Latest stories

Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


How was this priest able to get away with committing so many crimes for so long?

A Catholic priest in North Queensland, Father Neville Joseph Creen, used his priestly standing to hide his child-sex crimes from the police. But many years later, some of his victims gradually began reporting his crimes to the police. As a result, Creen was convicted in two court cases in 2003 and 2004. Now, in 2020, more victims are bringing him to justice in yet another court case. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 October 2020.)

A priest suddently died after police charged him — and now one of his victims has died by suicide

Broken Rites is doing further research about how the Catholic Church harboured Father Daniel Dominic Hourigan, who committed sexual offences against children in the Sale diocese in eastern Victoria. Hourigan was recruited into the priesthood in his forties. He died three days after police charged him with sexual offences against a boy. Now, many years later, some of his victims are still feeling hurt by the church's cover-up. In 2019, one of Hourigan's victims died by suicide — a slow death lasting forty years. This victim's death is mentioned at the end of this article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 October 2020.)

COVER-UP: A senior Australian Catholic is sentenced in court for concealing some church crimes

One of Australia's most senior Marist Brothers — William Henry Wade (known as "Brother Christopher") — has made history as the first senior Catholic in Australia to plead guilty to concealing the child-sex crimes of Catholic colleagues. In the Sydney District Court on 30 September 2020, Wade (now aged 84) was sentenced for failing to provide information to police during child sex investigations into two other Marist criminals — Francis Cable (known as "Brother Romuald") and Darcy O'Sullivan (known as "Brother Dominic"). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 30 September 2020.)

Father John Denham's life of crime (while church leaders covered up for him): Background article

Broken Rites has researched the cover-up of one of Australia's most notorious Catholic priests, Father John Sidney Denham. Father Denham's superiors and colleagues knew about his child-sex crimes but this information was concealed from the police. Finally, some of his victims gradually began to contact the police. As a result, Denham has been convicted in court several times since 2000. He has been in jail since 2008, and his jail time has been increased as more of his victims gradually contacted the police. In 2019, Denham (aged 76) was sentenced to additional jail time for his 59th victim. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 September 2020)

How the paedophile Father Denis McAlinden was inflicted on Australian children

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. 13 September 2020.)

Marist Brothers admit suicides by 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, updated 3 September 2020.)

Church paid huge sums to lawyers to defend a criminal priest, Father James Fletcher: Background article

The Catholic diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in New South Wales has admitted that it paid an expensive team of lawyers to defend a paedophile priest in a child-abuse court case. The priest, Father James Patrick Fletcher, pleaded not guilty in 2004 to multiple counts of anal and oral sexual penetration of an altar boy, Daniel Feenan. The offences began in 1990, when Daniel was 12. A jury found Fletcher guilty on all charges. Legal experts have told the media that Fletcher's legal costs for the 11-day trial exceeded $200,000. The church's defence team included a Queen's Counsel, plus a second barrister and a solicitor. Fletcher had various victims, most of whom were still remaining silent. This court case in 2004 was about one victim, Daniel. (Background article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

The Marist Brothers sheltered this pedophile, helping him to commit crimes against young boys

For many years, Marist Brother Francis William Cable (also known as "Brother Romuald") was committing sexual crimes against Catholic schoolboys in New South Wales. 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, instead of merely telling Romuald Cable's church colleagues. NSW Police detectives then found some more of his victims. As a result, "Rom" Cable was jailed in 2015 regarding 19 of his victims. The police investigation continued. In 2019, Romuald Cable was sentenced to more jail time after pleading guilty regarding five more of his victims. In court on 20 August 2020, prosecutors filed some additional charges against Cable. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 August 2020.)

