Since 1993, Broken Rites has been doing research about how Melbourne's Catholic bishops harboured a number of sexually-abusive priests. In the mid-1990s, Broken Rites began exposing these priests. Now some of these priests, from the Broken Rites list, are being investigated by Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission during a four-weeks public hearing in Melbourne in November-December 2015. This article will point you to the original Broken Rites research about each of these priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 November 2015.)
For years, the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Peter Searson was committing sexual offences against boys, girls and women but he was allowed to continue in parishes, including at the Doveton parish (in Melbourne's south-east), where he survived for years under the supervision of the regional bishop for the south-eastern suburbs, Auxiliary Bishop George Pell. The Victoria Police investigated Searson for sexual offences in parishes but found it difficult to extract evidence from "loyal" church people. Eventually, after 35 years as a priest, the police finally managed to charge Searson with physical assault. Thus, Searson's abuse thus became public. The church authorities were forced to dump Searson from parish work. Hoping to protect the church's public image, the church also removed his name from the published list of retired priests. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated 1 November 2015)
The Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Wilfred James Baker was committing crimes against children but it allowed him to continue in the priesthood, thereby inflicting him on more victims. This cover-up was finally exposed by Broken Rites and Baker was jailed. After he finished this jail term, more of his earlier victims came forward. But, in February 2014, Baker died before the courts could sentence him again.
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 have charged O'Connor with alleged child-sex offences, relating to when he was a Marist Brother at the two Sydney schools. O'Connor, now aged 52, is being charged in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court regarding 14 offences allegedly committed against three students from the two schools. (Article updated on 25 November 2015.)
High-profile Brisbane Catholic priest Father Paul McLachlan — the television face of the Catholic Church in Queensland for many years — was jailed in October 2000 for child-sex crimes. This prompted more victims to come forward, and he was given an increased jail sentence in July 2001. In 2015, McLachlan (now aged 82) has been charged with additional offences, committed against another child forty years ago. The 2015 charges are mentioned near the end of this article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 November 2015.)
Father Terrence Pidoto, who has already been in jail for committing sexual crimes against boys in parishes around Melbourne, was scheduled to face the Melbourne County Court again on 20 November 2015, charged with additional child-sex offences after some more of his victims contacted the detectives in the Victoria Police sex-crime squad.But he died in mid-November (from health problems) and now his victims will not achieve justice. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 November 2015)
Catholic priest Father Glenn Humphreys, who has ministered in several places around Australia, is currently in jail in Western Australia for child-sex crimes committed in that State. When he finishes his West Australian jail term in late 2015, he is 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 14 November 2015.)
A Catholic priest in south-western New South Wales, Father Neru Leuea, 48, is behind bars after being charged with the aggravated sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl. Police allege that the assault occurred 13 years ago, in 2002, about the time he began working as a priest. (Article updated on 19 November 2015.)
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 have died by 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 11 November 2015.)
Catholic priest Roger Melville Mount (formerly known by a religious name, Brother "Gabriel" Mount) is currently awaiting trial in Melbourne, charged with sexual child-abuse, allegedly committed between 1968 and 1974 in the Melbourne region.. (Article updated 1 November 2015.)
Christian Brother Terrence Patrick Kingston (now retired, aged 78), who had a long career as a teacher and administrator in several Australian states, is now being prosecuted in court by police on historic child-sex charges. Police allege that these incidents occurred in Queensland in the 1970s. Police are also checking Brother Terry Kingston's career in other parts of Australia (in New South Wales and the Northern Territory). (Article updated 30 October 2015)
A boy complained about being sexually abused by a Catholic priest, but the church merely transferred the priest to a new parish, thus giving him access to more children, a Sydney court has been told. Many years later, one of the victims contacted Broken Rites, which advised him to speak to detectives. Police then charged the priest, Father Robert Flaherty, who has recently pleaded guilty regarding his assaults on two of his victims, committed in Sydney parishes between 1971 and 1981. On 7 September 2015, a jury found Flaherty guilty of assaulting a third boy (in 1977). Father Flaherty (now retired, aged 72) is scheduled for sentencing in December 2015 regarding these three victims. Meanwhile, the detectives have recently been contacted by more alleged victims of Flaherty. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated 1 November 2015.)
Three De La Salle Brothers have been ordered to stand trial, charged with sexual offences against children at BoysTown in Queensland. This institution (now closed) was for disadvantaged or homeless boys. It was operated by the Catholic religious order of De La Salle Brothers at Beaudesert, south-west of Brisbane. The three men, who worked at BoysTown many years ago, were: Brother Frank BROPHY (formerly known as "Brother Cormac"), Brother Phillip SHERIDAN (formerly known as "Brother Raymond") and Brother Bernard COOPER. These three are being prosecuted by police separately. Each of the three has already been through his own preliminary ("committal") hearing and now each is awaiting a date for his own separate trial. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated 14 October 2015)
A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 67, has appeared in court, charged with sexual offences allegedly committed against two young boys in the 1980s. In July 2015, Casey was placed in custody without bail. A magistrate said the charges are serious and could bring a custodial sentence if there is a conviction. On 8 October 2015, after three months behind bars, Casey was finally granted bail pending his next court appearance. The court process is scheduled to continue soon. (Article by Broken Rites, updated 8 October 2015.)
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 19 October 2015.)
