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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


A prominent priest is finally jailed for child-sex crimes (and he is STILL a priest)

The former Australian head of a worldwide Catholic religious order was sentenced to jail on 28 August 2015 for child-sex crimes. Father Julian Fox, 70, of the Salesian order, was found guilty of indecently assaulting boys at two Melbourne schools. The crimes occurred between 1976 and 1985. After these crimes, Father Fox was appointed as the Australian head of the Salesian order. Later, the Salesians transferred him overseas, thus enabling him to evade Australian police — until the police eventually got him back to Australia to face the courts. After he was convicted in 2015, Fox's defence lawyer told the court that Father Fox is still officially a Catholic priest and still has the support of the Salesians. (Article posted 28 August 2015)

The church makes a private settlement with a schoolboy whose life was damaged

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)

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

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.)

This "saintly" Marist Brother has finally been 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 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.)

Three De La Salle Brothers in court on charges re BoysTown, Queensland

Three De La Salle Brothers are involved in court proceedings in 2015-2016, 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. These three Brothers are being prosecuted separately, not as a group. Each of the three cases has already been through preliminary proceedings by mid-2015 and each is now each awaiting a date for the next step in the judicial process. (Article updated 5 August 2015)

Christian Brother Peter Lennox is committed for trial 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 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.)

A priest leaves jail, then back in court again on more child-abuse charges

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.)

Crimes by a priest? No, it was merely 'misbehaviour', says his bishop

Retired bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who once administered the Catholic Church throughout western Victoria, has been forced to appear in court to answer questions about one of his priests, Robert Claffey (now aged 72), who is facing multiple child-assault charges. In the witness box on 29 July 2015, Bishop Mulkearns was forced to admit that, yes, he had indeed known in the 1980s about Father Claffey's offences against children. According to a court document, Father Claffey left one parish in 1989 after offences there but Bishop Mulkearns then appointed him to another parish, where Father Claffey allegedly offended again in 1991-91. In court in 2015, Mulkearns indicated that he regards Claffey's alleged crimes against children as merely "misbehaviour". (By a Broken Rites researcher, article 2 August  2015.)

This priest assaulted two boys after their sister died in a road accident

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.)

A prominent Marist Brother is jailed — 40 years after the crime

One of the Marist Brothers' most senior educators in Australia, Brother Peter 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.)

A Catholic religious Brother is jailed at the end of his long career

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)

A Jesuit priest is jailed after admitting offences against children

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father David Rankin, a Catholic priest in the Jesuit religious order, who was jailed in 2014 after pleading guilty to acts of indecency committed against three young boys in Sydney. These particular offences occurred in the 1960s when Rankin was a school teacher (by 1970, he was ordained as a Jesuit priest). These three boys are not necessarily Rankin's only victims during his 50-year career; they are merely three who took the opportunity to speak with a New South Wales Police detective. This shows that, even after 50 years, it is never too late to report a child-abuse crime to the child-protection police. After becoming a priest, Father Rankin ministered in Melbourne and Tasmania — and in Canada. (Article updated 22 July 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 22 August 2015.)

A priest abused two boys aged 9 and 11, police allege

A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 67, appeared in court on 10 July 2015, charged with sexual offences, allegedly committed against two young boys in the 1980s. Casey has been denied bail. A magistrate said the charges are serious and could bring a custodial sentence if there is a conviction. (Article updated 11 July 2015.)