This reverend Brother (already jailed in Victoria) is now facing new charges in Queensland

When Frank Keating became a De La Salle Brother in his late teens, he was given the religious name "Brother Ibar", in honour of an ancient Irish saint. But Brother "Ibar" Keating was no saint — he began committing sexual crimes against his pupils. His superiors knew this but they allowed him to continue offending in Catholic schools around Australia for many years more. Eventually, some of Keating's victims reported him to the police in two states — Victoria and Queensland. As a result, he has been jailed in Victoria. And in September 2019 (aged 77) he pleaded guilty in a Brisbane court to a number of Queensland offences. In September 2020, Queensland police filed some additional charges against Keating regarding some more boys. He will face court in Queensland on a later date. This Broken Rites article gives the full story of the church's cover-up of Brother "Ibar" Keating. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 September 2020..)

Pedophile priest Finian Egan is fighting deportation — and he received support from a bishop

Irish-born Catholic priest Finian Egan was transferred to Australia in 1959, and he soon began committing sexual crimes against Australian children. The Catholic Church protected him in Australia for the next five decades until some of his victims (with help from Broken Rites) succeeded in getting him convicted. A Sydney court sentenced Egan to a minimum of four years in jail, and this sentence expired on 19 December 2017, when Egan was released, aged 82. According to church law at the Vatican, Father Egan still retained his priestly status during and after his time in jail (although, being elderly, he was retired from parish work). In 2018, the Australian immigration authorities tried to deport Father Egan back to Ireland but Egan contested this order with support from church sources, including support from his previous superior in Sydney, Bishop Peter Comensoli. In 2018, Bishop Comensoli became the new archbishop of Melbourne. (Article updated on 1 August 2020.)

A New South Wales priest was jailed for sexually assaulting boys in his parish house

In a Sydney court on 30 October 2018, a Catholic priest in northern New South Wales (Father John Patrick Casey, 70) was sentenced to four years and ten months jail on charges of sexually assaulting two teenage boys who stayed with him at the priest's parish-house in the 1980s. The allegations against Father Casey included performing oral sex on one of the boys, masturbating in the boy’s presence, and digitally penetrating the other boy’s anus. Casey later appealed against his conviction but on 29 July 2020 the NSW Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 29 July 2020.)

One of Australia's leading Christian Brothers was jailed after pleading guilty

Christian Brother Terence Patrick Aquinas Kingston had a 40-year career as a teacher and administrator in Australian Catholic boys' schools — and he became one of the leaders of the Christian Brothers in Australia. Meanwhile, he was committing sexual offences against schoolboys. As usual in Catholic Church crimes, his victims suffered in silence throughout their childhood but eventually (when aged in their fifties) several of them spoke to police investigators, and this resulted in Kingston being sentenced to jail in two states (in Queensland in 2017 and in New South Wales in 2019). The charges involved a total of eight victims, and Kingston pleaded guilty regarding all of these. In July 2020, Kingston (aged 83) is facing court again in Queensland, charged with offences allegedly committed against some additional boys. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 29 July 2020)

The church covered up Father Vincent Ryan's child-sex crimes, thus giving him access to more victims

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders knowingly protected a pedophile priest, 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. Ryan has already been serving time in jail for some of his crimes but on 21 July 2020 (aged 82) he was released from jail, and the bishop's office confirmed that the Vatican is allowing Father Ryan to retain his priestly status. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 21 July 2020.)

This priest allegedly assaulted 40 children during 30 years (while church leaders looked the other way)

For three decades, Father David Joseph Perrett worked in Catholic parishes in north-western New South Wales until he retired at age 58. In 2020 (aged 82) he was awaiting a criminal court trial, charged with committing sexual crimes against 40 children throughout his priestly career. That is, his alleged 30-year crime spree occurred under the noses of the church authorities (but eventually some of his victims reported Perrett's crimes to the police). On 2 July 2020, Perrett died in hospital and therefore the court will have to cancel his trial. This was not Father Perrett's first criminal court case -- his first conviction for child-sex crimes was in 1996. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 3 July 2020.)

The Marist Brothers kept inflicting this criminal Brother on more victims

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Marist Brothers allowed the sex-abuse criminal Brother Ross Francis Murrin to remain in their religious Order, thus giving him access to more child victims while he worked as a teacher in Catholic schools. There is evidence that his Marist superiors were aware many years ago about his criminal behaviour but they negligently allowed him to continue teaching, until some of Murrin's victims finally began speaking to police detectives. Murrin has been jailed three times (in 2008 and 2010 and 2018) regarding some of his victims; and in July 2020 he was convicted again after yet another of his victims spoke to police. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 July 2020.)

