This priest committed child-abuse at Melbourne's Xavier College but he went on to have a long career as a priest

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 8 April 2019

A former student from Melbourne's Xavier College (we will refer to him as "Boris") has finally complained to the church authorities that in 1972, aged about 13, he was sexually abused by a Jesuit priest, Father Peter Quin. Boris could not complain during his childhood because he knew that this revelation would hurt his "loyal Catholic" family. Boris had to suffer in silence until he was in his fifties. Then the Jesuits made a settlement with Boris, thus protecting the public image of this elite Jesuit school.

Boris says he was not the only student who was targeted by Father Peter Quin at Xavier College in the early 1970s. According to Boris, Father Quin would shove his hand down boys' trousers and touch their genitals. The students coined the phrase "to do a Quinnie." In Boris's case, Quin handled Boris's anus.

By the time Boris finished his schooling, Father Quin had moved on from Xavier to minister in other Jesuit locations. (The complaint by Boris is regarding Quin in the early 1970s; Boris has no information about Quin's later career.)

The abuse (and the Catholic cover-up) had a bad impact on Boris's adolescent and adult development.

By 2011, both of Boris's parents were deceased, and he was finally able to tackle the Jesuits' national office about the issue.

The Jesuit administration was keen to solve the complaint in order to protect the public image of Xavier College. The Jesuits offered a settlement agreement to Boris for sexual abuse.

Fr Peter Quin died in 2016, aged 86.

Father Quin's career

Peter Bernard Quin was born in Echuca, Victoria, in April 1930.

He attended school with the Jesuits at Melbourne's Xavier College and entered the Jesuit order in 1950, aged 20. He was ordained at priest on January 2, 1964, and celebrated 60 years as a Jesuit in 2010.

Like most Jesuits, the early days of his priestly ministry concerned the education of young people, starting at St Ignatius’ College, South Australia, as a Year 5 teacher. He eventually went on to teach at St Louis School, Perth, before becoming the junior school headmaster in 1969.

In the early 1970s, he was on the staff of Melbourne's Xavier College. (He also returned some years later to some more time at Xavier.)

Fr Quin was also headmaster and teacher at St Ignatius College, Riverview, in Sydney, for seven years before being appointed to a parish in Hawthorn, Victoria.

Fr Peter Quin worked in parishes across Victoria and New South Wales before becoming parish priest at St Ignatius, Toowong, where he stayed until his death.