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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


A Catholic religious Brother is charged with assaulting a Sydney schoolboy

A retired Catholic religious Brother (Brother Peter Higgins, now 77) is facing a Sydney magistrates court, charged with sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy at a Patrician Brothers school in the mid-1970s. Police allege that the primary head teacher (Brother Basil Downey) knew about Higgins' offending at the time, and therefore Downey (now 89) is charged with having been "an accessory after the fact". Originally, lawyers for the Patrician Brothers obtained a court order prohibiting the media from referring to the Patrician Brothers or naming the two defendants but this order was later defeated by the Director of Public Prosecutions. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 May 2016.)

Does the public have a right to know?

In court in late 2012, a Catholic religious Brother (Br Martin Harmata, of the Patrician Brothers order) was charged with sexually abusing children at a school in Sydney's west (Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown). The question arose about whether Brother Harmata could be granted a media-suppression order. (This would prevent the public — and any other victims — from learning Harmata's name and the name of the school.) However, the suppression order was removed. Thus, the people of Sydney have been allowed to learn about this case. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

The Virgin Mary was not allowed to witness these child-abuse crimes

Broken Rites is continuing its research about a Catholic religious order — the Patrician Brothers — who have been prominent in Catholic boys' schools in western Sydney. One of the Patrician Brothers' most senior members in Australia (Thomas William Grealy, known as "Brother Augustine") has admitted in court that, as a school principal, he indecently assaulted young boys, either in his office or in the classroom. In his office, according to court evidence, he would cover a statue of the Virgin Mary with a coat to hide his shame before assaulting a pupil. Grealy served a jail sentence but, after leaving jail, he was still accepted as a member of the Patrician Brothers. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 May 2016.)

Broken Rites helped the victims of Marist Brother 'Romuald' Cable to obtain justice

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 (Article updated 27 May 2016.)

"Guilty" 44 times: Father David O'Hearn is in jail, awaiting another sentencing

Breaking News: It can now be revealed that Catholic priest David Anthony O’Hearn, 55, has been in jail in New South Wales for the past four years, and he is awaiting a further sentence for more of his crimes. 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 have not been reported in the media - until now. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 May 2016).

Background article: Father David O'Hearn was 'tipped off' during a church "investigation"

A private investigator hired by a Catholic Church panel to "investigate" sexual abuse allegations against Father David Anthony O'Hearn "tipped off" this priest during the church's inquiry, according to a police document tendered to an Australian criminal court. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 1 July 2010.)

A Maronite Catholic priest facing court in Sydney about a 2005 alleged assault

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 a trial in 2016 in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court. (Article updated 30 April 2016.)

A priest from northern NSW is in court in 2016 on child-sex charges

A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 68, who is charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed against two young boys in the 1980s, has completed his preliminary hearings (with a Local Court magistrate) and is scheduled now to face a trial (with a District Court judge) in mid-2016. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 21 May 2016)

Criminal priest John Joseph Farrell was protected by church officials: Full story

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church officials kept quiet for THIRTY YEARS about the crimes of the paedophile priest John Joseph Farrell (also known as "Father F"). Eventually, Broken Rites (but not the church officials) advised some of Farrell's victims to speak to the Sex Crime Squad detectives of the New South Wales Police; and, as result, Farrell was finally sentenced in a Sydney court on 2 May 2016 to spend a minimum of 18 years in jail. Now the church officials need to explain why they concealed Farrell's crimes from the police. Concealing a crime can itself be a crime. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 May 2016).

How Father John Joseph Farrell's crimes (and the church's cover-up) were exposed in court

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 2016 regarding several more children from the 1980s. And other children from the 1980s have not yet spoken to the NSW Police detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 May 2016).

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. In 2016, Cattell is being charged again in Liverpool Local Court after another alleged victim contacted the police; this case (number 2016/00101011) will proceed further during 2016. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 15 May 2016.)