A former Catholic priest, Father Peter Lewis Comensoli, now aged 76, has been committed to stand trial in the New South Wales District Court accused of molesting boys while this priest was working in the Wollongong diocese, south of Sydney, in the 1960s. In October 2015, some additional charges were added to the case, which is scheduled to come before a judge in 2016.
A former Catholic Brother is in custody in New South Wales, awaiting a court trial regarding child sexual assaults. Bernard Kevin McGrath (formerly a member of the St John of God Brothers) is charged with abusing a number of 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. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 February 2015.)
A former Catholic priest, Robert Claffey, 72, is currently awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting nine children (eight boys and a girl) while he was a priest in western Victoria. The charges include 15 counts of indecent assault and one count of buggery. On 28 September 2015, the Victorian County Court was told that the number of charges will be increased soon because two more alleged victims have recently contacted the Victoria Police. The case is scheduled now for the County Court in 2016. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 October 2015.)
An Australian Catholic archbishop is awaiting court proceedings against him for allegedly concealing a colleague's child-sex abuse. Archbishop Philip Wilson has been charged by police with concealing child-sex abuse allegedly committed by another priest during the 1970s. Archbishop Wilson is understood to be the most senior Catholic official worldwide to face court over a concealment allegation of this type. The concealment charge carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. Archbishop Wilson is contesting the charge.
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 rise to the top of the Australian church hierarchy? Wilson's senior roles eventually included the managing of the church's response to clergy sexual abuse.
A Catholic former religious Brother, Edward Mamo, who has already spent time in jail, pleaded guilty again in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 11 September 2015 after 15 more of his victims contacted Broken Rites and/or the Victoria Police. The guilty plea is for 28 additional indecent assaults, committed while Brother Mamo worked at Monivae College, a Catholic secondary school, at Hamilton, 290 kilometres west of Melbourne, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Mamo has also worked at Chevalier College in Bowral, New South Wales, but the Victorian court case is only for Victorian offences. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 September 2015.)
For years, the Catholic Church has been harbouring a prominent Australian priest, Father Julian Fox, who indecently assaulted vulnerable schoolboys on their naked bottoms. The boys, silenced by the holy image of the priesthood, later found that their lives were damaged by this priestly breach of trust. Some of them, in adulthood, eventually contacted the police but the church authorities transferred Father Fox overseas, out of the reach of the Australian police. The police finally got Fox back to Australia, where they charged him with multiple incidents of buggery and indecent assault committed at two Melbourne schools between 1976 and 1985. In Melbourne in 2015 Fox was sentenced to jail for the indecent assaults but his defence lawyer told the court that, despite now being a convicted criminal, Father Fox is still officially a Catholic priest and still has the support of the church authorities. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 September 2015)
Broken Rites has examined an out-of-court civil settlement, in which a Catholic religious order (the Salesian Fathers) made a payment to a former Melbourne schoolboy who complained that he was sexually abused by a priest, Father Julian Fox. Father Fox was a minister, teacher and administrator at several Salesian schools, including Salesian College, "Rupertswood", which was a boarding school at Sunbury, north-west of Melbourne. (Article posted 28 August 2015)
Christian Brother Christopher Rafferty, now aged 63, from Sydney, appeared in court on 19 August 2015, 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. The court case will resume on a future date in what could be a multi-step process. 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 before he was charged. (Article updated on 25 August 2015.)
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 in Sydney, and the Marist Brothers (as usual) harboured 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. Some of the orphanage victims eventually got Brother Nestor charged by the police. In the latest development, in 2015, another victim has forced the Marist Brothers to apologise for sexual abuse committed by Brother Nestor at a school in Maitland, New South Wales. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 August 2015.)
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 been ordered by a magistrate to face a trial in the NSW District Court, charged with committing child-sex offences. The Lennox matter is listed now for a hearing in 2016. (Article updated 3 August 2015.)
In March 2015, Victorian Catholic priest Father Leslie Sheahan (aged 84) was jailed for three months for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl in one of his parishes forty years ago. After the media reported this case, more victims contacted the Victoria Police. In July 2015, immediately after leaving jail, Sheahan was charged in court again with indecently assaulting two more girls from another of his early parishes, and the court convicted him again. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 August 2015.)
A Catholic priest, Father Robert Claffey, indecently assaulted two boys after their sister died in a road accident, a court was told in 1998. The priest started visiting the boys' house after the accident in 1978 to "comfort" them at bed-time. (Article published in 1998, updated in July 2015.)
One of the Marist Brothers' most senior educators in Australia, BrotherPeter Pemble, was jailed on 23 July 2015 (aged 67) for a child-sex crime which he committed 40 years earlier when he was in his twenties. In court, Pemble pleaded guilty to the offence, which was committed against a junior boy in a Marist school at Maitland (in the Hunter region, north of Sydney) in the early 1970s. Eventually, Brother Peter Pemble became the principal of several Catholic schools in Sydney. The victim finally spoke to police, 40 years after the crime, because he still feels hurt by the sexual abuse and the cover-up. (Article updated 23 July 2015.)
The Catholic Church harboured a sexually abusive religious Brother, Bernard Hartman, throughout his long career in Australia and the United States. In Australia, the Melbourne Catholic diocese learned that Brother Hartman had committed crimes against Melbourne school-children but it did not report these crimes to the police. Finally, on 24 July 2015, some of his Melbourne victims got Brother Hartman (aged 75) jailed for his crimes. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated 24 July 2015)
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