A Catholic Brother is jailed in Victoria regarding an institution for disadvantaged boys

By a Broken Rites researcher, 25 February 2017

Many years ago, Broken Rites began researching Brother Roger Mount (also known as "Brother Gabriel"), who had worked in Catholic children's homes (for disadvantaged boys) conducted by the St John of God Brothers in New South Wales and Victoria. We discovered that he eventually became a priest ("Father Roger Mount"), working in Papua New Guinea. In October 2014 he was brought back to Australia, where Victorian police charged him with multiple child-sex offences committed within Victoria. In late 2015 he faced a court trial which resulted in him being sent to jail for his Victorian crimes. Now the New South Wales police are receiving information about Roger Mount concerning incidents that are alleged to have occurred in NSW.

The St John of God Brothers provided accommodation in New South Wales and Victoria for boys and young men who have an educational or intellectual disability. Many SJOG boys were wards of state and never saw a relative. If they were sexually abused at a SJOG boarding institution, they had nobody to whom they could complain. Many were not sufficiently articulate or assertive or did not know their rights.

Broken Rites research has ascertained that, early in his church career (in the 1960s and 1970s), Roger Melville Mount was listed in the annual editions of the Australian Catholic Directory as Brother "Gabriel" Mount. (When men joined the Stb John of God religious order, they normally adopted an ancient "saintly" name — hence Brother "Gabriel".)

Later, Brother "Gabriel" Mount transferred to Papua New Guinea, where he left the St John of God order and became a diocesan priest. He reverted to his birth name, becoming Father Roger Mount, and was attached to the Diocese of Port Moresby. He reached a senior rank in this diocese. His most recent parish, Sogeri, is on the southern end of PNG's famous Kokoda Track.

In October 2014, Father Roger Melville Mount (then aged 72) was deported from Papua New Guinea to Australia. On arrival in Cairns (Queensland), he was arrested by police, who then obtained a court order for Mount to be extradited to Victoria. He was taken to Victoria by detectives from the Sano Taskforce in the Victoria Police sex crime squad. This taskforce was established to investigate allegations regarding religious organisations.

The Victoria Police were investigating certain incidents that allegedly occurred between 1968 and 1974 while Brother "Gabriel" Mount was working with the St John of God Brothers at Greensborough (in Melbourne's north-east).

At Greensborough, the St John of God Brothers ran a home called "Churinga", for disadvantaged and vulnerable boys.
Broken Rites research found that, in the 1971 edition of the Australian Catholic Directory, Brother Gabriel Mount was listed as the Prior (i.e., the superior) at "Churinga", where there were also five other Brothers.

Court proceedings in Victoria

On 20 October 2014, Roger Melville Mount appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. He was charged with multiple offences, comprising buggery, indecent assault, gross indecency and unlawful assault, allegedly committed between 1968 and 1974 in the Melbourne region. Mount did not apply for bail. He was therefore remanded in custody pending his next court appearance.

On 16 January 2015, Roger Mount appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court via videolink from Port Phillip prison.

The prosecutor told the court that one of the alleged victims had a cognitive impairment while the others might have some form of mild disability.

Later in 2015, a committal hearing was held at the Melbourne Magistrates Court. As a result of this, the magistrate ordered Mount to face a trial, which began (with a judge) in the Melbourne County Court in November 2015. After complex proceedings, Mount was found guilty of certain charges. The judge sent Mount to jail.

New South Wales police

The Victorian jail sentence was for crimes that occurred within Victoria. Brother Roger "Gabriel" Mount also worked at another St John of God boys' home, called "Kendall Grange", situated at Morisset (between Sydney and Newcastle). While Roger Mount is behind bars in Victoria, the Lake Macquarie Detectives Office (in the NSW Police) has received information about certain matters relating to the Morriset institution.

  • To read another Broken Rites article about the St John of God Brothers, click HERE.