The church finally admits the crimes of Father Lloyd Reynolds

  • By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 10 October 2020

The Catholic Church has been forced to admit the crimes of Father Lloyd Reynolds (now deceased), who (the church authorities say) was one of the worst child-sex offenders in Australia's capital city, Canberra. Father Reynolds, who was a priest for 40 years until 1983, belonged to the diocese of Canberra-Goulburn which covers the Australian Capital Territory plus a large region of southern New South Wales. One victim has told Broken Rites about abuse committed by Father Reynolds around 1960, and this victim is still feeling hurt.

The Canberra-Goulburn diocese is one of the eleven Catholic dioceses covering NSW and the A.C.T. Originally, it was called the Goulburn diocese, and the bishop was located in the city of Goulburn. Later, because of the growth of Canberra, the diocese changed its name to Canberra-Goulburn, with the bishop now located in Canberra. As Canberra is a capital city, the bishop is given the rank of Archbishop.

Compensation

A local newspaper in the city of Goulburn — the Goulburn Post — reported on 4 April 2017 that the Canberra-Goulburn Catholic diocese had paid out $1.82 million in compensation to victims of sexual abuse by the year 2010. These figures, tendered to Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, related to abuse committed during the period 1950 to 2010.

A spokesperson for the Canberra-Goulburn diocese, Mr Matt Casey, said (according to the Goulburn Post article) that, of all the sex-abuse complaints received by the Canberra-Goulburn diocese, half of all the claims were made against two priests — Father Pat Cusack and Father Lloyd Reynolds. Cusack, who served in both the Canberra and Goulburn regions of the diocese, was the target of 23 claims, Mr Casey said. He said Cusack died in 1977 [but the public only became aware of the Cusack allegations in the 1990s]. Father Reynolds mainly served in the city of Canberra (and briefly in the Goulburn rural region). Reynolds died in 1983 and was the subject of seven claims of sexual abuse which allegedly occurred in the 1970s, Mr Casey said. [But a victim has told Broken Rites about abuse committed by Father Reynolds in 1960.]

Mr Casey pointed out that some people had alleged sexual abuse at the church’s hands but did not seek financial redress. He said the Canberra-Goulburn diocese was still receiving historical sexual abuse claims.

According to Broken Rites research, most Catholic clergy abuse victims remain silent for many years, into their forties or fifties or sixties or perhaps forever, although the child-abuse Royal Commission has resulted in some older victims deciding now to obtain justice for their abuse.

Background

Lloyd Reynolds was born in 1917 in Young, southern New South Wales (within the Catholic diocese of Goulburn-Canberra). After being trained in a seminary, he was ordained in 1944 as a priest for the Goulburn-Canberra diocese.

During his long career, his parishes in this diocese included Ungarie NSW, Goulburn NSW, Crookwell NSW, Queanbeyan NSW, Moruya NSW, O'Connor ACT and Aranda ACT. He died in 1983.

The story of one victim around 1960

Broken Rites has obtained the story of one of Father Reynold's victims — we will call him "Roger" (not his real name) — who was born in Australia in 1953. Roger's parents were poor immigrants from war-torn Europe, who arrived in Australia in 1950. Roger's father worked on the Snowy Mountains Scheme and the family eventually settled in Canberra but Roger's parents split. Around 1960, Roger was a child in St Joseph's parish in O'Connor ACT, where Father Reynolds was based.

Roger's wife, "Kathryn", told Broken Rites: "Father Reynolds took 'Roger' on a trip down the NSW south coast to the beach where the abuse would occur. Fr Reynolds lay on top of this boy and simulated sex between his legs.

"Fr Reynolds also used to attend the family home and would make 'Roger' or his brothers sit on his lap and he would fondle them. They would attempt to get away.

"My husband says there were many occasions of abuse by Fr Reynolds.

"Now, after a hard life doing manual work, 'Roger' is tired and is still feeling hurt by what this priest did to him."

Footnote

Broken Rites is continuing its research about Father Lloyd Reynolds. For example, we are obtaining information about Reynolds' activities at St Vincent's parish in Aranda ACT, where he was located from 1970 onwards.