The church provided a perfect cover for child-abuser Father Kevin Glover

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 5 April 2017

This Broken Rites article reveals how the Catholic Church harboured a paedophile priest (Father Kevin Glover) for many years, in parishes around Australia, while he committed sexual crimes against children. When his crimes became known in one parish, the church merely transferred him to another parish. Now, in 2017, lawyers are preparing to tackle the Catholic Church authorities for compensation on behalf of three people who say they were sexually abused by Father Glover in Western Australia in the 1960s and 1970s.

The priest's full name was William Kevin Glover but he was always known by his middle name, Kevin.

Fr Kevin Glover belonged to an Australia-wide religious order called the Society of Mary (also called the Marist Fathers) which has its headquarters in Sydney. Therefore, he was not confined to one diocese in one state. (The Marist Fathers are not to be confused with the Marist Brothers, who are a different, separate religious order.)

The Marist Fathers supplied Glover, on loan, to a succession of dioceses around Australia.

For example, Glover spent some years ministering in the Bunbury diocese, which covers WA's south-west (the town of Bunbury is where the bishop is located). This is one of the four Catholic dioceses into which Western Australia is divided (the other dioceses are called Perth, Geraldton and Broome).

Since the year 2000, Broken Rites has been contacted by victims, who encountered Fr Kevin Glover in Esperance (on WA's southern coast, 390 kilometres south of Kalgoorlie). Glover was in charge of the Esperance parish (called "Star of the Sea" parish) during the 1960s and '70s.

These victims are of varying ages and they do not necessarily know each other. They contacted Broken Rites separately, not knowing that Broken Rites was receiving other complaints about Father Glover. Broken Rites does not reveal a victim's name to anyone, not even to another victim.

Each of them knows that Glover was abusing various children. But many other Glover victims have remained silent. Glover worked hard to make himself into a popular figure in Esperance and victims feared that they would not be believed if they complained about the Glover's sexual offences.

Esperance was a rather isolated town - a perfect place for a paedophile priest to do his preying.

Here are four examples from the numerous Glover victims who have contacted Broken Rites:-

Example #1: Percival

One victim (let's call him "Percival" - not his real name) has told Broken Rites:

"I was sexually abused by Father Kevin Glover on many occasions in the 1960s when I was between the age of  9 and 12.

"I had a recurring illness, which would confine me to bed occasionally. During each illness, Father Glover would visit my bedside.  Because I used to have daily injections of medicine in my buttocks, my bottom was sore and bruised. Fr Glover used to get me to roll on my side and he then lifted the covers and rubbed my bottom. This was how it started, and as a young kid I thought he was just trying to be nice as he was a friend of our family.

"Over time, his hand would slip over to my genitals where he would stroke me. Then would get me to move my bottom right over to the edge of the bed and soon I could feel his penis at my bottom.

"I went to school with many boys who frequented Glover in one way or another. Glover was always surrounded by boys and he used to pick up some boys everyday after school to either drop them home or go to the priest's house where they might have a sleep-over.

"He always gave us lollies and treats.

"He was a popular member of the Esperance community. He helped everyone, not only Catholics. He gave me a great reference when I left High School.

"When I was about 16 (about four years after I stopped seeing him), word got around Esperance that Glover was caught molesting another boy, who was among a bunch of boys having a sleep-over at the priest's house. Two of the other boys, who were not abused, revealed that Glover had abused one of their friends after lights-out, but I am not sure who they reported it to. So, at last, Glover's activities were exposed. The town was abuzz with this information.

"When I heard about this exposure, I realised that I too had been one of his victims — an earlier one.

"I was shocked when he was caught, as he was a family friend and had spent time visiting us in our home.

"A lot of the boys I grew up with would have been abused by this fellow.

"After Glover was exposed in Esperance, the diocese transferred him to a new parish, Margaret River, where I believe he was caught again.

"Up till a year ago (2012), I had told nobody about my abuse - and even my parents still don't know about it. Finally, in 2012, I told only some close friends.

"I have carried this burden for many years, I wish I could do something to gain justice for all the Glover victims.

"If we ever I have a chance to speak, I will certainly put my hand up to tell my story

"Now that there is a Royal Commission into this kind of child-abuse, perhaps at last something will be done."

Example #2: Jerry

Another victim (let's call him "Jerry") has told Broken Rites:

"Fr Kevin Glover began abusing me in Esperance in 1971 when I was 12, and it went on for several years. It used to happen when I was having a sleep-over at the priest's house with other boys.

"According to the definitions of crimes, Glover's offences were serious child-abuse. He made me touch his genitals and he ejaculated. He made me do oral sex on him.

“Also Glover abused a relative of mine, who was about four years older than me.”

"Glover used to give us altar wine to drink. At 16, I was developing an alcohol problem, which impacted on me in my later life."

Example #3: Gus

Another victim (let's call him "Gus") has told Broken Rites:

"I encountered Father at Esperance while I was in my early teens. He was highly regarded in the community with a high profile for achieving things for the community.

"He encouraged the local boys to congregate at his home and he facilitated sporting and other activities.

"He also arranged study sessions at his home as exams approached. Denomination didn’t matter.  Non-Catholic kids were welcome.

"On one occasion when I arrived alone at his place, he approached me and put his hand down my shorts and mauled my private parts. I backed away and nothing more was said or done.

"There was no point in me telling anybody about Glover's assault. Nobody would have believed me because he was so popular.

"This was a single event. I wouldn't be surprised if other children suffered multiple attacks from Glover ."

Example #4: A young girl

Glover could also be a danger to girls if one was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A female victim (let's call her "Margaret") has told Broken Rites:

"Glover began abusing me in Esperance in the mid 1970s when I was aged seven.  Glover also abused a male relative of mine, who was four years older than me.

"I have never told my parents about what Glover did to me, because they are devout Catholics and now they are elderly. If I told them now, it would destroy them.

"Now, as I approach middle age, I still feel hurt by the abuse and by the fact that I was forced to remain silent.  I am in need of professional counselling but this can be expensive."

Glover's final years

In the late 1970s, after his sexual abuse at Esperance became publicly talked about, Fr Kevin Glover was transferred to another parish — the "St Thomas More parish" at Margaret River (still in the Bunbury diocese), where he remained during the 1980s.

In the 1990s, the church allowed Glover to transfer to a Catholic Mission on the Pacific Island of Niue (situated to the north of New Zealand). This placed him out of reach from the Australian police.

He died in 1999. Therefore, it is too for police to charge him with his crimes.

Broken Rites will continue its research about Father Kevin Glover and about how the church provided a cover for him.

Meanwhile, in 2017, a Canberra legal firm has announced that it is taking civil action against the Catholic Church authorities on behalf of three of Glover's West Australian victims — two men and a woman. These three were in the southern WA town of Esperance in the 1960s and '70s.