Latest stories

Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


An ex-Marist Brother became a lay teacher and then a priest — now he is facing court charges in 2018

A retired Catholic priest (now aged 78) is listed to appear in a magistrates court in 2018, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed in New South Wales earlier in his working career. The Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay (in Sydney's north) has announced that the retired priest is Father Carl Stafford. And Broken Bay bishop Peter A Comensoli has stated publicly: "Originally a Marist Brother, Fr Stafford left this Order [the Marists] and took up a lay teaching position with St Gregory’s College Campbelltown before entering the seminary in 1989. Ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Broken Bay in 1994, Fr Stafford held appointments in Mona Vale, Gosford, Toukley/Lake Munmorah and Kincumber parishes." [According to church sources, Father Carl is still a priest and he is merely retired from parish appointments.] (Article updated on 11 March 2018.)

Background article: Father David O'Hearn is in jail and now he faces more charges

During the 1980s and 1890s, Father David Anthony O’Hearn worked in parishes in the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese, north of Sydney. Now he is in jail where he is serving a minimum nine years’ jail for sexual offences against young boys. On 6 March 2018, police visited the jail to charge O'Hearn (now aged 56) with additional offences after one more alleged victim had spoken to detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 March 2018).

A child sex-abuse commissioner hits out at lawyers who attack victim credibility

As shown by Broken Rites research, children who have experienced church sexual abuse have often found it too difficult to tell their parents about it at the time and therefore the abuse remains hidden for many years until the victim reaches adulthood. If a victim reports these crimes to the police many years later, the church's defence lawyer is likely to attack the credibilty of the victim in court. The church lawyer might claim that the victim has only recently invented the complaint. Therefore, it is interesting to read a comment made by Mr Robert Fitzgerald, one of the six commissioners who conducted Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission. Speaking in Sydney on 2 March 2018 (just before the start of Cardinal Pell's pre-trial court case), Mr Fitzgerald criticised defence lawyers who “mischievously” attack the credibility of abuse victims in court. (Article posted by a Broken Rites researcher, 5 March 2018.)

George Pell's lawyer admits being tough on the alleged victims in court

In the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 17 April 2018, the prosecutors and the defence made their final submissions at Cardinal George Pell's pre-trial hearing (in which Pell is charged with committing multiple offences in the state of Victoria). In summing up his defence, Pell's chief lawyer (Robert Richter QC) admitted that he had been tough on Pell's alleged victims while cross-examining each of them in early March in the closed court (the media are never allowed into court during sex-abuse victims' evidence). Some parts of Richter's final submission (in open court) on April 17 were widely reported but the website of The Australian newspaper on April 17 added this interesting paragraph: He [Richter] also said his cross-examination of alleged victims could be considered "brutality” but it was necessary to expose perjury. “While I apologise for the manner, I do not apologise for the content,” he said. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 April 2018.)

How the church gave this priest easy access to young victims, and some of them got him jailed

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about a pedophile priest, Father Charles Alfred Barnett, who was harboured by the Catholic Church for twenty years in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. In 2010, some of his South Australian victims finally got him jailed. And in 2018 he is currently awaiting sentence in court for crimes against more of his South Australian victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 March 2018.)

This Catholic school was staffed by child-sex criminals

Christian Brother Stephen Francis Farrell was one of the child-abusers who committed sexual crimes against young boys at Australia's now-notorious St Alipius parish school in Ballarat in the 1970s. Church leaders ignored the activities of these criminals. Later, Farrell left his religious order and was rewarded with a job as a teacher in other Catholic schools (as "Mister" Farrell). He married three times. Meanwhile, the Catholic culture forced Farrell's victims to remain silent about his crimes. Eventually, his damaged victims began to report their experience to Victoria Police detectives. Thus, in 1997 and again in 2013, Farrell was convicted in court regarding these particular victims. On 22 February 2018, Farrell (now aged 66) was convicted again regarding more of his victims and was ordered to spend a part of this sentence behind bars. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 March 2018.)

A "priest without a parish" is facing a criminal court trial on child-sex charges

For 25 years, Father Peter Maurice Waters ministered in a series of parishes of the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese. In 1999, when he was aged in his fifties, the archdiocese removed him from parish work. Since 1999, according to church law, Peter Waters has retained his priestly qualification — but without a parish (and without any other official role in the church). In 2017, when Waters was aged 72, police charged him with child-sex offices relating to his time in parishes. In early 2018, Waters underwent a four-day committal (i.e., preliminary) hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. After hearing the evidence, the magistrate has ordered Waters to undergo a trial with a judge in a higher court, the Victorian County Court. (Article updated on 16 February 2018.)