Catholic Church has received a sex-abuse allegation against George Pell (and there is no mention of exoneration)

In October 2002, the Catholic Church in Australia paid a senior barrister, Mr Alex Southwell QC, to investigate an allegation that, about forty years earlier, a trainee priest named George had sexually abused a twelve-year-old altar boy at a holiday camp for young boys in tents on Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. According to Mr Southwell's report, the former altar boy (referred to in this article as "C ", for Complainant) has alleged that, on several occasions, the trainee priest George thrust his hand down the inside of C's pants and got "a good handful" of the boy's penis and testicles; and C also alleged that, on other occasions, George tried to guide C's hand into the front of George's pants. In the year 2000, when C was aged 50, he discovered (from television news footage) that the trainee priest George had risen to become the archbishop of Melbourne. C was shocked — "he did not think it right that someone who had behaved indecently towards children should lead the church," the Southwell report says. So, beginning in 2000, C wanted to alert the church authorities. C emphasised that he was not seeking compensation; he merely wanted the church authorities to note the alleged incidents.  Mr Southwell concluded that C "appeared to speak honestly from an actual recollection", while Archbishop George Pell (who was indeed present at the altar boys' camp) denied the alleged abuse.

The Christian Brothers punished these orphan boys for revealing a Brother's crimes

In the 1960s, Christian Brother William Stuart Houston (born 18 February 1939) committed sexual crimes against numerous boys whom he was supervising at St Augustine's orphanage, Geelong, Victoria. He managed to evade justice for the next fifty years but on 17 May 2016 six of his victims finally succeeded in getting him jailed for his crimes. At the sentencing, Judge Peter Kidd said that some of these victims had tried to tell other Christian Brothers at the orphanage about Houston's offences but were punished for doing so. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 May 2016.)

This victim got his sex-abuse allegations raised in Parliament

In 1963-1970 Christian Brother William Stuart Houston worked at St Augustine's orphanage, Geelong, Victoria. In 1997 the Geelong Magistrates Court ordered Houston to stand trial at the Victorian County Court for sexual offences allegedly committed against one boy (surnamed F*****) at the orphanage in the 1960s but, for legal reasons, the County Court case concerning this boy did not proceed. However, in 1999, a member of the Victorian Parliament made a speech in the Legislative Assembly, telling this boy's story. (Posted by a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 May 2016.).

A Sydney priest committed child-abuse, police allege

A retired Catholic priest, Father Robert James Hickman (now aged 71), has finished going through preliminary procedures with a Sydney magistrate, charged with having committed child-sexual abuse while he was ministering (in parish work or, at one stage, as a full-time chaplain for some disadvantaged people) in the Sydney archdiocese during the 1970s and 1980s and 1990s. Now, in mid-2016, his case is moving to a higher court, Sydney's Parramatta District Court, where it will be handled by a judge.  (Article updated 14 May 2016)

Christian Brother Obbens admits crimes against schoolboys in New South Wales

Christian Brother William John Obbens (also known as Brother "Dominic" Obbens), now aged 70 and living in Sydney, has pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting boys at a school in a regional town in the late 1980s. On 9 May 2016, Brother Obbens appeared in Goulburn District Court (in south-western New South Wales) on three charges of sexual assault or indecent assault on three boys (then aged 11-13) while the boys were under his authority at St Patrick's Christian Brothers College, Goulburn (this school is known now as Trinity Catholic College Goulburn). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 10 May 2016)

Is this case a classic example of a church cover-up?

Broken Rites has done research about Christian Brother William John Obbens (known as Brother "Dominic" Obbens), who was convicted in court in 1989 for sexually abusing a boy (let's call him "Gus") at St Patrick’s College, Goulburn, in south-western New South Wales. The Christian Brothers covered-up the crime and the court case. They did not tell the school's students or parents about it and did not ask if any victims needed help. The victim, "Gus" went on to have a damaged adult life. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 10 May 2016.)

Christian Brother David Standen damaged our lives, victims say in court

Eleven victms, now middle-aged, told a Sydney court on 15 April 2016 how their lives have been damaged by a sexually-abusive Christian Brother, William Peter ("David") Standen, in a Catholic boys' boarding school in south-western New South Wales in 1978-81. At the time of the abuse, these boys were aged 10, 11 or 12, feeling isolated and homesick in their first year away from their rural families. Several of the victims told how Standen's crimes have shaken their religious faith and have led to family break-ups and life-long struggles with drug and alcohol abuse and damaged careers. Meanwhile, Brother Standen's career boomed: he later spent six years as the deputy principal at St Dominic's College, Penrith, in western Sydney; and finally he was the principal of the prestigious St Mary's Cathedral College in inner-Sydney for a decade until 2010. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 15 April 2016)

VIDEO: Christian Brother Chris Rafferty, now in Sydney, is facing a court trial

Christian Brother Christopher Rafferty, now living in Sydney, is scheduled to face a trial in Sydney in late 2016, charged 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. 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. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

This Broken Rites article tells you how to see to some video footage of the police taking a man into custody before he was charged.

