This Broken Rites article explains how the Catholic Church harboured Brother Robert Charles Best in Australia for many years while he committed crimes (including buggery) against young schoolboys. Colleagues of Brother Best knew about his crimes but covered up for him, a court has been told. Brother Best is already in jail but, despite his crimes, he is still being accepted by the Christian Brothers as a member of their Order. That is, this convicted criminal is still officially "Brother Best". More of Brother Best's victims are still contacting Victoria's child-protection police, and in 2017 he will be sentenced again regarding 15 of these new victims. There is still time for more victims of Brother Best to exercise their right to talk to the detectives. (Article updated 14 January 2017.)
This Broken Rites article tells how the Marist Brothers harboured a child-sex offender (Brother John William Chute) throughout his long career, giving him wide 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. Since then, more of Chute's former Canberra students have spoken to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission (and also to the A.C.T. police), alleging more offences by "Kostka" Chute in Canberra; and therefore a Canberra magistrate has ordered Chute to face a trial in 2017 on these additional charges. The Marists' lawyers are trying to cancel the 2017 trial, claiming that Brother Chute (now aged 84) is too unfit to enter a plea. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 January 2017.)
This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church harboured this child-abuse criminal — Father Gerald Francis Ridsdale — for 30 years in western Victoria while his superiors and fellow-priests remained silent to protect the church's public image. In 1982, when Father Ridsdale had been abusing children for 20 years, a clergy committee (of which Father George Pell was a member) noted that Ridsdale was being transferred away from Victoria. Thus, he was inflicted on potential victims in New South Wales. Eventually, in 1993, Victoria Police detectives charged Ridsdale in court. He was accompanied to court by his support person, George Pell, who had become an assistant bishop in Melbourne. However, no bishop accompanied the victims. Encouraged by Broken Rites, more victims later spoke to the detectives. In his four court cases between 1993 and 2014, Ridsdale has been jailed for a minimum of 24 years for assaulting 54 of his victims. And he is facing more charges in court in 2017, including rape, buggery and indecent assault. Broken Rites is proud of its role in exposing the church's cover-up of this criminal priest. (Background article, by a Broken Rites researcher.)
The Marist Brothers leadership in Australia knew that Brother Michael Gerard Rush had committed sexual offences against young boys in Catholic boarding schools. For many years, these crimes were successfully concealed from the police but eventually a former student exercised his right to speak to police detectives who soon found more of Brother Rush's victims. On 2 December 2016, Brother Rush (now aged 76) was jailed after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting seven boys (aged between 11 and 14) while they were boarders at two prominent Catholic schools in regional Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 January 2017.)
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 travels from his Rome headquarters to other countries. For example. during 2016, he travelled from Rome to London, where (according to reports) he performed a religious ceremony in May and gave an oration in November. But he is refusing to re-appear in public in Australia. This Broken Rites article examines the background to this situation. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 January 2017)
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 he was not reporting this matter to the police (therefore there is no police investigation into Phil's complaint). Rather, Phil was concerned about the safety of children in the church's care; and he merely wanted the church authorities to be aware of the offences that were allegedly committed upon him (Phil) at the altar boys' camp. 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.
Catholic Church authorities knew for years about Christian Brother Desmond Eric ("Neil") Richards' sexual crimes against schoolboys in New South Wales but the crimes were concealed from the police (and from the public). Eventually, Richards was transferred to Rome (away from the NSW police) but NSW detectives arrested him when he returned to Australia in 2013. Richards was jailed in Sydney in 2014 for some of his crimes. On 16 December 2016 (aged in his mid-seventies), he was sentenced to additional time in jail after more of his victims contacted the NSW detectives. Richards pleaded guilty regarding all these victims. Other victims of Richards have remained silent but it is still possible for them to speak to the detectives; therefore, the investigation is continuing in 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 January 2017.)
Father Robert James Hickman became a Catholic priest in Sydney in the 1970s. As well as working in parishes, he was also a chaplain for Sydney's deaf community. In Sydney's Parramatta District Court on 9 December 2016, Hickman (now aged 71) was jailed for a minimum of five years for child-sex offences. (Article updated 6 January 2017)
Catholic priest Father Adrian van Klooster started his priestly career in New South Wales but was transferred to Western Australia, where he was jailed in 2003 for sexual crimes against W.A. children. After van Klooster's bad publicity, the Catholic Church chose not to appoint him to any more parishes. In 2017, Adrian van Klooster is due to appear in court again in W.A., charged with recent child pornography offences. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 January 2017.)