The Christian Brothers sheltered Brother Dave Standen while he damaged these vulnerable young lives

Broken Rites is doing further research about how the Catholic order of Christian Brothers enabled Brother William Peter ("Dave") Standen to commit sexual crimes against boys in a southern New South Wales boarding school between 1977 and 1981. The boys (aged 10, 11 12) were feeling isolated and homesick in their first year as boarders, away from their rural families. Overwhelmed by the church's "holy" image, the boys were forced to remain silent about the crimes for many years. Thirty years later, one of these victims spoke to a NSW Police detective, who then located some more of Brother Standen's victims from this school. These victims have each told how the church's culture of cover-up damaged their later lives, ending up in family break-ups and/or life-long struggles with drug and/or alcohol abuse and disrupted careers. Meanwhile, Brother Standen rose to senior positions in the Christian Brothers, including as a school principal in Sydney. In 2016, a judge sentenced Brother Standen to jail, and now his victims are still trying to repair their lives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 February 2018.)

The church versus Anthony and Chrissie Foster: Some background

One of Australia's most notorious paedophile priests, Father Kevin O'Donnell, committed sexual crimes against children throughout his 50-year career in Melbourne Catholic parishes while his superiors and colleagues looked the other way. In his final years, he even received public praise from one of his superiors, Bishop (later Cardinal) George Pell (see further down in this article, under the sub-heading "Praise from George Pell"). Eventually some of O'Donnell's victims (with help from Broken Rites) contacted the police and got O'Donnell convicted and jailed. Later, more people came forward with complaints about Father O'Donnell (including Anthony and Chrissie Foster, whose two young daughters encountered O'Donnell in his final parish). After all this exposure about Father O'Donnell, Archbishop George Pell hired a public relations firm to paint Pell as a pioneer in "helping" victims. Therefore, Anthony and Chrissie Foster asked Pell to grant proper compensation to help their two damaged daughters, but Pell's lawyers tried to defeat the Fosters (instead of "helping" them). The story of the Fosters is told in the second half of this Broken Rites article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 12  December 2017.)

Three victims finally got this Jesuit convicted, 50 years after the crimes

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father David Rankin, a Catholic priest in the Jesuit religious order, who was jailed in 2014 after pleading guilty to acts of indecency committed against three young boys in Sydney. These particular offences occurred in the 1960s when Rankin was a school teacher (by 1970, he was ordained as a Jesuit priest). These three boys are not Rankin's only victims during his 50-year career; they are merely three who took the opportunity to speak with a New South Wales Police detective. This shows that, even after 50 years, it is never too late to report a child-abuse crime to the child-protection police.(Article updated 11 February 2018.)

The church tells these victims "Oops, sorry, folks" — but the apology is 30 years too late

A Catholic bishop has had to apologise “unreservedly” to former pupils of a school in Sydney's south-west who were sexually abused by a Marist Brother thirty years ago. In a public statement on 5 February 2018, Bishop Peter Ingham admitted that Philip Slattery (a Marist Brother who was the principal of Mary Immaculate Catholic Parish Primary School at Eaglevale between 1986 and 1992) pleaded guilty in a court in December 2017 to committing child-sex offences while he was the principal at the school and he is now serving a prison sentence. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 11 February 2018.)

How the church concealed Father Terry Pidoto's life of crime: FULL STORY

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church protected Father Terry Pidoto for 25 years while he committed crimes against boys in his parishes. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Christian Brother is awaiting a court trial in NSW

Christian Brother David Curtin, who appeared in court in New South Wales in early 2017, charged with offences against boys at a boarding school thirty years ago, is scheduled now to face a trial in Sydney in early 2019. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 May 2018.)

This "celibate" priest fathered two children, his colleagues say

The Catholic Church advertises its priests as being "celibate", but priests can have private relationships (either "gay" or "straight") if this is hidden from the public. For example, Father John O'Callaghan, of Melbourne, had a relationship with a woman, who gave birth to Father O'Callaghan's two daughters. These girls have grown up into adulthood, knowing that they are the offspring of Father John O'Callaghan. The private life of Fr John O' Callaghan is no secret among the Melbourne clergy of his generation but the public did not know about it. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 10 January 2018.)

