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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


A retired Catholic priest, now 78, is charged with old offences in NSW

In mid-October 2017, police have charged a former Catholic priest with sexual offences, allegedly committed against three young boys, some years ago, in New South Wales. Police allege that the priest assaulted two of the boys while he was located in a parish in the East Gosford area (north of Sydney) in the 1990s. It is also alleged that, in the 1980s (before being ordained as a priest), he had indecently assaulted another boy while being engaged in a teaching role for a school at Campbelltown (in Sydney's south). (Article posted on 20 October 2017.)

Former Melbourne priest Peter Waters in court

Father Peter Waters was a priest in parishes of the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese until he took early retirement in 1999, when he was aged in his fifties. In 2017, aged 72, he was charged by police with child-sexual offences relating to his time in the Melbourne archdiocese. In late 2017, the charges were tabled in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, and a contested committal hearing is scheduled to be held there in 2018. The magistrate will then decide whether there the case should go to a trial in a higher court, the Victorian County Court. (Article posted on 18 October 2017.)

Royal Commission receives further information about Christian Brother Peter Toomey in Victoria

In 2005, Christian Brother Peter Toomey was jailed for sexually abusing young boys at Catholic schools in Victoria earlier in his career. In 2017, Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission has received further information about other former pupils who encountered Christian Brother Peter Toomey in their schooldays. This Broken Rites article gives some background about Toomey's court case in 2005. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 18 October 2017.)

This priest became the deputy to a bishop, then was jailed and now is in court again

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 2015 he was jailed again regarding another victim (from the 1980s). In 2016, police charged Cattell regarding another 1970s victim (case number 2016/00101011), for which Cattell is awaiting sentence. Meanwhile, in 2017, yet another Cattell case (number 2017/00073102) has begun its preliminary procedures, with another brief mention due in Penrith Local Court on 27 October 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 12 October 2017.)

This Christian Brother worked at a notorious school in Ballarat in the 1970s, now he is still facing charges

Christian Brother Stephen Francis Farrell was one of the child-abusers who taught at Australia's notorious St Alipius parish school in Ballarat in the 1970s. Later he left his religious order and then taught in other Catholic schools as "Mister" Farrell. He married three times. By December 2013, three of his earlier St Alipius pupils had got him convicted for his crimes. In May 2015, several of Farrell's victims gave evidence at a public hearing of Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. In late 2017, Farrell (now aged 65) is facing court again on additional charges relating to the 1970s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 12 October 2017.)

This priest abused 14 boys, police allege in a NSW court

For 34 years until 1995, Father David Joseph Perrett was a priest in the Armidale Catholic diocese, which covers a large region in northern New South Wales, extending up the New England Highway to the Queensland border. In 2017, Perrett (now aged 80 and no longer working as a priest) is facing court, charged with sexual offences allegedly committed against 14 young boys between 1970 and 1982 while he was working as a priest. In May 2017, NSW police charged him regarding four of these boys. After these charges became public, more of Perrett's alleged victims contacted the police. By October 2017, police charged him in court regarding another ten boys. Police are continuing their investigation. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 October 2017.)

The church makes payments to settle complaints about abuse of disadvantaged boys

The Catholic Church has paid settlements to men who allege that they were abused many years ago by Father Roger Mount while he was a Brother in the Catholic St John of God Order, running children's homes (for disadvantaged boys) in Australia. Later, the Catholic Church allowed Father Mount to continue ministering as priest for many years in Papua New Guinea until the Australian media published articles about him in 2014. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 3 October 2017.)

Marist Brothers admit suicides by some sex-abuse victims

Broken Rites Australia is doing research about adults who have suffered a premature death while still feeling damaged by church child-abuse (and by the church's cover-up). For example, Broken Rites has discovered that two former pupils, from a prestigious Marist Brothers school, have died by suicide. Before dying, both men revealed that they had been sexually abused during their childhood by a long-serving teacher, Brother Aubrey Tobin. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 October 2017.)

A Brisbane priest is listed for court on a sexual-offence charge

A Queensland Catholic priest, Fr Michael  McKeaten, has had some preliminary procedures in a Brisbane magistrates court during 2017 about an alleged sexual offence believed to have occurred in the 1990s. McKeaten has been charged by police with one count of procuring a sexual act by false pretence, allegedly involving a male victim. The court process will continue on a later date. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 24 September 2017 )

Cardinal George Pell's travels: Some background

After he moved from Australia to Rome in 2014 for a senior role in the Vatican, Cardinal George Pell became reluctant to re-visit Australia. When he was asked (in 2014-2017) to give evidence at Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Pell preferred to appear from Rome by video-link. He said health problems were preventing him from travelling to Australia. But in mid-2017 he finally returned to Australia, where police have charged him with "multiple" sexual offences allegedly committed some years ago in the state of Victoria, involving "multiple" complainants. This Broken Rites article gives some background about Pell's travels in the years 2014 to 2017, based on our research into the public hearings of the Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites Australia researcher, article updated 21 September 2017.)

