Latest stories

Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.

Another Christian Brother (Bro. Obbens) is charged in New South Wales

Christian Brother William John Obbens (also known as Brother "Dominic" Obbens) has appeared in court, charged with two counts of sexual assault/indecent assault of "a person under 16 under authority". Police allege that the offences were committed on one boy, then aged 13, while Brother Obbens was a teacher at St  Patrick's Christian Brothers College in Goulburn, south-western New South Wales, in the late 1980s. (Article posted 22 December 2014.)

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 in court re allegations from 40 years ago

Former Christian Brother Peter 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 mention in court in Sydney on 5 February 2015. (Article updated 18 December 2014.)

Christian Brother David Standen is now facing additional assault charges

Christian Brother David Standen, who has taught at Catholic schools in Sydney and regional New South Wales, is facing additional child-sex charges when his case comes up for another mention in court in February 2015. More former students have contacted the police regarding Brother Standen, a court has been told. 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 11 December 2014.)

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 in early 2015, 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 2 December 2014.)

Marist Brother John Maguire is convicted, after nine jury trials

Marist Brother John Dennis Maguire is to be sentenced in the Sydney District Court in early 2015 on child-sex charges. In November 2014 a jury found Maguire guilty of multiple incidents of committing an act of indecency. The victim was a student at a Catholic boys' boarding school in Sydney (St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill) in the early 1980s. (Article updated 9 December 2014.)

The church kept quiet about 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. On 27 November 2014, the Sydney District Court gave him a jail sentence of 3 years and 3 months, with a minimum of two years behind bars before he becomes eligible to apply for parole. (Article updated 27 November 2014.)

A 92-year-old priest is charged in NSW

Police have charged a retired Catholic priest, now aged 92, in relation to alleged historical sexual assaults of two children in Sydney’s outer-suburban Hawkesbury region. This was announced by New South Wales Police on 27 November 2014. The police media release was headed: "Police charge Catholic Priest - Richmond".

A Jesuit priest is jailed after admitting offences against children

A Catholic priest in the Jesuit religious order, Father David Rankin, was jailed in 2014 after pleading guilty to acts of indecency committed against three young boys in Sydney. These offences occurred in the 1960s when Rankin was a school teacher before he was ordained as a priest. These three are not necessarily Rankin's only victims; 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. Broken Rites has received information about Father David Rankin SJ, from elsewhere in Australia and also in Canada, while he has been in the priesthood. (Article updated 22 November 2014.)

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

Broken Rites has done research about a Christian Brother (let's call him Brother X) who was convicted in court in 1989 for sexually abusing a boy (let's call him "Gus") at St Patrick’s College, Goulburn, 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. (Article updated 1 December 2014.)

How the church concealed Father Terry Pidoto's life of crime

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church protected Father Terry Pidoto for 25 years while he committed crimes against boys in his parishes. 

Broken Rites helped victims of Father John Denham to gain justice

In November 2014 the Sydney District Court held a pre-sentence hearing for the notorious pedophile Catholic priest John Sidney Denham, who is already in jail where he is serving a previous 13-year sentence. The court will announce Denham's additional sentence in early 2015. This Broken Rites article gives the background to Denham's life of crime, including about how Broken Rites helped the victims. (Article updated 24 November 2014).

A priest raped a boy, then ordered the boy to "confess" the rape & conceal it

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about a Melbourne Catholic priest, Father James Scannell, who has been jailed in 2014 for raping a 12-year-old boy.  After the rape (in the early 1970s), the priest subjected the boy to the Catholic ritual of "Confession" and ordered  the boy never to tell anybody about what had happened. Intimidated by the church's authority, the boy obediently kept this "secret of the Confessional". The church's code of silence damaged the victim's life and it took him forty years to bring the priest to justice — in 2014. (Article updated 10 August 2014.)

An ex-priest from Moree/Armidale NSW admits some charges, and now he will face a trial on some additional charges

This Broken Rites article is an update about a former Catholic priest (from Armidale and Moree in northern New South Wales), who is facing 76 child-abuse charges. The priest, whose name (for legal reasons) cannot be published at this stage, has already pleaded "Guilty" to 45 of the 76 charges, and he will eventually be sentenced on those 45 charges. Meanwhile, he is contesting the additional charges and therefore on 18 November 2014 a magistrate ordered the ex-priest to face a trial in 2015 on some of these additional charges. (Article updated 19 November 2014.)