How the church helped this criminal priest, Father Ron Pickering

The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese protected Father Ronald Pickering for many years while he committed crimes against children in his parishes. Eventually he fled from Australia, evading justice. The Melbourne archdiocese then began sending retirement payments to Pickering at his new address in England. The Pickering cover-up was eventually exposed in the media by Broken Rites. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

A priest raped a boy, then ordered the boy to "confess" the rape & conceal it

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about a Melbourne Catholic priest, Father James Scannell, who has been jailed for raping a 12-year-old boy.  After the rape (in the early 1970s), the priest subjected the boy to the Catholic ritual of "Confession" and ordered  the boy never to tell anybody about what had happened. Intimidated by the church's authority, the boy obediently kept this "secret of the Confessional". The church's code of silence damaged the victim's life and it took him forty years to bring the priest to justice — in 2014.

Full story: Father Ridsdale's life of crime — and the church's cover-up

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church shuffled a paedophile priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale, from parish to parish for three decades while he committed sexual crimes against children. Broken Rites has been researching Ridsdale since May 1993, when he famously walked to court for his first sentencing, accompanied by his support person, Bishop George Pell. Broken Rites began supporting Ridsdale's victims, resulting in four more court cases for Ridsdale between 1994 and 2017 (without the presence of George Pell). (Background article, by a Broken Rites researcher.)

The Marist Brothers covered up Brother Gerard Rush's crimes but some victims got him convicted

Broken Rites is doing further research about how the Marist Brothers leadership in Australia covered up for Brother Gerard Rush who committed sexual offences against young boys in Catholic boarding schools. For many years, these crimes were successfully concealed from the police but eventually a former student exercised his right to speak to police detectives who soon found more of Brother Rush's victims. On 2 December 2016, Brother Rush was jailed (at the age of 76) after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting seven boys (aged between 11 and 14) while they were boarders at two prominent Catholic schools in regional Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 February 2018.)

This bishop protected the church's holy image, instead of protecting children

Broken Rites research has discovered how an Australian Catholic leader (Bishop William Brennan) covered up allegations of clergy sex-abuse in his diocese. Police charged one of Brennan's priests (Father Bernard Connell) with allegedly abusing two boys in different parishes but Bishop Brennan hired an expert legal team to defeat the charges. One of these victims then asked Bishop Brennan for help but the bishop shunned him. The bishop's main aim was protecting the church's holy image, instead of protecting children. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Broken Rites helped Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission

On 14 December 2017, Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse concluded its five-year-long inquiry for the Australian government. The Commission investigated how organisations, such as churches, have handled the issue of child sexual abuse. The Commission has made recommendations about how Australia could improve child safety. Many community bodies, including Broken Rites, have supported and helped the Commission's work. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 1 February 2018)

The church helped Father Peter Chalk to evade the police

Catholic Church authorities helped an Australian priest, Father Peter Chalk, to stay overseas, out of the reach of Australian police. The church eventually gave a written apology to some of Chalk's Melbourne victims. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher)

The Church concealed Father Michael Aulsebrook's child-abuse crimes, a court is told

The Australia-wide Salesian religious order operates Catholic schools in several Australian states, and it is notorious for tolerating sexually-abusive priests and brothers on its teaching staff, often transferring them from school to school around Australia and overseas. For example, the Salesian leadership knew that Father Michael Aulsebrook committed crimes in Victorian schools but, despite knowing this, the leadership retained him in the priesthood and even promoted him to be in charge of another school — in South Australia. A Victorian victim finally got Aulsebrook jailed in 2011 for indecently assaulting this victim. This prompted more of his victims to speak to Victoria Police detectives, and therefore Aulsebrook was jailed again in 2016. At the end of this article, there are links to Broken Rites articles about some other sexually-abusive Salesian priests and brothers. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 27 January 2018.)

The church harboured this sex-abuser in Catholic schools for 50 years — and one victim has died by suicide

Brother Pius Bernard” (real name Raymond Hugh Logan) was originally a member of the Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers, teaching in Catholic boys' schools around Australia and committing sexual offences against his pupils. Eventually, one of his victims reported him to the police. Therefore, Brother Pius Bernard left the De La Salle order but, despite his previous offences, he was allowed to spend the rest of his career working in Christian Brothers schools as a lay teacher, known as “Mister Logan", still committing more crimes against boys. After his 50 years as a Catholic teacher, three of his victims (from separate schools) got him convicted in court for his crimes. Logan is deceased now but his victims still feel hurt and damaged by the abuse and by the church's cover-up. One damaged victim (let us call him "William") died in 2017 by suicide, as explained later in this article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 January 2018.)