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

A victim (John Parmeter) has spoken publicly in the media 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 Parmeter has authorized the media to publish his own name, because (he says) John's public statement exposes the church's cover-up, thereby helping other church victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher article updated 20 September 2020)

A Christian Brother is jailed for offences he committed 40 years ago

For several decades, Christian Brother Peter Nicholas Lennox worked in various Catholic schools in Sydney and in regional New South Wales. In a Sydney court on 29 March 2019, he was jailed for sexual crimes which he committed against boys at two of those schools in the 1970s — at Christian Brothers in Manly (now known as St Paul's Catholic College) and at St Patrick's College in Goulburn (now known as Trinity Catholic College). After Lennox finishes this jail term, the prosecutors intend to bring him to court again in 2020 regarding some additional charges. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 2 January 2020)

The church protected Father Paul Raymond Evans but victims have got him jailed, twice

A Catholic priest, Father Paul Raymond Evans, committed sexual crimes against vulnerable young teenagers while they were under his supervision at Boys Town (a residential institution for troubled youths) near Sydney between 1977 and 1988. At first, Evans' superiors ignored the abuse. After 1988, the church transferred Evans to suburban parishes, where he was permitted to associate with youth groups. Some Boys Town victims eventually reported Evans to the New South Wales Police, resulting in him being jailed in 2008. After twelve years in jail, Evans was due to be released in June 2020 but by then another victim from Boys Town contacted the police, and therefore in 2020 a court has ordered Evans to remain in jail to serve an additional sentence regarding this new victim. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 3 July 2020.)

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 went to court for his first sentencing, accompanied by a bishop as his support person. Broken Rites began supporting Ridsdale's victims, resulting in four more court cases for Ridsdale between 1994 and 2017. In court again on 14 May 2020, Ridsdale was sentenced to more time in jail after he pleaded guilty regarding four additional victims (from the 1970s). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 2 July 2020.)

Full story: The church harboured this pedophile Marist Brother but eventually he was jailed

This Broken Rites article reveals how the Catholic Church harboured a child-sex abuser, Marist Brother Gerard Joseph McNamara, teaching in Catholic schools, for four decades until eventually some of his victims began speaking (separately) to the Victoria Police child-protection detectives. When the police finally charged McNamara regarding the first batch of these victims, the Marists enthusiastically supported McNamara and ignored the victims. But Broken Rites supported the victims — and in 2004-2005 McNamara pleaded guilty to this first batch of victims 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. For each of these convictions (to 2016), he was given a suspended sentence. Those court cases prompted more of his victims to contact the police; therefore, on 3 September 2018, McNamara was jailed after he pleaded guilty five more victims, and on 15 March 2020 (aged 82) he was given more jail time regarding five more of his victims. Meanwhile, despite his criminal convictions, the Marist organization still regards McNamara as a Marist Brother.(By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 15 May 2020.)

Paedophile priest Peter Searson worked under various bishops in Melbourne

Broken Rites has researched the career of pedophile priest Father Peter Searson who committed sexual crimes against children in the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese. For years, the church authorities knew about Searson's crimes but he was allowed to continue in parishes. The Victoria Police investigated Searson for sexual offences in parishes but found it difficult to extract evidence from "loyal" church people. Eventually, after his 35 years as a priest, the police managed to charge Searson with physical assault. Thus, Searson's abuse 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. (By a Broken Rites researcher, background article updated 1 May 2020.)

The church hid the crimes of Christian Brother Edward Dowlan

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 "Mister 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. 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. (Article 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. 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.)

