A Catholic Brother is charged in Queensland re allegedly assaulting an adult male

By a Broken Rites researcher  (article updated 1 March 2014)

A Catholic religious Brother, who occupied a senior position in a Catholic school, was charged by police in a North Queensland magistrates court in June 2013, regarding an alleged sexual assault. The alleged victim was a male (and he was not a student).

Police had arrested the Brother in May 2013, placing him on bail pending the court process. The Brother appeared in court for the first time on 3 June 2013 for a brief administrative procedure, and this was reported in the Cairns Post daily newspaper on 4 June 2013.

The case related to one alleged incident, which had occurred relatively recently (it was not a "historical" incident).

The Brother indicated in court through his lawyer that he intended to contest the allegation.

The magistrates court adjourned the case to another date, to allow time for the prosecutors to provide a brief of evidence to the defendant's lawyers. Meanwhile, the Brother was to remain on bail.

In Queensland, the name of any defendant in a case such as this cannot be published during these preliminary proceedings in a magistrates court.

The school, where the Brother had been working, sent a letter to parents on 20 May 2013, stating that this Brother was taking leave from the school pending the court proceedings.

On 25 July 2013 the executive director of Catholic Education Services in the Cairns diocese issued a letter, addressed to the staff, parents and students of the college. The letter said the school was making good progress, despite the departure of this senior Brother, and that there would soon be "some certainty around the future leadership at the College."

On 24 October 2013, the headquarters of this Brother's religious order announced (in its periodical newsletter) that this senior Brother would be leaving the north Queensland school. The newsletter gave the name of another senior Brother who would take over this position in north Queensland beginning in 2014.

Mentioned in court again, November 2013

On 1 November 2013, ABC News in Cairns reported (in a story by reporter Sharnie Kim) that five witnesses would take the stand at a proposed forthcoming committal hearing in Cairns involving a school principal.

The ABC news item stated:

"The man, in his 50s stood, aside as principal of a far-north Queensland Catholic school after being charged with sexual assault [earlier in 2013].

"The man cannot be named for legal reasons.

"The Cairns Magistrates Court heard that the complainant is a man in his 30s who worked at the school. He alleges the defendant groped him through his clothes while inside a car in 2011.

"Police were notified about a year later.

"The court heard the complainant has previously received two payouts totalling $115,000 from a religious order - the first for a sexual assault complaint and the other for a workplace bullying claim."

Update, 2014

In February 2014, the case again came up for mention in court. On Friday afternoon, 19 February 2014, the Cairns Post website reported:

"The case of a former Cairns principal charged with sexual assault will come before a court next month for committal proceedings.

"Police prosecutor Sgt Ash Gregg yesterday applied for one witness in the proceedings to give evidence via telephone, when the matter was mentioned in Cairns Magistrates Court. Defence solicitor Jodie Sykes did not oppose the application and Magistrate Anthony Gett made the direction.

"About five witnesses are expected to give evidence during the proceedings on March 18 and 19 [in 2014]."

Footnote in 2015

Evidently the court proceedings in 2013-2014 did not continue any further. Broken Rites is unable to find any record of any subsequent proceedings in the case. The Brother's religious order provided another senior Brother to replace the one who had left this school.

 

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