A Marist Brother has been convicted three times and is facing more charges

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 4 May 2017

Australian Marist Brother David Austin Christian (born in 1942) joined the Marist order when he was 18) and has remained in the Order since then. Charged with child-sex offences (committed in the early 1980s), he has been convicted three times — first in 1995 and then again in 2004 and early 2017 after more of his victims spoke to child-protection detectives. The 2017 conviction resulted in him being jailed. And, later in 2017, while in jail, he is due to appear in court again regarding another victim. How many more victims did this Brother have?

For many years, the Marist Brothers in Australia were divided into two Provinces. The northern province was for New South Wales and Queensland. David Christian belonged to the southern province which supplied Marists Brothers to  various schools in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. David Christian was teaching in Western Australia when the charged offences occurred and his court appearances were in W.A.

First conviction, 1995

Brother David Austin Christian, formerly principal of Marist Brothers' Newman College, Perth, W.A., pleaded guilty to multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault against two boys (aged 10 and 11) in the principal's office. In a Perth court in 1995, Christian was fined $10,500 ($1,500 per incident) but the Marist Order said it would pay the fine for him. Brother Christian moved to live with the Marist Brothers in Templestowe, Melbourne. According to Marist websites (accessed in 2011), Brother David Christian continued to be accepted by his superiors and colleagues as a member of the Marist order.

Second conviction, 2014

In the W.A. District Court in 2014, Brother David Christian was convicted of one count of indecently dealing with a child under the age of 14 years (in the early 1980s) The court gave him a nine months suspended jail sentence.

Third conviction, 2017

In the same court on 10 January 2017, Brother David Christian was convicted of two offences of indecently dealing with a child under the age of 14 (in the early 1980s),

Sentencing David Christian, Judge O'Neal told him: "You were the principal of the school that this ten-year-old boy attended. You wrapped yourself in a public profession of Christian religiosity as a Marist Brother."

The judge said the offending has had a "catastrophic effect" on the psychological health and wellbeing of the victim.

"Despite high academic achievement as a child, [the victim] left school early with an understandable problem with authority figures like teachers... He [has] had a complete breakdown. He has been struggling with drug and alcohol issues, and his life is at a very low point", the judge said.

"This case is among the most serious examples of breach of trust."

"In view of the seriousness of these offences, a term of imprisonment is the only appropriate disposition."

The judge sentenced Christian to 16 months jail for each of the two incidents. The judge reduced each term to 12 months, to be served consecutively, making a total of two years, with parole possible after 12 months behind bars.

More charges coming up

Another former student from Newman College, Perth, has spoken to W.A. detectives about being sexually abused by Brother David Christian. Brother Christian has been charged and the case will be come up in court later in 2017.