The Catholic Church in Australia harboured the paedophile priest Brian Joseph Spillane throughout his career, giving him easy access to children. Father Spillane's victims were mostly boys who were assaulted while he ministered at St Stanislaus College — a Catholic day and boarding secondary school for boys, in Bathurst, New South Wales. And he assaulted girls in parishes elsewhere. In December 2016, Spillane (now aged 73) completed a series of criminal trials resulting in multiple convictions. The courts heard the girls cases first, and Spillane is already in jail (after his first trial) for assaulting three girls. He will be sentenced again in early 2017 for his most recent trials regarding 18 boys. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 January 2017.)
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 he was jailed again regarding another victim (from the 1980s). Detectives continued their investigation, and in 2016 they charged Cattell regarding yet another victim (from the 1970s), for which Cattell (now aged 75) is awaiting a sentence hearing in 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 4 January 2017.)
The Catholic Church harboured a child-sex abuser, Marist Brother Gerard Joseph McNamara, for four decades until some of his victims spoke (separately) to the Victoria Police child-protection detectives. When the police charged McNamara regarding these victims, the Marists enthusiastically supported McNamara and ignored the victims. But Broken Rites supported the victims — and in 2004 McNamara finally pleaded guilty and was convicted with a suspended jail sentence. This prompted more McNamara victims to contact the detectives. In 2016, McNamara pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two more of his victims and was again convicted with another suspended jail sentence. How many more McNamara victims have not yet exercised their right to speak to the child-protection detectives? (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 December 2016.)
During George Pell's rise from being a priest to a cardinal, one of his supporters has been Melbourne priest John Walshe.The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has confirmed that it paid a $75,000 settlement (the maximum amount available) to a former student (John Roach) who has alleged that, when he 18, he was sexually targeted by Father Walshe. Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart gave a written apology to John Roach for the "wrongs and hurt" he suffered at the hands of Father Walshe. Therefore, throughout 2016, a number of Father Walshe's parishioners (at Mentone-Parkdale in Melbourne's south-east) demanded that Father Walshe be removed from their parish. On 25 November 2016, Fr Walshe announced that he is resigning from this parish as from January 2017. Now the church is arranging for Fr Walshe to minister somewhere else, either in Melbourne or in another part of Australia (or wherever). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 December 2016.)
An Australian "celibate" Catholic priest, Father Thomas Knowles, sexually targeted a vulnerable 19-year-old woman (Jennifer) who was suffering from a physical disability - and he entangled her in a secret sexual relationship for next 14 years. Now, in 2016, the church has been forced to offer Jennifer a written apology for this sexual abuse. On Sunday 4 December 2016, this apology was publicly read out to the congregation by a church leader during Mass at the prominent St Francis's church in central Melbourne. Thomas Knowles was formerly a priest at this parish. (By a Broken Rites researcher, 4 December 2016.)
In Sydney's Downing Centre District Court in November 2016, a jury trial began for a former Marist Brother, Brett Anthony O'Connor, who is charged with committing child-sex offences while he was working as a dormitory master at two Sydney boys' schools — St Joseph's College in Hunters Hill (in 1987) and St Gregory's College in Campbelltown (in 1989). However, for legal reasons, the court has decided to postpone the trial until 2017, with a fresh jury. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 5 December 2016.)
Research by Broken Rites has revealed that the Catholic Church knowingly harboured the paedophile priest Father Denis McAlinden for 40 years, thus inflicting him on young girls in parishes around Australia and also overseas. The church has been paying small out-of-court settlements to some of McAlinden's victims, thus avoiding a larger court-based settlement. In November 2016, two sisters began to sue the Catholic Church in the New South Wales Supreme Court for a proper amount to settle their abuse by McAlinden. At the last moment, the church agreed to pay these two women a confidential out-of-court financial settlement, thus preventing the church's other victims from knowing the size of a court-related settlement. This Broken Rites article explains the background about Fr Denis McAlinden and the church's cover-up. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 23 November 2016.)
