Complaints by ex-students of Chevalier College (in Bowral, New South Wales)

Some ex-pupils of Chevalier College (a Catholic high school near Bowral in southern New South Wales) are still recalling allegations that a Catholic priest behaved indecently towards young boys at the school in the late 1980s. This school is owned by a religious order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (known by its Latin initials "MSC"), although today this school has fewer priests and brothers on its campus than it had in the 1980s.

When allegations arose in the late 1980s about this priest's behaviour, at least one of the boys contacted the police, who then interviewed a number of boys, taking formal statements from them. The MSC Order then transferred the accused priest away from the school, and he ended up working in an administrative role in the MSC headquarters in Sydney.

Two decades later, on 25 November 2012, the leader of the MSC Order in Australia (Father John Mulrooney) was quoted in Fairfax Media as saying that (around 1989-1990) a dozen boys made formal statements about this priest.

However, the Fairfax Media article added: "It is understood neither the school nor the Missionaries of Sacred Heart retain any copies of the statements provided to police."

So, what information (if any) about this alleged 1980s sex-abuse at Chevalier College is available now from the Australian archives of the MSC religious order? This religious order maintains a national archives office in Sydney (at the Chevalier Resource Centre, attached to the Sacred Heart Monastery, 1 Roma Avenue, Kensington), with a national archivist, Father Anthony Caruana.

A website of the Chevalier Resource Centre, which was inspected by Broken Rites in January 2011, said this about the archives:

  • "The Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart moved to Australia in 1885. Since then quite a large collection of correspondence, and other records, have been preserved in the Sacred Heart Monastery. People wishing to do research on the Catholic Church in Australia, may find valuable information here with regards to the Australian Province of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Approval is normally required from the Provincial of the Society before access to these archives is permitted. General inquiries can be made with the Provincial archivist, Fr Tony Caruana."

A church website has stated: “Fr Anthony Caruana was professed as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart in 1960, and was ordained a priest in 1967. His experience as a teacher in several colleges [including Chevalier College in the late 1980s], as a missionary in Papua New Guinea, Northern Territory and India, and his assistance in many parishes, acquainted him with the variety of works in the [MSC] congregation."

So, does archivist Father Tony Caruana possess any archives about the alleged sex-abuse at Chevalier College in the late 1980s?