Priest and teachers charged with abusing girls at an Aboriginal mission

By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 10 May 2017

Three elderly men (a priest and two teachers), who formerly worked at a Catholic Aboriginal mission in Western Australia, have been ordered to appear in court during 2017, charged with sexually abusing young girls at the mission during the 1960s. The charges were laid in May 2017 by W.A. Child-Abuse Squad detectives after Australia's national Child-Abuse Royal Commission had private interviews with several women who had lived at the mission as children.

The mission, which operated from 1944 to 1979, was located in the Shire of Wandering, 120km south-east of Perth.

The "Wandering Mission" (as it was often called) was a school for boys and girls, conducted the by the Catholic order of Pallottine Fathers and Brothers, with help from an order of nuns. The mission had boarding facilities for needy children.

Charges against the priest

Police allege that the priest (now aged 78 and now living in Melbourne) sexually abused four girls aged between eight and 15 between 1965 and 1969. He has been charged with rape, six counts of indecent dealing of a girl under 13, and sex counts of unlawful or indecent assault of a female. Police allege that the four girls were aged between eight and 15 years at the time of the first offence.

The two teachers

  • One of the teachers, 82, who lives in W.A., is alleged to have sexually abused a 10-year-old girl between 1960 and 1963. He has been charged with three counts of unlawful and indecent assault on a female and four counts of indecent dealings with a child under 13 years old.
  • The second teacher, 83, who lives in W.A., faces the most serious charges after allegedly abusing five girls who were aged between nine and 13 years old between 1959 and 2003. He faces 14 charges including rape, sexual assault, indecent dealings with a girl under 13, and indecent dealings and carnal knowledge of a girl under 17 years by a teacher.

Court appearance

The three men are scheduled to have a preliminary procedure in Perth Magistrates Court in mid-2017. The priest will appear by video-link from a court in Melbourne.