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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


Why is Cardinal George Pell avoiding Australia? Here is some background

Cardinal George Pell is feeling "too sick" to face the Catholic Church's victims in Australia but he is healthy enough to continue his big job in Rome as one of the Vatican's top leaders. This Broken Rites article examines some of the background to Pell's reluctance to re-visit Australia to appear in person at this country's national child-abuse Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated February 2016.)

Police investigate alleged offences at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral

Child sex crime detectives are investigating allegations that teenage boys were abused at one of Australia's most prominent Catholic cathedrals — St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne. The allegations relate to 14-year-old boys who may have been abused at the cathedral between 1996 and 2001. 

A "celibate" priest helps Cardinal George Pell's lawyers, then Pell goes missing

Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission has learned how George Pell recruited supporters from among suburban priests when he began his rise to power in Melbourne in the 1980s and 1990s. Broken Rites understands that Pell was welcomed particularly by conservative (as distinct from moderate-minded) priests. One of these traditionalist supporters, Father John Walshe, has given evidence to the Royal Commission on behalf of Cardinal Pell's lawyers. This Broken Rites article is an analysis of Walshe's evidence. Father Walshe said he supports the tradition of "celibacy" for Catholic priests. A week after his evidence, it was revealed that the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has apologised to a former student who says he was sexually abused (at the age of 18) by Father Walshe. Meanwhile, Cardinal Pell failed to turn up for his scheduled appearance at the Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 February 2016.)

A Catholic priest abused young altar boys in a country parish, a court is told

A Catholic priest repeatedly sexually abused three young altar boys in a parish in regional New South Wales in the 1980s, including raping one child at the church's altar, a Sydney court has heard.  The man (now aged 61), who cannot be named at present for legal reasons, is being tried for 17 offences allegedly committed against these boys, aged 11 and 12, between 1980 and 1984. The court was told that the man, who is no longer a priest, has already pleaded guilty to 40 other child sex offences and is already in custody awaiting sentencing for those crimes. This case is a complex one, and further details will emerge at a later stage in the judicial process. (Article updated by a Broken Rites researcher on February 2016.)

The Jesuits covered up for an abusive Brother and merely moved him to another school

Jesuit priests and brothers operate some of Australia's most prominent schools, with famous ex-students such as former prime minister Tony Abbott. After Brother Victor Higgs committed sexual offences against boys at one of these schools (St Ignatius College, Adelaide), the Jesuits kept Brother Higgs as a member of the Jesuit Order and moved him to their famous Sydney school (St Ignatius College Riverview, Sydney). One of the Adelaide victims finally reported Brother Higgs to the South Australian police and, on 29 January 2016, Higgs was jailed for some of his Adelaide offences. New South Wales police might now examine Brother Higgs' career in Sydney. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 2 February 2016.)

A Catholic schoolboy was assaulted in Sydney, police allege

In January 2016, police have charged two men (now elderly) regarding sexual offences (including buggery) which allegedly were committed forty years ago against an 11-year-old Catholic schoolboy in Liverpool, a suburb in south-western Sydney. These offences allegedly occurred at a church-owned address after school had finished for the day. Details will become clearer during court proceedings later in 2016. Until the late 1980s, Catholic boys in Liverpool were taught by Patrician Brothers, who lived nearby in a Brothers' residence in George Street, Liverpool. The Brothers had access to facilities provided by a nearby girls' school (then known as St Mary's but now called All Saints). Liverpool detectives want to hear from any former students (at either the girls' or boys' school) who can assist in this investigation. Nowadays, Liverpool's Catholic boys and girls are taught by lay teachers. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 24 January 2016.)

The Virgin Mary was not allowed to witness these child-abuse crimes

Broken Rites is continuing its research about a Catholic religious order — the Patrician Brothers — who have been prominent in Catholic boys' schools in western Sydney. One of the Patrician Brothers' most senior members in Australia (Thomas William Grealy, known as "Brother Augustine") has admitted in court that, as a school principal, he indecently assaulted young boys, either in his office or in the classroom. In his office, according to court evidence, he would cover a statue of the Virgin Mary with a coat to hide his shame before assaulting a pupil. Grealy served a jail sentence but, after leaving jail, he was still accepted as a member of the Patrician Brothers. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 27 January 2016.)