An Australian Catholic priest, Father Vincent Kiss, has admitted that he committed sexual crimes on boys while he was working as the Director of Youth for his diocese. He plied the boys with alcohol, drove them around in fast cars and took them on holidays, where he sexually abused them. Later he became prominent in Australian social circles. Broken Rites is doing further research about Vincent Kiss and his priestly mates.
A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 68, is scheduled to face a second trial in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed against three young boys in the 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 16 November 2016.)
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 several former schoolboys.
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 Ted Bales). From the start, the Christian Brothers knew that Dowlan was committing criminal sexual assaults against Australian schoolchildren but, instead of dismissing him, the Christian Brothers kept transferring him to more schools, thus giving him access to more victims. His victims were usually aged about 11 or 12 but some were as young as 8 or 9. In the 1990s, when some victims finally reported him to the police, the Christian Brothers supported Dowlan and tried to defeat the victims. The victims eventually won by getting him jailed in 1996 and again in 2015. Prosecutors considered Dowlan's 2015 jail sentence to be inadequate, so they lodged an appeal and gained a longer jail term. Many of Brother Dowlan's victims have had their lives damaged by the church's cover-up — and several of his victims ended up in suicide. Some other Dowlan victims have not yet contacted the detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)
Paul Chris Pavlou, now aged 57, has held positions in the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese. After experience as a teacher, he became a member of the Catholic Church's order of Salesian Brothers, working in a Catholic school in Melbourne's east. When he was aged in his forties, he was accepted by the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese as a mature-age entrant for the priesthood and did his priestly training at the church's Melbourne seminary. After being ordained as a priest during 2004, Father Paul Pavlou ministered for a while in parishes at Croydon and Healesville in Melbourne's east. He no longer holds any position in parishes. On 11 November 2016, Paul Chris Pavlou appeared in a Melbourne court, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed between 2003 and 2004. (Article updated on 12 November 2016.)
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 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. (Background article, by a Broken Rites researcher.)
The leaders of Australia's Marist Brothers have apologised to three ex-pupils of a very senior Marist, who was known as Brother Bertinus. These three ex-pupils went to different schools (in different Australian states) and they do not know each other. In a co-incidence, two of the three have each written a book in which each describes his encounter with Brother Bertinus. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 23 December 2016.)
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. The Royal Commission is examining what Cardinal George Pell knew about these priests when he was a member of the church leadership in Melbourne from 1987 to 2001. This article points you to the original Broken Rites research about each of these priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)
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) rushed into damage control, hiring a public relations firm to announce the "Melbourne Response", instead of waiting for the church's Australia-wide "Towards Healing" strategy which was due to start a few months later. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)
Some Australian men, now advancing in age, are still feeling the injustice of having been abused by Christian Brother L.C. McAllen when they were primary-school pupils in Sydney many years ago. McAllen died in 1965, but he has not been forgotten (or forgiven) by his victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 21 October 2016.)
Christian Brother William John Obbens (also known as Brother "Dominic" Obbens), aged 70, was jailed on 13 October 2016 after he admitted indecently assaulting three boys (aged 11 to 13) who were under his authority in a boarding school. The offences occurred in the late 1980s at the former St Patrick's College (now called Trinity College) in Goulburn, south-western New South Wales, where Obbens was a teacher and a boarding master. According to court documents, Obbens preyed on the boarders’ homesickness to sexually abuse the boys. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 October 2016)
For several years, Broken Rites has been doing 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 1989 court case. They did not tell the school's students or parents about it and did not ask if any victims needed help. "Gus" (and several other victims from the same school) went on to have a damaged adult life. Gradually, each of these families contacted Broken Rites, and this article began to take shape, with occasional updates. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 13 October 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 has been jailed for some of his crimes but some other victims of Ryan are remaining silent. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 January 2017.)
This Broken Rites article is about how the Christian Brothers sheltered Brother John Vincent ("Chris") Roberts while he was a danger to boys throughout his long teaching career in Sydney, Canberra and regional New South Wales. The Christian Brothers paid small amounts of compensation to silence some of Brother Roberts' early victims. Eventually, a different victim spoke to NSW Police detectives and therefore, on 30 September 2016, Roberts (aged 74) was jailed regarding this victim. Other victims of Roberts have not yet spoken to the detectives but are still entitled to do so. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 October 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