholic schools in Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 14 July 2016.)
Catholic Church authorities knew that Father Michael Aulsebrook was a child-sex offender in the 1980s and 1990s but they retained him in the priesthood and even promoted him, according to statements made in an Australian court. Aulsebrook was a member of the Australia-wide order of Salesian priests and brothers, which has operated Catholic schools in several Australian states. In the Melbourne County Court in 2011, Aulsebrook was jailed for child-sex crimes committed in the 1980s at a Catholic boarding school in Victoria. This prompted more of his victims to speak to Victoria Police detectives, and therefore he was jailed again in the same court on 21 June 2016. Despite knowing about Aulsebrook's life of crime in Victoria, the Salesian leaders promoted him in the 1990s to be in charge of another Catholic school — in South Australia. The Salesian order is notorious for having tolerated multiple child-abusers in its ranks, and several of these Salesians have been brought to justice by the Victoria Police. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 22 June 2016.)
Since 1993, Broken Rites Australia has been researching the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Too often, the church supported the offending clergy while ignoring the victims. For example, Broken Rites has shown how the church shielded the criminal priest Father Gerald Ridsdale for 32 years without reporting his crimes to the police. Finally, in 1993, some Father Ridsdale victims contacted the police. These victims also contacted the newly-formed Broken Rites.
This photo demonstrates why Broken Rites was needed. In the photo, Catholic priest Gerald Ridsdale (left, in sunglasses and hat) walks to court, accompanied by his support person (Bishop George Pell, then an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne), when Father Ridsdale was pleading guilty to his first batch of criminal charges in May 1993. But no bishop accompanied the victims, who felt deserted by the church leaders. Therefore, since 1993, Broken Rites research has supported many of the Catholic Church's victims, as shown on this website. Read More