A Marist Brother is jailed for child-sex crimes at a "top" Sydney school — and there are also complaints about him in Queensland

For years, the Marist Brothers tolerated a child-abuser (Brother John Dennis Maguire) as a teacher and dormitory master at their high-profile St Joseph's College boys' boarding school in Hunters Hill, Sydney. Maguire allegedly would target the youngest boarders (perhaps eleven years old) who were homesick – comforting them and then sexually assaulting them. In 2002,  police charged Maguire with assaulting six of these boys but the Marist Brothers defeated each of these charges. In 2014, after a total of nine jury trials, a seventh ex-student succeeded in getting Maguire convicted in court. Finally, on 20 March 2015, Maguire (now aged 71) was sentenced to at least 21 months in prison. There have also been complaints about Maguire in Queensland, which would need to be handled by the Queensland police. Maguire was a danger to girls as well as boys. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Marist Brother in court in 2018 on charges regarding a prominent Sydney school

New South Wales police have charged Marist Brother John O'Brien, now aged 77, over child-sex offences allegedly committed about 50 years ago at St Joseph's College, a prominent boarding school in Hunters Hill, Sydney. The case is due to begin its preliminary procedures in court in early 2018. The court's case number is 2017/00375969. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 26 January 2018.)

The Marists evaded the police by sending this criminal Brother on an overseas trip

The Marist Brothers headquarters in Sydney put a child-sex criminal, Brother Gregory Joseph Sutton, on a plane to Canada after learning that he was being investigated by New South Wales police, Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission has been told. The police extradited him back to Australia, where he was jailed for sexual crimes against girls and boys in New South Wales. Questioned at the Royal Commission, senior Marists down-played Sutton's crimes as merely "improper conduct" or "moral lapses", rather than as crimes. This strategy helps to protect the Marist organisation from being sued by victims for compensation, a victim's lawyer told the Commission. This strategy can also be an attempt by senior Marists to avoid being accused of concealing a crime. Ex-Brother Sutton, who was jailed in 1996 for child-sex crimes committed in New South Wales, was convicted again on 7 February 2017 for crimes committed in the Australian Capital Territory. Regarding the February 2017 conviction, see the final paragraphs in this article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 31 March 2017)

Marist Brothers admit they protected this pedophile Brother

The Marist Brothers have been forced to acknowledge that yet another one of their members — Brother Thomas Joseph Butler (known as "Brother Patrick") — committed sexual offences against children. Former students, from several Marist schools in New South Wales and Queensland, have told Broken Rites that the Marists knew about Butler's offences but the Marists allowed him to continue teaching —  and offending — throughout his long career. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Marist Brothers admit suicides by sex-abuse victims

Broken Rites Australia is doing research about adults who have suffered a premature death while still feeling damaged by church child-abuse (and by the church's cover-up). For example, Broken Rites has discovered that two former pupils, from a prestigious Marist Brothers school, have died by suicide. Before dying, both men revealed that they had been sexually abused during their childhood by a long-serving teacher, Brother Aubrey Tobin. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 14 January 2018.)

A former Marist Brother, now 79, is in court in 2018 on charges from the 1960s

A 79-year-old former Marist Brother, Kevin Joseph Jewell, is due for court proceedings in 2018 regarding indecent assaults allegedly committed against boys 50 years ago during one of his earliest Sydney teaching posts (now known as Marist College Eastwood). In those years, each new Marist Brother would adopt a "religious" first-name. Court documents don't mention Kevin Jewell's "religious" first-name but another Sydney Marist school (Marcellin College in Randwick) says (in its official history) that a Brother "Dacian" Jewell spent some time teaching at the Randwick school. (Article by Broken Rites, updated 9 January 2018.)

Background article: Disabled boys were abused in a Catholic institution in NSW

One of Australia’s Catholic religious orders – the St John of God Brothers – has specialised in accommodating boys who have an educational (or intellectual) disability. One of these institutions was the "Kendall Grange" boys' home in Morriset, near Newcastle in New South Wales. This Broken Rites article is about Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath, who committed crimes against disabled victims in Australia and New Zealand. McGrath has already served jail terms in both countries, and in 2018 he will be sentenced again for more of his Australian crimes. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 January 2018.)

Pages

Subscribe to Broken Rites Australia RSS