A church report contains allegations about George Pell abusing an altar boy in 1961-62

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.

This criminal priest, Monsignor John Day, was helped by the church's cover-up

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). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 19 September 2017.)

George Pell and Denis Hart became archbishops but Father Tony Bongiorno didn't

According to Broken Rites research, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has been forced to admit that Father Anthony Bongiorno committed sexual crimes against children during his 30 years working in Melbourne parishes. Anthony (Tony) Bongiorno began training for the priesthood about 1960, aged 25, in the same trainee group as George Pell and Denis Hart, both of whom eventually became archbishops of Melbourne. In 1994, Pell (then an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne) officiated at a requiem mass for Bongiorno's brother Salvatore ("Sam"). Anthony Bongiorno's child-sex crimes were covered up until some were exposed in the mid-1990s. The total number of Father Bongiorno's victims is unknown. For example, in 1980, a woman (named Maria James) learned that her son (aged 11) was a Bongiorno victim but this woman was murdered before she could expose Bongiorno about her son's abuse. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 September 2017.)

The priest and the schoolgirl: A cover-up is revealed

Broken Rites is doing further research about a Sydney priest, Father Kevin Cox, who sexually abused vulnerable girls. For example, one victim has revealed that Father Cox sexually abused her for six years from the age of eleven. Furthermore, the sexual abuse resulted in a pregnancy at age 17 — and then the priest paid for an abortion. But the church continued to protect Father Cox. And when he died in 2008, the church gave him a hero's funeral.

'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.

Father Paul David Ryan was protected by the church, but victims got him jailed and now he faces more charges

This Broken Rites article reveals how Catholic Church authorities covered up the child-sex crimes of an Australian priest, Father Paul David Ryan, during his career in the state of Victoria (and also during seven visits by Ryan to the United States). This enabled Ryan to endanger more children in more parishes in TWO countries. Eventually, helped by Broken Rites, some victims began reporting Ryan to the Victoria Police, resulting in a jail sentence for Ryan in 2006. Now, in 2017, Victoria Police are ready to file additional charges against Paul David Ryan in the Melbourne Magistrates Court (case number H12143748), relating to more boys during his priestly career in Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 Septmeber 2017.)

The church covered up for this priest but failed, now he is in court again

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the large Catholic order of Salesian Fathers harboured an Australian paedophile priest, Father Frank Klep, for many years — allowing him to commit sexual crimes against defenceless boys. Gradually, with help from Broken Rites, some of his victims managed to expose Klep and the Salesians during three court cases. In 2017, Klep (now in jail and aged 74) is facing additional charges in a fourth court case in the Melbourne Magistrates Court — case number H11032459. The new charges have been laid by detectives from the Sano Taskforce in the Victoria Police. (Article updated 19 September 2017.)

This bishop protected the church's holy image, instead of protecting children

Broken Rites research has discovered how an Australian Catholic leader (Bishop William Brennan) covered up allegations of clergy sex-abuse in his diocese. Police charged one of Brennan's priests (Father Bernard Connell) with allegedly abusing two boys in different parishes but Bishop Brennan hired an expert legal team to defeat the charges. One of these victims then asked Bishop Brennan for help but the bishop shunned him. The bishop's main aim was protecting the church's holy image, instead of protecting children. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 October 2017.)

This "celibate" priest fathered two children, his colleagues say

Catholic church leaders have recently defended the church's ban on married priests, and emphasizing the public image of priestly "celibacy". But priests can have private relationships (either "gay" or "straight") if this is hidden from the public. For example, Father John O'Callaghan, of Melbourne, had a relationship with a woman, who gave birth to Father O'Callaghan's two daughters. These girls have grown up into adulthood, knowing that they are the offspring of Father John O'Callaghan. The private life of Fr John O' Callaghan is no secret among the Melbourne clergy of his generation. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

Cardinal George Pell instructed his lawyers to crush this victim, the Royal Commission has been told

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. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A former Catholic priest will face a trial in Melbourne on child-sex charges

Paul Chris Pavlou, of Melbourne, was once a school-teacher. Then he became a Brother in the Catholic Church's Salesian order. Later, aged in his forties, he was ordained as a Catholic priest, ministering for a while in parishes at Croydon and Healesville in Melbourne's east, although he no longer holds any position in parishes. In mid-2017, Pavlou (now aged 58) faced a preliminary hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, charged with child-sex offences. On 1 September 2017, it was decided that the case will proceed to a trial in the Victorian County Court. (Article updated  3 September 2017.)

