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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


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 The charges were withdrawn after the court was told that Crawford (aged 77 when charged) was medically unfit to undergo the court proceedings (posted 15 July 2010).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).

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.

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.)

This article is not available

This article is not available

The church promoted this abusive priest to a more senior position

Eames: A Melbourne priest, Father Anthony Eames, was finally convicted after committing offences against young girls for many years (posted 22 September 2008).

Priest re-instated by the diocese

Mackie: Police in Newcastle, New South Wales, began investigating allegations that a Catholic priest (Fr Gerard Mackie) showed an explicit image to seven-year-old children at a government school during a "religious education" lesson (posted 15 September 2008).

A priest is charged with child-sex offences dating back nearly 40 years

On 22 August 2008, New South Wales detectives charged an 81-year-old Catholic priest with a series of child sex offences, dating back almost 40 years. The priest was issued with a summons to appear in Wollongong Local Court on a later date.

The charges include two counts of buggery and 10 counts of indecent assault (that is, indecent touching).

The charges relate to the repeated sexual assault of a former altar boy at a parish in the city of Wollongong. Police allege the offences occurred over a period from 1969 to 1976, commencing when the victim was 10 years old.

Church accepts two complaints about girls being sexually abused by a priest

Donovan: In May 2008 the Catholic Church's Professional Standards Office in New South Wales "accepted the veracity" of two complaints about Father Francis Donovan, a priest of the Redemptorist Fathers religious order. Two women, acting separately, had complained that Fr Frank Donovan molested them when they were young girls in the late 1970s in Maitland (posted 7 June 2008).

Priest pleads guilty to indecent assault of a schoolgirl in northern Victoria

D'Cruz: A Catholic priest, Father Adelrick D'Cruz, 78, pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court at Shepparton on 22 May 2008 to indecently assaulting a schoolgirl who came to his parish house for help (updated 1 June 2008).

Hospital chaplains can be a health hazard, a woman patient says

Hughes Hospital chaplains can be a health hazard, a woman patient says (29th September 2007)

It is never too late to tell the police, these victims say

Blackfriars School: It is never too late to tell the police, these victims say (last updated 2nd August 2007)

Snowdon's Guilty Secret: Class, Abuse and Hypocrisy in the Catholic Church

Christian Brothers: This article, written for the Broken Rites website by a victim of the Christian Brothers, gives a victim's view of Catholic Church sex-abuse in Australia.

Anglican Cases

Here are some Anglican cases, previously reported in the Broken Rites Newsletter (list not complete). The following are all ordained priests.

Marist Brother Hesford had female victims

In the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 12 December 1997, Marist Brother Francis Hesford pleaded guilty to having indecently assaulted two girls, aged 9 and 12, in the swimming pool at Assumption College boys' boarding school in Kilmore, Vic. He was sentenced to a 12-months good-behaviour bond.

A Female Victim's Recovery

By "MARY", a victim of Marist Brother Francis Hesford at Kilmore, Victoria, at the age of 9 in the 1970s

It is best described as a "shattered windscreen" effect. You notice the initial chip in the windscreen and it really angers you. This is the initial abuse.

This priest died while police were investigating him

The Brisbane Courier Mail (15 October 1998) has exposed the sexual abuse of orphan girls which occurred in the 1950s and '60s at Nazareth House, a Catholic home for the aged, in Wynnum North, Brisbane, conducted by the Sisters of Nazareth. The nuns kept teenage girls at the home as unpaid workers.

 

The Catholic Church's "Melbourne Response" to sex-abuse complaints

The Catholic Church in Australia has established a Professional Standards Office (also known as "Towards Healing") to handle (or mis-handle) complaints from the church's sex-abuse victims. This system operates throughout Australia (including country areas in Victoria), but it does not cover priests in Melbourne or its suburbs.

Double life: He was a priest in public, but a child-abuser in private

A sexually-abusive priest lived "parallel lives", a judge told Sydney District Court on 7 December 2012, when he sentenced the priest to jail for crimes against children in northern New South Wales, including in the Hunter Valley (posted 15 December 2012).

A Marist Brother is charged with a 1960s child-assault in northern NSW

On 18 March 2015, New South Wales police charged a Marist Brother (John William "Kostka" Chute, now aged 82) regarding an alleged indecent assault at Lismore on the NSW north coast The offence allegedly occurred between 1967 and 1969 when the Brother was in his mid-thirties. The alleged victim was a schoolboy in Year Six. (Article posted 21 March 2015.)

Broken Rites supporting the Royal Commission

For twenty years, from 1993, Broken Rites Australia has been seeking a national Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate how religious organisations have handled (or mis-handled) allegations of child-sex crimes. At last, in 2013, the federal government has appointed such a Royal Commission. The Royal Commission is an opportunity to expose the concealing of church-related crimes (article updated 16 February 2013).

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