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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.

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.)

VIDEO: Another Christian Brother charged in New South Wales

At 8.05am on 4 March 2015, police arrested and charged a Christian Brother in Sydney regarding sexual and indecent assaults upon children. Police allege that the offences were committed three decades ago at Goulburn, in south-western New South Wales. This Broken Rites article tells you how to see to some video footage of the police taking the man into custody. (Article posted on 4 March 2015.)

A Sydney Christian Brother goes on leave

A Catholic boys' secondary school, St Pius X College in Chatswood, sent an email to all parents on Wednesday 4 March 2015, saying that a Christian Brother from Chatswood has gone on leave because he is facing court charges re offences allegedly committed at Goulburn in south-western New South Wales about 25 years ago. Broken Rites has obtained a copy of the email, which reads as follows.

Broken Rites supported these orphanage victims but a bishop opposed them

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 Reg Durham, who was the "chaplain" at this orphanage from 1965 to 1997. We referred these callers to an appropriate unit of the Queensland Police, and this resulted in Father Reg Durham being jailed in 1999 for child sex crimes. In 2015, Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission is holding a public hearing in Rockhampton into child-abuse at this orphanage. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 3 March 2015.)

A Marist Brother is finally brought to justice, after nine jury trials

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. Finally, in 2014, after a total of nine jury trials, a seventh ex-student succeeded in getting Maguire convicted in court. Maguire, now aged 71, is being sentenced in 2015. (Article updated 1 March 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's cover-up of Brother Edward Dowlan (alias Edward Bales) — and how Broken Rites helped to expose this

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 Edward Bales). From the start, they knew that he was committing criminal sexual assaults against Australian schoolchildren and, instead of dismissing him, the Christian Brothers kept transferring him to more schools, thus giving him access to more victims. When police finally charged him after 20 years, the Christian Brothers supported Dowlan, instead of supporting the victims. The victims eventually won (by getting him convicted in 1996 and again in 2014), but their lives have been damaged by the Christian Brothers — and at least one of Brother Dowlan's victims ended up in suicide. (Article updated 25 February 2015.)

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.)

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 in March 2015. The case had a mention in court on 11 February 2015 for a brief administrative process. 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. (Article updated 13 February 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 March 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 posted 13 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.)

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. (Article posted 18 January 2015.)

A Catholic Brother is charged in Victoria and is investigated in NSW

Many years ago, Broken Rites began researching "Brother Gabriel Mount", who had worked in Catholic children's homes conducted by the St John of God Brothers in New South Wales and Victoria. We discovered that he eventually became a priest ("Father Roger Mount"), working in Papua New Guinea. In October 2014 he was brought back to Australia, where Victorian police charged him with multiple child-sex offences, involving seven Victorian victims. He is in custody in Victoria, where he has made two brief appearances in court (by video link from prison), the most recent being on 16 January 2015. New South Wales police, also, are investigating Father Mount concerning incidents that are alleged to have occurred in NSW. (Article updated 16 January 2015.)

Marist Brothers head office receives a complaint about a Brother

A man has complained to the Marist Brothers headquarters in Sydney that while he was a student at Maitland Marist Brothers school in the late 1970s he was sexually abused by Marist Brother Donald Brodie Newton during a camping trip. (Article updated 16 January 2015.)

This "saintly" Marist Brother was finally brought to justice

When John Aloysius Littler became a Marist Brother, he was given the religious name of "Brother Nestor", in remembrance of an ancient saint. But Brother Nestor was no saint. He soon committed sexual crimes against boys in a Catholic orphanage, and the Marist Brothers (as usual) protected him during his subsequent long career as a Brother, including at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, in Sydney — one of the most elite Catholic schools in Australia. (Article posted 18 January 2015.)

A Catholic Brother is locked up on 252 child-sex charges re 35 alleged victims

A former Catholic Brother is in custody in New South Wales in 2015, awaiting a court hearing regarding 252 child sexual assaults. Bernard Kevin McGrath (formerly a member of the St John of God Brothers) is charged with abusing 35 disabled boys while he worked as a Brother in a Catholic institution at Morriset, near Lake Macquarie (between Sydney and Newcastle), in the 1970s and 1980s. (Article updated 14 February 2015.)

These victims obtained justice, supported by Broken Rites

Research by Broken Rites has revealed that a former trainee Catholic priest (Gregory Vincent Coffey) was sentenced in South Australia for a child-sex crime and then, despite this, he was given a senior teaching position in a Melbourne Catholic school, enabling him to commit sex crimes against more children. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Disabled boys were abused in a St John of God institution

One of Australia’s Catholic religious orders – the St John of God Brothers (SJOG) – has specialised in accommodating boys who have an educational (or intellectual) disability. This Broken Rites article is about court cases in the 1990s (and also in 2006) involving Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath, who was jailed for committing sexual crimes against disabled victims. (Article updated 20 December 2014.)

This "chaplain" committed sexual offences in a girls’ orphanage

A senior Catholic nun has confirmed that she sought the removal of a priest, Father Bernard Maxwell Day, who was living at a girls' orphanage in Victoria in the early 1960s. Father Day was one of a series of "chaplains" who occupied a flat at the orphanage. Father Day was removed after allegations that he was molesting girls at the orphanage. In a submission to a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry in 2013, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese admitted that Fr Day committed sexual offences against children. (Article updated 29 January 2015.)

An ex-bishop is ordered to give evidence in court about an ex-priest

A retired Australian Catholic bishop, Most Reverend Ronald Mulkearns, has been ordered by a court to give evidence in a case against a former priest, Robert Claffey. This order was made by the Geelong Magistrates Court in Victoria on 12 December 2014 when ex-priest Claffey (now aged 70), was charged with multiple incidents of indecent assault against seven children. (Article updated 12 December 2014.)

Christian Brother Peter Lennox on charges from 40 years ago

Former Christian Brother Peter Nicholas Joseph Lennox, now aged 75, who had a senior role in Catholic schools at Manly (in Sydney) and Goulburn (in southern New South Wales), has appeared in court charged with committing offences against schoolboys. The offences allegedly occurred in the 1970s when the boys were aged between 13 and 15. The case, which is being investigated by Sydney detectives, is scheduled to come up for another administrative mention in court in Sydney in late March 2015. (Article updated 6 February 2015.)

Melbourne priest Terry Pidoto is to face a criminal trial

Father Terry Pidoto, who has had a long career as a Catholic priest in parishes around Melbourne, has been ordered to face a judge in the Victorian County Court, charged with multiple child-sex offences. A court day is scheduled for late 2015 for a judge to hear submissions from lawyers about procedures for the subsequent trial. (Article updated 12 December 2014.)

A lay teacher is jailed for crimes at two Catholic schools in Sydney

Alan James Pollock originally was a trainee Brother in the Catholic religious order of Patrician Brothers but later he left the brotherhood and then worked as a lay teacher in Sydney Catholic schools, where he committed sexual crimes against children. Years later, eleven of his victims reported his crimes to the police. Finally, on 12 December 2014 he was jailed. (Article updated 10 December 2014.)

A Marist Brother pleads guilty to an offence from 40 years ago

Marist Brother Peter Pemble (aged 66) 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 December 2014.)

An ex-priest will face a trial re St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, NSW

A former Catholic priest, Peter John Ryan, is scheduled to stand trial in the Sydney District Court, charged with indecently assaulting a male. The alleged victim was a student at St Stanislaus College boys' school in Bathurst, New South Wales, in the 1970s. (Article updated 18 February 2015.)


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