A NSW priest is scheduled for a second trial on child-sex charges

A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 68, is scheduled (on court lists in late 2017) to face Sydney's Downing Centre District Court, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed against three young boys in the 1980s. The court's case number is 2015/00201591. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 8 September 2017.)

Full story: Father Ridsdale's life of crime — and the church's cover-up

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church shuffled a paedophile priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale, from parish to parish for three decades while he committed sexual crimes against children. Broken Rites has been researching Ridsdale since May 1993, when he famously walked to court for his first sentencing, accompanied by his support person, Bishop George Pell. Broken Rites began supporting Ridsdale's victims, resulting in four more court cases for Ridsdale between 1994 and 2017 (without the presence of George Pell). (Background article, by a Broken Rites researcher, updated 7 September 2017.)

This Catholic religious Brother is in court again as more ex-students speak to police

This Broken Rites article reveals how 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 2004-5 McNamara finally pleaded guilty and was convicted. This prompted more of McNamara's former students to contact the detectives. In 2016, McNamara pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two more of his victims, resulting in another conviction. In 2017, prosecutors filed new charges against McNamara in Melbourne Magistrates Court, regarding five more former schoolboys; and this case will be heard in 2018. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 September 2017.)

A Catholic priest is jailed for indecent assaults against Melbourne schoolboys

In the Melbourne County Court on 7 August 2017, Catholic priest Frank De Dood (aged 64) was sentenced to jail for indecently assaulting five young boys while he was teaching and ministering at two Catholic schools in Melbourne between 1978 and 1983. Father De Dood told one boy that no one would believe him if he told anyone about being touched by a priest, and if he did, the boy would be expelled from the school. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 August 2017.)

We expose Ronald Conway, the church's "hands-on" psychologist

For thirty years a prominent Australian Catholic psychologist, Ronald Conway, had a part-time role in assessing and helping trainee priests in the church's Melbourne seminary. Conway also worked as a consulting psychologist in psychiatric hospitals and in private practice, and some of his male patients say that Conway touched them sexually when they consulted him for professional help. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Fr Michael Glennon and his life of crime

This Broken Rites article is a concise summary of the criminal career of Father Michael Charles Glennon, a priest in the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese, who was jailed for some (but not all) of his crimes. Thanks to Broken Rites and the Victoria Police, Glennon was facing more criminal charges when he died in jail on New Year's Day in 2014.

Church finally admits the crimes of Fr Thomas O'Keeffe

After action by Broken Rites, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has been forced to admit that children were sexually abused by Father Thomas O'Keeffe. Broken Rites is doing further research on O'Keeffe — and how the church sheltered him during his life of crime. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church covered up the crimes of Father Billy Baker

For many years, the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Wilfred ("Billy") Baker was committing crimes against children but it allowed him to continue in the priesthood, thereby helping him to commit more crimes against more children in more parishes. When George Pell became the new archbishop in mid-1996, Father Baker was allowed to continue as a parish priest. But Broken Rites began advising some of his victims to report Bakers' crimes to the police, and therefore in mid-1997 the archdiocese was forced to send Baker on "administrative leave" to protect the image of the church. Baker was jailed. Thus, the cover-up was finally exposed by Broken Rites. After he finished this jail term, more of his earlier victims contacted Broken Rites and/or the police but, in February 2014, Baker died before the courts could sentence him again. (Article written by a Broken Rites researcher.)

Background article: Father Farrell's crimes and the church's cover-up

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders remained silent for 30 years about Father John Joseph Farrell's sex-crimes against children. In 1993, Broken Rites began researching the Farrell cover-up. In 2012, our research helped to make a "Four Corners" television program about the Farrell cover-up, thus bringing this cover-up to nationwide attention. And this has helped to encourage the Federal Government to establish its national child-abuse Royal Commission. Gradually, Broken Rites (but not the church officials) encouraged some of Farrell's victims to talk with child-protection police, resulting in the jailing of Farrell (now aged 63) in 2016. Meanwhile, some more of his alleged victims have contacted the police, and Farrell is scheduled to face these new charges in court in 2018, while he is still in jail. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 25 July 2017.)

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