The interesting career (wink, wink) of a Melbourne priest, Fr John Walshe

The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has admitted that (in 2012) it paid a settlement to a former student (John Roach) who alleged that, when he was 18, he was sexually targeted by a Melbourne priest, Father John Walshe. The archdiocese gave a written apology to John Roach for the "wrongs and hurt" he suffered at the hands of Father Walshe. In 2016, after this matter became public, a number of Father Walshe's parishioners (at Mentone-Parkdale in Melbourne's south-east) succeeded in getting Fr Walshe to resign from their parish. This Broken Rites article gives some background about Fr Walshe, based on evidence which he gave to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 May 2020.)

Fr Robert Claffey (already in jail) gets additional time behind bars

This Broken Rites article gives some background about how a Catholic priest, Father Robert Claffey, committed sexual offences against children (mostly boys) while the Catholic Church transferred him around parishes in western Victoria for 14 years between 1969 and 1992. Some of Claffey's victims began contacting Broken Rites in 1993, and Broken Rites gave each victim a Victoria Police phone number where the victim could have a chat with child-protection detectives. In 1998, Claffey was convicted regarding two of his victims, and in 2016 he was jailed regarding 12 more victims (Claffey's offences included buggery, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child). The 2016 court case brought the court's total to 14 children. Afterwards, two more victims contacted police and, as a result, in 2019 Claffey (still in jail and aged 76) was sentenced in 2019 to additional time in jail. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 May 2020.)

A Catholic Brother awaits a jury trial but this is being delayed by the COVID-19 virus

An elderly Catholic religious Brother (John David Frith) has been ordered to undergo a criminal trial, with a jury, in the Australian state of Victoria. He is charged with offences allegedly committed some years ago against boys at a Catholic secondary school — Monivae College, situated at Hamilton, 290 kilometres west of Melbourne. But now the trial date is being delayed because of the Coronavirus pandemic. (By a Broken Rites reporter, article updated 21 April 2020.)

This Christian Brother abused children in a Melbourne orphanage but was allowed to keep his career

The Catholic order of Christian Brothers knew that Brother Rex Elmer had been committing sexual crimes against boys in a Melbourne orphanage-like institution. But the Christian Brothers administrators allowed Elmer to continue his life-long career as a senior Brother in Catholic schools. His crimes were concealed from the police. The administrators also allowed him to spend time working as a Brother in Africa. Eventually, some of his Australian victims (acting separately) reported Elmer's crimes to police, resulting in him being convicted by Melbourne courts in 1998 and in 2020. He is currently awaiting sentence in the 2020 case. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 17 April 2020.)

The church concealed Christian Brother Neil Richards' crimes from the police but more victims now are speaking to police

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. In 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. In October 2018, he was sentenced again to more jail time for more of his crimes. In 2020, he is facing further charges in court regarding yet another boy. Other victims of Richards have remained silent but it is still possible for them to speak to the detectives; therefore, the investigation will continue. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 17 April 2020.)

A Catholic priest in court in 2020 regarding children at a NSW boarding school

A Catholic priest, Father Anthony Caruana, aged 77, is listed for a New South Wales magistrates court during 2020, charged with indecently assaulting a number of boys, aged 12 to 15, in the 1980s when Father Caruana was on the staff of Chevalier College, a Catholic boarding school at Burradoo (near Bowral) in the NSW Southern Highlands. Chevalier College was established by a Catholic religious order of priests, known as the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. On 8 April 2020 the case had another mention in court, stating that Caruana is being charged with additional offences – bringing the total number of child sex offences to 43. (Article updated 9 April 2020.)

The church protected "Father F" for 30 years but now he is in jail

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders remained silent for 30 years about the child-sex crimes of Father John Joseph Farrell (also known as "Father F"). In 1993, Broken Rites began researching the Farrell cover-up. In 2012, our research helped to create a "Four Corners" television program about the Farrell cover-up, thus bringing this cover-up to nationwide attention. And this helped to encourage the Federal Government to establish its national child-abuse Royal Commission. Gradually, some of Farrell's victims spoke (separately) to child-protection police, resulting in the jailing of Farrell. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Pages

Subscribe to Broken Rites Australia RSS