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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


Royal Commission hearings on the Towards Healing process

Broken Rites Australia has investigated the Catholic  Church's so-called "Towards Healing" process. Too often, when victims seek help from "Towards Healing", they find that the church authorities are evasive and abusive — that is, the victims are victimised again.

The church exposed young Aboriginals to abuse

The Brisbane Catholic authorities had known for 25 years that Father Leo Wright was committing sex crimes against children but they retained him in the ministry and he continued to offend, Brisbane District Court was told in September 1997.

Brother Gabriel Mount became Father Roger Mount.

Many years ago, Broken Rites began researching Brother "Gabriel" Mount, who had worked in Catholic children's homes in New South Wales and Victoria. We discovered that he eventually became a priest ("Father Roger Mount"), working in Papua New Guinea. The church has made payments to some former residents of those homes, in order to settle allegations about Roger Mount. (Article posted 17 October 2014.)

A classic cover-up, putting more children in danger

Research by Broken Rites has found that a senior priest (Monsignor Bartholomew Frawley) covered up sexual abuse by a De La Salle Brother (Wilfred De Cruz) at a church school (now called Southern Cross Catholic College) in Scarborough, north of Brisbane. The cover-up enabled Brother Wilfred to attack more victims.

The "sacred" music was not so "heavenly" for this victim

This is a different kind of case-study in the Catholic culture of cover-up. The Sydney archdiocese has signed a settlement with a victim who was sexually abused by Father Leonard John Henry — one of Australia's most prominent promoters of "sacred music" (posted 22 March 2013).

Fr Emanuel Spiteri left Australia but continued to be a priest in Malta

The priest who left Australia to live in Malta: The Catholic Church in Australia has settled a sex-abuse complaint involving a Maltese-born priest, Father Emanuel Joseph Spiteri, who spent 35 years ministering in the Sale diocese in south-eastern Australia. In 1997, while this complaint was being made, Fr Spiteri returned to Malta, where he continued to be regarded as a priest (posted 14 June 2011).

Fr Neil Joseph Byrne helped to train Australian Catholic priests

Priest convicted on child-exploitation charges: Broken Rites has researched Catholic priest Neil Joseph Byrne, who pleaded guilty in court on 7 March 2012 on charges relating to child-exploitation. As a lecturer in a seminary, Fr Byrne has been involved in the training of Australia's Catholic priests (updated 19 May 2012).

Fr Gerard Fitzgerald survived a police investigation

A police officer alleges a church cover-up: A senior Victoria Police officer has told Broken Rites how police investigated a Melbourne priest about serious child abuse but (the police officer says) the church hierarchy managed to achieve a cover-up. The priest continued working in various parishes until he retired in 2006, after 51 years in the priesthood (posted 8 June 2011).

This bishop supported the church’s victims, but he was sacked

A bishop helped victims but he is sacked: An Australian Catholic bishop (Bishop William Morris in south-western Queensland), who supported some of the church's sex-abuse victims in his region, has been sacked by the Vatican. But this, according to church sources, is not the reason for the sacking. Rather, it was because he was not conservative enough on other issues (posted 4 May 2011).

A former Catholic schoolboy speaks out

Salesian College: The leaders of a Catholic religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, have made an out-of-court settlement with a former schoolboy who alleged that he was sexually abused by a priest (Father John Ayers) while he was a pupil at a prominent Australian Catholic school (posted 30 January 2011).

These victims in this diocese have defeated the church's cover-up

Catholic Church sex-abuse victims in the Newcastle region in Australia have been so successful in demanding justice that their local bishop is longing for early retirement. These victims have shattered the church's traditional cover-up of these crimes (posted 6 January 2011).

Marist Brothers are a "dysfunctional order", a former Brother says

Marist Brothers are "dysfunctional", an ex-Brother says: In December 2010 a former Catholic Marist teaching brother, now living in Queensland — Bede Hampton, aged 62 — was jailed in New Zealand for committing sexual offences against boys in a New Zealand Catholic boarding school in the early 1970s. According to the judge's sentencing statement, Hampton claimed that the offending arose because he was living in a dysfunctional religious order and was ill-suited to religious life. The judge said this did not justify Hampton's crimes. Hampton left the Marist Brothers when he was 29. He has become an interior decorator based in Queensland (posted 17 December 2010).

An ex-altar boy tackles the church re a priest (Fr Joseph Sultana) who left Australia

An ex-altar boy sues church re Father Sultana: Broken Rites Australia is researching Father Joseph Sultana, who is mentioned in a civil lawsuit in Queensland, Australia. A former altar boy is tackling the Cairns Catholic Diocese, alleging abuse by Fr Sultana (updated 12 November 2010).

Fr Dennis John Corrigan is acquitted on child-sex charges

A Catholic priest, Father Dennis John Corrigan, has appeared in court in New South Wales, where he successfully pleaded not guilty to charges of having indecently assaulted a 12-year-old boy on two occasions in the late 1980s while Corrigan was ministering in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese.