The church kept quiet about Christian 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. In November 2014 in the Sydney District Court, Richards was jailed for committing sexual offences against Catholic schoolboys. On 15 April 2016, while still in jail, Richards was brought back to the same court, where he pleaded guilty to offences committed against two more of his former students; and now he is to be sentenced again regarding these two victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 15 April 2016.)

De La Salle Brothers harboured this paedophile, Brother George Taylor, for many years

Broken Rites is doing further research about Brother "George" Taylor, who was a child-molester in the Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers in Australia. Brother George was finally brought to justice at the age of 79 when a former pupil, aged nearly 40, managed to persuade the New South Wales police to investigate Brother George regarding incidents that had occurred three decades earlier when the boy was eleven. Since then, other victims of Brother George have contacted Broken Rites, the latest being in April 2016. (Article updated 22 April 2016)

This priest assaulted girls — and the church kept giving him more victims

Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission has been told how the Catholic Church allowed a priest, Father Martin Newbold, to commit sex-crimes against young girls. The church concealed his crimes from the police and transferred him from one Australian state to another to protect him. Thus the church inflicted this criminal on more victims in new parishes. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 13 April 2016.)

A NSW priest is scheduled to stand trial, charged with assaulting a girl, aged 10

A judge has scheduled a date in late 2016 when a Catholic priest in south-western New South ales, Father Neru Leuea, 48, will face a court trial regarding the alleged sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl. Police allege that the assault occurred in 2002-2003, about the time this man began working as a priest. The trial is listed for the Wagga District Court. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 14 April 2016.)

The Church knew about Father Michael Aulsebrook's child-abuse, a court was told

Catholic Church authorities knowingly kept a child-molester (Father Michael Aulsebrook) in the priesthood and even promoted him to be in charge of a school, according to statements made in an Australian criminal court in 2011. Aulsebrook, who is no longer in the priesthood, is due to face another court trial in 2016 after another former schoolboy contacted police investigators. And, in 2016, these detectives are still interested in making further inquiries about Aulsebrook's past. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 2 April 2016.)

Catholic priest in court in Melbourne regarding five alleged victims

Victoria Police have charged Catholic priest Frank De Dood (a member of the Salesian religious order) with child-sex offences which he allegedly committed against young boys in Melbourne between 1978 and 1983. Police have obtained written statements from five former students.

The Jesuits acknowledge some complaints about abuse at Melbourne's Xavier College

One of Australia's most "prestigious" Catholic schools — Melbourne's Xavier College, conducted by the Jesuit priests — has publicly acknowledged that some former students have complained about having been indecently handled during their time at the school.

A Marist Brother is locked up on child-porn charges in Sydney

A Marist Brother (Terence Joseph Gilsenan, 60) is scheduled for court in Sydney in 2016, charged with producing child-abuse material. The material was produced by combining faces of children with images of adults engaged in sexual acts, court documents allege. Police arrested Gilsenan at the Marist Brothers' imposing Sydney harborside residence at 14 Drummoyne Avenue, Drummoyne. A court has refused him bail and he will remain in custody to await his court proceedings. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 18 March 2016.)

A Marist Brother pleads guilty on indecent assault charges

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. He will be sentenced later in 2016. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 March 2016.)

Jailed: A Catholic Brother committed buggery against a Sydney schoolboy, aged 11

Brother Michael Jeffrey Stanton (who was known in the Patrician Brothers religious order as "Brother Jeffrey") worked in Catholic schools in Sydney and regional New South Wales. On 12 February 2016, when he was aged over 60, he was jailed for sexual crimes committed against an 11-year-old boy at Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown, in Sydney's west. The crimes, including buggery, occurred in 1980 when Brother Jeffrey was in his mid-twenties. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 19 March 2016.)

A former Marist Brother, who was later appointed as a "director of child safety", is to face a trial in Sydney

When he was a Marist Brother in his mid-twenties, Brother Brett Anthony O'Connor worked at two prominent Sydney schools — St Joseph's College in Hunters Hill and St Gregory's College in Campbelltown. 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 charged O'Connor with alleged child-sex offences, relating to when he was a Marist Brother at the two Sydney schools. On 11 March 2016, O'Connor (now aged 52) completed his preliminary court proceedings with a magistrate in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court. The next step in the case is scheduled to be with a judge in the Sydney District Court on 21 November 2016. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 22 March 2016.)

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