De La Salle Brothers harboured this paedophile, Brother George Taylor, for many years

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 22 April 2016)

Broken Rites is doing further research about Brother "George" Taylor, who was a child-molester in the Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers in Australia. Brother George was finally brought to justice at the age of 79 when a former pupil, aged nearly 40, managed to persuade the New South Wales police to investigate Brother George regarding incidents that had occurred three decades earlier when the boy was eleven. Since then, other victims of Brother George have contacted Broken Rites, the latest being in April 2016.

Broken Rites has ascertained that Albert Matthew Taylor (alias Brother "George") was born in Melbourne on 1 July 1916 in a family of five children.

By the time he reached the age of 14 (in 1930), the world had been hit by the Great Depression, creating massive unemployment in Australia. Albert Matthew Taylor solved this problem by becoming a trainee in the De La Salle religious order. After some "religious" training and some on-the-job teacher training, he emerged by the age of 18 as a fully-fledged De La Salle Brother, working as a teacher in De La Salle schools. He donned the Brothers' black smock and clerical collar, which signified to the Catholic community that he was supposedly committed to a life-time of celibacy, chastity and holiness (wink, wink), supposedly making him a safe person to mind Catholic children.

In line with the De La Salle custom, he adopted a new forename, becoming known to generations of Australian Catholic schoolboys as "Brother George". In those years, schoolboys did not know the surnames of De La Salle Brothers — and in those years even a Brother's first name was an alias. This eventually would make it difficult for victims of "Brother George" to tell the police the real name of their offender.

The first batch of De La Salle Brothers in Australia had come from Ireland. "George" Taylor was among the first generation of Australian-born recruits. By the time of the 1930s Depression, the De La Salle order had opened new schools in New South Wales and Victoria, thereby providing work for Brother George. The De La Salle Brothers would look after Brother George and his colleagues throughout their careers and into their old age, when they would eventually retire in honour.

Broken Rites has not yet been able to ascertain all the schools where Brother George Taylor worked in his early years but we have received complaints from two of his schools:

  • In 1967 Brother "George" was working at De La Salle College, Revesby, in Sydney's south-west. Taylor taught primary-school classes, although nowadays the Revesby college has only secondary-level students.
  • In 1969-1973 Brother "George" worked at De La Salle College, Orange, in central-west New South Wales, where he was in charge of the school's primary section. Three of Brother Geroge's victims at Orange, acting separately, have contacted Broken Rites. (De La Salle Orange has since evolved into a co-educational school called James Sheahan Catholic High School, staffed by lay teachers.)

In addition, Broken Rites has been told that Taylor worked St Michael's College in Adelaide in the late 1970s.

In court, at last

By the early 1990s, Br George Taylor was living at the "Villa La Salle" retirement village in Southport (on Queensland's Gold Coast), run by the De La Salle Brothers.

In the mid-1990s, Sydney police received a complaint from a former student of De La Salle Revesby, who said that he had been sexually abused by Brother George. The incidents had occurred in 1967, when the boy was aged 11. While he was a schoolboy, he was forced to remain silent about the incidents but three decades later he decided to end his silence. The ex-student found that it was useless to complain to the De La Salle Brothers (who were colleagues of the offender) and that it was better for him to obtain justice through the police.

In the Sydney District Court on 8 August 1995, De La Salle Brother Albert Matthew "George" Taylor (then aged 79) pleaded guilty to two incidents of indecently assaulting this boy.

It is believed that, in negotiations between the prosecution and the defence, a number of other charges were dropped. Therefore, Taylor was to be sentenced in respect of only two incidents with one victim.

Seeking a lenient sentence, the church's defence lawyer submitted a doctor's report saying that Taylor's condition would "very rapidly deteriorate" if he was sent to prison.

Judge Paul Urquhart said that Brother Taylor had "clearly breached a trust."

The judge convicted Taylor, placing him on a three-year good-behaviour bond.

A brief report of the sentencing appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on 9 August 1995.

Retired with honour

After his conviction, aged 79, the De La Salle Order continued to accept Brother George Taylor as a member and it continued to provide him with accommodation at De La Salle's Southport retirement village. This village included residents from the general public, who remained ignorant about Brother George's abusive past.

At some stage in the 1990s, one of the victims from Orange NSW went to the Southport retirement village and confronted Taylor, telling Taylor how the sexual abuse (plus the Catholic cover-up) had adversely affected this victim's teenage development and his later life. (Broken Rites learned this from another Orange ex-student in 2011 while we were researching for this article.)

Brother "George" Taylor died at Southport on 5 August 2008, aged 92 in his 75th year as a De La Salle Brother, and was buried with honour in the De La Salle Brothers Community Cemetery at Oakhill College, Castle Hill NSW.

Broken Rites found a death notice in the Gold Coast Bulletin daily newspaper( 07 August 2008), which said that Brother George "is remembered with great love and respect". The death notice (evidently inserted by the De La Salle Brothers) neglected to mention that Brother George was a convicted child-molester.

A former student has told Broken Rites: "How did Brother George Taylor manage to avoid the police for so long? Clearly, his superiors and colleagues in the De La Salle Order were looking the other way during all those years when Brother George Taylor was targeting young boys."

  • For another example of a sexually-abusive De La Salle Brother, see a Broken Rites article about Brother "Fintan" Dwyer, who toured De La Salle schools around Australia, recruiting future Brothers.