A priest is in court on a child-sex charge re a NSW South Coast school

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 19 October 2015)

A Catholic priest, Father Patrick Kervin, 58, is facing court in New South Wales, charged with an indecent assault of a schoolboy, allegedly committed 27 years ago. Father Kervin is a member of an Australia-wide religious order, the Society of Mary (also known as the Marist Fathers). Father Kervin has worked at Catholic schools near Wollongong and Lismore (New South Wales) and also in Tasmania. The charge relates to Holy Spirit College, at Bellambi, near Wollongong, in the 1980s. More recently, he ministered at St Patrick's Presbytery (Church Hill) in the Rocks area in central Sydney.

Father Kervin was arrested in Sydney 10 March 2015 after an investigation by detectives attached to Shoalhaven Local Area Command on the NSW south coast. He was charged at Sydney's Harbourside Police Station with one count of indecent assault.

Police allege that the incident occurred in mid-1988, while Father Kervin was attached to Holy Spirit College at Bellambi, north of Wollongong. The alleged victim was a 15-year-old boy. The NSW Police received the complaint in 2011.

Father Kervin appeared in a Local Court in the Wollongong region on 18 March 2015. He pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault.

On 16 October 2015, the case was partly heard in Albion Park Local Court. Father Kervin indicated that he is contesting the charge. The court adjourned the hearing, and the case will have a further mention on a later date.

Broken Rites research

The Marist Fathers are a relatively small order of priests, founded in France in the early 1800s. They have their international headquarters in Rome.

Church documents state that Father Patrick Kervin, SM, was born in Arncliffe, Sydney and was educated at Kogarah Marist Brothers. He joined the Society of Mary in Sydney and did seminary studies at Toongabbie and Hunters Hill. He was ordained a priest by Sydney Auxiliary Bishop David Cremin in 1985.

After initially working in parish ministry, Father Pat spent most of his time in education, as a teacher and school administrator.

His appointments have included several Catholic secondary schools:

  • A Catholic secondary school at Woodlawn, Lismore, on the NSW north coast;
  • Holy Spirit College, at Bellambi, near Wollongong NSW;
  • Marist Regional College in Burnie, where he was principal for two years.

On 15 June 2002, the Hobart Mercury reported:

"The principal of Burnie's prestigious Marist Regional College has resigned after allegations were raised that he made improper use of the school's internet and e-mail facilities. Father Patrick Kervin, who had been principal of the school for the past two years, resigned late last week and moved interstate. A member of the Marist Fathers group, he is believed to have gone to Sydney to stay at the group's Australian headquarters, in Hunters Hill."

A church document has stated that, after Tasmania, Father Kervin did some hospital chaplaincy and had "renewal periods" in Rome and Washington.

In 2004 he was appointed to St Patrick's Presbytery (Church Hill) in the Rocks area in central Sydney, where his role included "Outreach to Young Adults working in Sydney's Central Business District". In the mid-2011 edition of the Australian Catholic Directory, Reverend Patrick Kervin, SM, was one of six Society of Mary priests at this presbytery.

In the mid-2014 printed edition of the Australian Catholic Directory the address of Reverend Patrick Kervin, SM, was changed to "care of" the Society of Mary's Australian headquarters in Hunters Hill, Sydney.