A Marist Brother is convicted regarding offences at a prominent Sydney school

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 April 2021

New South Wales police have conducted criminal proceedings against Marist Brother John Patrick O'Brien (born in 1940) over child-sex offences committed about 50 years ago at St Joseph's College, a prominent boarding school in Hunters Hill, Sydney. In court on 15 April 2021, Brother O'Brien was found guilty of a number of offences committed between 1966 and 1970. Now he is waiting to be sentenced.

The allegations against Brother John Patrick O'Brien were originally raised at Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The O'Brien matter was first investigated by detectives from the New South Wales State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad. A special unit, "Strike Force Gallagher", was assigned to do the investigation.

On 12 December 2017, following extensive inquiries, Strike Force Gallagher detectives charged Brother John O'Brien with a number of offences against students at St Joseph's College. The court process finally resulted in a conviction in April 2021.

The court will schedule the sentencing on a future date.

Brother John Patrick O'Brien (born on 31 March 1940) entered the Marist Brothers order after he had been a pupil at a Marist school. After working at St Joseph's College in Sydney, he moved to the Newcastle region to take up a senior position at the Marist Brothers Hamilton College from 1971. Later, from 1981 to 1986, he was principal of a Marist Brothers' school in Kogarah, Sydney.