A woman tells the Royal Commission how she was abused as a child

An Australian woman, who allegedly suffered sexual abuse by a Catholic priest when she was just six years old, has finally broken her silence after 50 years. Recently, 56-year-old Gina Swannell has exercised her right to have a private interview with Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 August 2015)

Ex-priest John Farrell (from Armidale/Moree, NSW) fails to get his name suppressed in a Sydney court on 26 charges

Former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court on 30 June 2015, charged with 26 sexual offences which were allegedly committed against five boys between 1981 and 1984 in northern New South Wales. According to court documents, some of these 26 offences allegedly occurred while Father Farrell was based at the Moree parish (within the Armidale Catholic diocese); and some allegedly occurred when Father Farrell visited a parish at Tweed Heads (in the Lismore diocese) on the NSW north coast. The Sydney magistrate refused to suppress Farrell's name. This court case is confined to these five children (and these 26 charges) and it does not include any charges which Farrell might face regarding any other children. Farrell was refused bail and will remain in custody. He is scheduled to face court proceedings in early 2016. (Article updated by a Broken Rites researcher, 1 July 2015)

An ex-priest from Moree/Armidale NSW (name suppressed in an Armidale court) has been ordered to face a higher court on 76 sex-abuse charges

A former Catholic priest (from Moree and Armidale in northern New South Wales) faced 76 sex-abuse charges in the Armidale Local Court in 2012-2014. The charges involved offences which he allegedly committed against boys and girls. For legal reasons, the Armidale magistrate imposed a media-suppression order, prohibiting publication of the ex-priest's name (at present) in relation to these Armidale Local Court charges. The ex-priest pleaded "Guilty" to 45 of these charges, and he will eventually be sentenced on those. He pleaded "Not Guilty" to 31 other charges, and these contested charges are scheduled to go to trial in a higher court, the Sydney District Court in Sydney, beginning in early 2016. The Sydney judge will decide whether the Armidale magistrate's name-suppression order should be continued, or removed, during the Sydney District Court proceedings. Later, the ex-priest will be sentenced by the Sydney District Court regarding all the relevant charges that originated in the Armidale court, including the charges to which he has already pleaded "Guilty". Meanwhile, the ex-priest has been refused bail and he remains in custody, awaiting his court proceedings. (Article updated 29 May 2015)

The church covered up for "Father F" for 30 years

Research by Broken Rites has demonstrated how Catholic Church leaders kept quiet about a certain Australian priest, "Father F" (from the Armidale diocese in northern New South Wales), for THIRTY years until the matter was finally revealed by the media (not by the church) in 2012. Church leaders now need to explain why they remained silent for so long. (Article updated 23 April 2014).

Broken Rites helped to nab Marist Brother 'Romuald' for his crimes (including buggery)

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 around Sydney and the Newcastle region. 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. Detectives from Newcastle then found more victims. On 18 June 2015 "Romuald" Cable, aged 83, was sentenced to at least eight years jail regarding 19 victims. These 19 were not Brother Romuald's only victims — these are merely those who have spoken to the detectives. Other victims have remained silent. (Article updated 21 June 2015)

A Catholic Brother is in court in Victoria and is being 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 allegedly committed within Victoria. He is in custody in Victoria, where a magistrate has committed Mount to face a trial (due to begin on 3 July 2015). New South Wales police, also, are investigating Father Mount concerning incidents that are alleged to have occurred in NSW. (Article updated 2 July 2015.)

A victim brings Father Kelvin Sharkey to justice, with help from Broken Rites

The Catholic Church in Australia harboured this sexually-abusive priest, Father Kelvin Gerald Sharkey, for 50 years until he was brought to justice by one of his victims, with help from Broken Rites. This victim contacted Broken Rites (and then the police) in 2007, telling us how he was raped by Sharkey as a ten-year-old altar boy in 1969. In 2010, Sharkey was jailed for the rape of this boy. And when he was locked up in jail, Sharkey was still officially a priest (still "Reverend Father Sharkey"). Research by Broken Rites has shown that this boy was not Sharkey's only victim. (Article updated 10 July 2015)

He has been convicted and jailed but he is STILL a Marist Brother

A Marist Brother (Terry Gilsenan) has served time in jail for committing child-sex crimes while he was on the staff of a Catholic school in Sydney but, despite this, he is STILL a Marist Brother in 2015 and he is cited as a contact person on a church website, selling comic books and school resources for the Marist Brothers. (Article posted 13 June 2015.)