Church sex-abuse victims see Mary MacKillop as their patron saint

Mary MacKillop: The church's cover-up continues: Research by Broken Rites research has confirmed that Mary MacKillop (Australia's first saint, the co-founder of the Sisters of St Joseph) was punished by the church hierarchy after her nuns exposed a sexually-abusive priest, Father Ambrose Patrick Keating, in South Australia in 1870. In 2010, the church authorities are dodging this revelation (updated 21 October 2010).

The church accepts a sex-abuse complaint re Xavier College, Melbourne

A church-appointed investigator has confirmed that a Jesuit priest, Fr John Byrne, sexually abused a boy, aged 11, at Melbourne's Xavier College. Byrne previously taught at St Ignatius College, Riverview, in Sydney (posted 20 September 2010).

Brother Vincent Crawford (of the Passionist order) appears in court

Brother Vincent Crawford in court: A Catholic religious brother, Vincent Crawford (a.k.a. Brother "Brendan" Crawford), of the Passionist Order, has appeared in court charged with sexual offences against a girl. The charges were withdrawn after the court was told that Crawford (aged 77 when charged) was medically unfit to undergo the court proceedings (posted 15 July 2010).

After 42 years, two victims expose the church's cover-up

A victim's impact statement: This Broken Rites article includes a well-written impact statement, submitted to an Australian court by one victim, telling the judge how the church abuse damaged the victim's life. The impact statement is in the second half of our article, under the sub-heading "Impact Statement" (updated 22 March 2011).

Father Finian Egan in Sydney's northern suburbs

On 1 May 2012, New South Wales police charged Catholic priest Father Finian Egan with alleged sexual abuse of four children in the Sydney region in the 1970s and '80s. Father Finian James Egan, who was aged 77 in 2012, belongs to the Broken Bay diocese, which covers parishes to the north of Sydney Harbour (including on the NSW central coast).

Archbishop Mark Coleridge acknowledges the abuse problem - better late than never

Archbishop Coleridge speaks - better late than never: After 36 years in the Catholic ministry, Canberra Archbishop Mark Coleridge has finally confessed that it took "people like me a tragically long time" to see the faces and hear the voices of sexual abuse survivors in the church (posted 24 May 2010).

Archbishop Barry Hickey retained a convicted priest, Fr Michael Slattery

A cover-up in Western Australia: Broken Rites has researched Father Michael Slattery who was given a church position by Archbishop Barry Hickey, despite the priest having a child-abuse conviction (updated 12 April 2010).

This clergyman commits crimes against children but he opposes having women priests

An "Anglican-Catholic" cover-up: Broken Rites tells the full story of Anglican priest Wilfred Edwin Dennis, who was jailed in 1970 for sexually abusing an altar boy. He continued as an Anglican priest but later left the mainstream Anglican Church to join a breakaway group, called the "Anglican Catholic Church". In April 2010, he was jailed again for assaulting two other boys. In February 2011, after more victims spoke to the police, his jail sentence was extended (updated 2 February 2011).

Anglican case: Reverend James Stirling Murray allegedly molested schoolboys

ANGLICAN case: Broken Rites has researched one of Australia’s most prominent Anglican priests — Father James Stirling Murray — who managed to survive complaints about him committing sex offences on vulnerable boys (posted 2 October 2009).

Father James Barry Whelan is mentioned in a Melbourne court case

Whelan: Catholic priest Father James Barry Whelan exploited a vulnerable woman, the woman's barrister alleged in an Australian court (posted 11 August 2009).

Christian Brother John F. Coswello in court in 2009-2010

After a Melbourne jury found him guilty on child-sex charges, Christian Brother John Francis Coswello appealed and gained the right to a re-trial. In October 2010, a new jury returned a verdict of not guilty on these charges.

Priest was caught filming naked boys while they showered

Priest admits filming boys in shower: Broken Rites has done research about a Catholic priest, John Charles Houston (born 3 March 1955), who admitted in a New South Wales court that he had filmed boys while they were showering during a surf lifesaving carnival (updated 12 May 2011).

Teacher jailed for offences against children at a Catholic school

Tector: In 1994, Darren John Tector was jailed for sexual offences against boys while he was a teacher at a Catholic primary school (Our Lady of Lourdes) at Seven Hills, near Parramatta, west of Sydney. He was jailed again in 2007 (aged 41) for using the internet and a telephone to procure a child (a 12-year-old boy) for sexual activity (posted 13 March 2009).

A recent cover-up: A church school failed to protect children from abuse

Has the Catholic Church really learned lessons about "child protection"? On 4 October 2010 in Toowoomba (Queensland), a Catholic Church "child protection" officer (Gerard Vincent Byrnes) was jailed for at least eight years for sexually assaulting schoolgirls. The crimes occurred rrather recently, in 2007 and 2008. Despite complaints, the Catholic education system allowed Brynes to continue teaching until the police arrested him. (Article posted 4 October 2010.)

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This Christian Brother receives a second jail sentence after more victims come forward

Brother Down: Christian Brother Graeme James Down (alias Brother "David" Down) molested school boys in Western Australia in the 1980s and was jailed in 2007. Then more victims came forward, resulting in more jail in 2008 (posted 11 November 2008).

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