It is never too late to have a chat with the detectives, as this case proves

This court case is an example of how it is possible for victims of church child-abuse to get their perpetrator convicted many years after the abuse. In the 1970s, Marist Brother John Skehan had multiple victims in Catholic schools in New South Wales and Victoria. Forty years later, one victim got Brother Skehan convicted in a New South Wales court in 2010 and another victim scored a similar victory over Skehan (aged 75) in a Victorian court in 2014. (Article updated 1 November 2014)

The Christian Brothers pay a settlement to an ex-pupil in Sydney

In June 2012 the Christian Brothers organisation in Australia signed a civil settlement with a former pupil of Christian Brothers College at Manly (in Sydney), who attended this school as a 13-year-old boy about 1973.  According to the settlement deed, this ex-pupil alleged that he was “unlawfully assaulted by Brother Peter N. Lennox, the principal of the school".

Priest in court in western Sydney re an altar boy

A retired senior Catholic priest from western Sydney, Father Richard Cattell, has been undergoing preliminary court procedures (charged with child-sex offences) and now he is about to appear before Judge H. Syme in Sydney's Penrith District Court for the final steps in the justice process. On the District Court schedule, Father Cattell is listed as case number 201400062169. (Article updated on 22 October 2014.)

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 police charged him with multiple child-sex offences in Melbourne, involving seven Victorian victims, He is scheduled to appear in court in Melbourne again in early 2015. New South Wales police, also, are investigating Father Mount concerning incidents that are alleged to have occurred in NSW. (Article updated 20 October 2014.)

Some St John of God Brothers abused the disabled

One of Australia’s most prominent Catholic religious orders – the St John of God Brothers (SJOG) – has had an entrenched culture of sexual abuse, according to court evidence. The St John of God religious order has specialised in accommodating boys who have an educational disability or, in many cases, an intellectual disability. (Article updated 20 December 2014.)

After an Australia-wide career, this priest is jailed in one State

Catholic priest Father Glenn Humphreys, 61, who has ministered in several places around Australia, has been jailed for offences committed in Western Australia. On 15 October 2014, Father Humphreys was sentenced to 22 months jail, with a minimum of eleven months behind bars, for the W.A. crimes. Humphreys is also facing charges in New South Wales regarding alleged victims at a boys' school (St Stanislaus College, Bathurst). (Article updated 15 October 2014.)

A Christian Brother changed his name after being in jail. Now he pleads guilty again

A convicted pedophile Christian Brother who changed his name from Ted Dowlan to Ted Bales to avoid publicity has admitted to another 55 offences committed during his long career as a Christian Brother in Victorian schools. Ted Bales, 64, is now behind bars after more of his earlier victims contacted the police. (Article updated 9 October 2104.)

The story of Christian Brother Ted Dowlan before he became "Ted Bales"

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about the background of Christian Brother Ted Dowlan. Despite Dowlan being jailed in 1996, the Christian Brothers did not expel him. Instead, they said that they would be prepared to continue looking after Dowlan in the future. Dowlan later changed his surname to Bales and, helped by the Christian Brothers organisation, he moved into a private house of his own. In October 2014, after more of his earlier victims finally contacted the police, "Ted Bales" pleaded guilty to some more of his crimes and was remanded in custody to await a new sentencing. (Article updated 9 October 2014.)

The Church knew about Father Michael Aulsebrook's child-abuse

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. Now Aulsebrook is no longer in the priesthood but in 2014 police are conducting further investigations about his past. (Article updated 1 October 2014.)

FULL STORY: How the church continued covering up for this priest

At last, in September 2014, a victim (John Parmeter) has spoken publicly about how he was sexually abused for years by a prominent Australian priest, Father Peter Brock, beginning at the age of nine in 1968. The Catholic Church culture of silence blocked John from complaining until 2007 when he was aged nearly 50 and, by then, the church's cover-up had damaged John's life. In 2008 John received a written apology from the priest and later a financial settlement from the church. But the church authorities still praised Father Brock and elevated him to a prominent national role, thereby making John Parmeter feel abused again by the continuing cover-up. John's public statement in September 2014 exposes the church's cover-up, thereby helping other church victims. (Article updated 23 September 2014.)

A Catholic Brother is to face more charges in NSW re vulnerable boys

Broken Rites has researched a Catholic religious Brother, Bernard Kevin McGrath, who was convicted in both Australia and New Zealand for sex crimes against vulnerable boys in institutions conducted by the St John of God Brothers. In December 2014, Australian police are getting ready to bring McGrath from New Zealand to Australia to face additional charges for child-sex crimes allegedly committed during his years in New South Wales. (Article updated 21 December 2014.)

A Catholic bishop faces court on child-abuse charges from 1989

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 21 October 2014.)

Priest dies while facing child-abuse charges

On half a dozen occasions during 2013 and 2014, a Queensland magistrate granted an adjournment to a retired Catholic priest, Father Dermot Casey, who had been charged with sexual offences against ten children, including girls and boys. The defence lawyers kept producing medical certificates saying that the priest (aged 78 in 2014) was not well enough to come to court.  Now Father Casey has died, thus defeating his victims. (Article updated  27 September 2014.)


Subscribe to Broken Rites Australia RSS