Priest guilty of child-sex crimes in New South Wales

On 1 June 2015 a Catholic priest was found guilty of 31 child sex offences committed against boys in the Hunter Region, north of Sydney, in the 1980s. The priest was remanded in custody. He will be sentenced on a later date.

Report of an inquiry into an allegation of sexual abuse against George Pell (and there is no mention of exoneration)

In October 2002, the Catholic Church in Australia posted on its official website a report of a church inquiry into an allegation of sexual abuse against George Pell. The allegation concerned an alleged incident in the early 1960s, when George Pell (then aged 20) was training to become a priest. The report was compiled by a Victorian barrister, Mr A.J. Southwell Q.C., who had been paid by the Catholic Church authorities to conduct an inquiry into the allegation. The terms of reference for the inquiry were set by the church authorities.

Cardinal George Pell instructed his lawyers to crush this victim - and other victims

Cardinal George Pell is claiming now that he has "helped" the Catholic Church's sex-abuse victims. Therefore, let's look  at how Pell treated one of the church's victims — a former altar boy, John Ellis. Cardinal Pell (as head of the Sydney Catholic archdiocese) instigated the archdiocese's legal battle against John Ellis, according to evidence and documents presented to Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission. Pell's legal victory in 2007 (known as the "Ellis defence") now forces church-victims to accept a discounted in-house "Towards Healing" settlement instead of suing for proper compensation, the Commission was told. And this Broken Rites article demonstrates that John Ellis was not the only victim of his abuser, Sydney priest Father Aidan Duggan. (Article updated 8 June 2015.)

A classic case: The church protected Father Stockdale, thus putting children at risk

The Catholic Church sheltered Father John Stockdale for 31 years in parishes in northern Victoria while he committed sexual crimes against boys. Parishioners complained about Father Stockdale being a danger to children but these warnings were ignored. The church "just didn't want to know" about Stockdale, victims say. Publicly, Father Stockdale upheld the strict morality which the church imposed on all lay Catholics. Privately, Father Stockdale was going to a gay club to have casual sex. On New Year's Eve in 1995, Fr Stockdale was found dead in a sex cubicle at the "Club 80" gay venue in Melbourne. The church then gave him a pious funeral, not realising that the truth about Stockdale would eventually become public. The church then gave him a pious funeral, but (with help from Broken Rites) the church's hypocrisy about Stockdale was soon exposed. (Article updated 8 June 2015)

'Towards Healing' helps the church, rather than the victims

Broken Rites is pleased that Australia's national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating the Catholic Church's so-called "Towards Healing" process, which claims to "help" the church's abuse-victims.  Broken Rites has been researching "Towards Healing" since 1996, and this article sums up some of our main findings so far. This Broken Rites article demonstrates how "Towards Healing" is really a business strategy, designed to protect the church from the legal liability of compensating some victims or, at least, to limit any compensation.

This paedophile, Monsignor John Day, was defended by Bishop Mulkearns

Broken Rites has forced the Catholic Church to admit that it protected one of Australia's worst paedophile priests, Monsignor John Day, for many years while he was committing sexual crimes against children. One church leader — Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, of the Ballarat diocese — spoke in defence of Monsignor Day. At one stage, Monsignor Day had another criminal priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale, working under him — two criminal priests in the one parish. And later a eulogy of Monsignor Day was published in the diocese's magazine (about this time, Father George Pell became editor of this magazine). (Article updated 5 June 2015)

George Pell praised this paedophile priest, Fr Kevin O'Donnell

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 superiors 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 (see further down in this article, under the sub-heading "Praise from George Pell"). Eventually some of O'Donnell's victims (with help from Broken Rites) contacted the police and got O'Donnell convicted and jailed. Cardinal George Pell has some explaining to do about how the church covered up for Father Kevin O'Donnell. (Article updated 1 June 2015.)

Paedophile priest Peter Searson worked under various bishops, including George Pell

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, when Searson's record was about to become public, the church authorities dumped Searson from parish work. Later, 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 June 2015)

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