New film, "Spotlight": How a U.S. newspaper exposed the church's child-abuse, like Australia's Broken Rites did

In 1993, Broken Rites Australia began researching — and exposing — the Catholic Church's sex-abuse cover-ups throughout Australia. Ten years later, in 2002 and 2003, the Boston Globe newspaper revealed similar cover-ups in the United States. Now, people can see the Boston story told in a major film, Spotlight, which is being released in Australian cinemas on 28 January 2016.

The church's strategy of cover-up: A classic example

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 posted 10 January 2016.)

This "know-nothing" archbishop was put in charge of managing the church's response to child-abuse crimes

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, as well as being appointed as the archbishop of Adelaide. In March 2015, Archbishop Wilson was charged by police with concealing child sex abuse allegedly committed by another priest during the 1970s. After being charged, Wilson went on indefinite leave from his archbishop role. However, he has decided now to resume work as the archbishop in January 2016, despite the fact that the concealment charge is still awaiting him in the court system. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article first written in 2010 and updated on 3 January 2016.)

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. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Church leaders, including George Pell, gave this criminal priest a grand funeral

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) went into damage control, hiring a public relations firm to announce the "Melbourne Response", a forerunner of the church's "Towards Healing" strategy. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church concealed Father Ridsdale's crimes, helping him to commit more crimes against more children

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. 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.)

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. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

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, 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.)

This criminal priest, 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 by a Broken Rites researcher)

The church concealed the crimes of Father Paul David Ryan

Broken Rites Australia is doing further research about how the Catholic Church authorities continually harboured a criminal priest, Father Paul David Ryan, thus enabling him to commit more crimes on more children in more parishes. The church authorities continually concealed Ryan's crimes from the police. Under Australian criminal law, this concealment can itself be a crime — and perhaps, some day, certain powerful people in the church could be prosecuted by the police for this cover-up. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Broken Rites helped the Royal Commission to become aware of the Catholic cover-up

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. This article will point you to the original Broken Rites research about each of these priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

How the church helped this criminal priest, Father Ron Pickering

The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese protected Pickering for many years while he committed crimes against children in his parishes. Eventually he fled from Australia, evading justice. The Melbourne archdiocese then began sending retirement payments to Pickering at his new address in England. The Pickering cover-up was eventually exposed in the media by Broken Rites. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church ordained a child-abuser — and knowingly retained him in the ministry

A Catholic priest, Father David Daniel, repeatedly committed sexual crimes on children throughout his 20-year career as a priest, the Melbourne County Court was told. Parents complained to the church authorities but the church ignored the crimes until some of the victims finally began to speak to detectives in the Victoria Police sex crime squad. Finally, Father Daniel was brought to justice, by the police, not by the church. Thus, the church's cover-up was exposed. This article is the most comprehensive account available about the Father David Daniel cover-up. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

An archbishop covered up the crimes of Father Billy Baker

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 in more parishes. 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.

A former Marist Brother, who was later appointed as a "director of child safety", is facing more child-sex charges re two Sydney schools

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.)

Catholic Church appointed a child-abuser as its spokesman in Queensland

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.)

Paedophile priest Terry Pidoto dies just before his court case

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)

A Catholic Brother is jailed again for another 14 of his victims

A former Catholic religious Brother, Edward Mamo, who had already spent time in jail, was jailed again in Melbourne on 11 December 2015 after 14 more of his victims contacted Broken Rites and/or the Victoria Police. Mamo pleaded guilty to 21 additional indecent assaults, committed against these 14 victims while he worked as a Brother at Monivae College, a Catholic secondary school at Hamilton in western Victoria in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Mamo has also worked at Chevalier College in Bowral, New South Wales, but this Victorian court case was only for Victorian offences. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 December 2015.)

This priest is jailed in one State and now he faces court in another State

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 NSW priest is awaiting court, charged with assaulting a 10-year-old girl

A Catholic priest in south-western New South Wales, Father Neru Leuea, 48, is scheduled to appear in court 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 13 January 2016.)

A Catholic Brother is facing court in Victoria regarding an institution for disadvantaged boys

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.)

A retired Christian Brother faces charges from the 1970s

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)

The church gave this paedophile priest a new parish, plus more victims

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.)

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