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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


How Christian Brother Daniel McMahon became "Father" Daniel McMahon

Broken Rites has discovered that the Catholic Church has made settlements with several former pupils who encountered Brother Daniel John Virgil McMahon while he was teaching with the Christian Brothers in Catholic boys' schools in Western Australia (from the 1960s to the 1980s). In the early 1990s, the church elevated Brother McMahon to the rank of "Father" McMahon and allowed him to minister as a priest in parishes on the other side of Australia — in Tasmania, 3500 kilometres away.

A female victim was later re-victimised by the church authorities

A schoolgirl (named Joan) was sexually abused by a Catholic priest, Father Francis Edward (Frank) Derriman when she was aged 14 and 15. Later (when she was an adult) she was victimised again by the church's controversial Towards Healing system. Meanwhile, this priest left his parish job and eventually gained a university position, supervising Social Work students whose careers might include (of all things!) child protection. In December 2013, aged 60, Joan gave evidence at a public hearing of Australia's national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Joan explained how Towards Healing acted as a "front" for the church-owned insurance business, Catholic Church Insurances Limited. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

This priest was committing indecent acts against children from Day One, a court is told

A Catholic priest, Father Bryan Desmond Coffey, was indecently touching young children immediately after being ordained, an Australian court has been told. During Coffey's 37 years in the priesthood, church leaders kept hearing about his criminal behaviour but they always concealed this information from the police, thus protecting the church's holy image of priestly "celibacy". Finally, one victim reported Father Coffey crimes to the police, instead of merely to the church. Coffey was convicted in court, and the media publicity forced the church authorities to realise that they could no longer merely transfer Coffey to another parish. He continued to be a priest, but a priest without a parish. Broken Rites has researched the court transcript to compile the following account of how the church covered up the crimes of Father Bryan Coffey. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 1 January 2018.)

Archbishop George Pell hired a publicity firm to paint him as a pioneer in "helping" victims

This Broken Rites article gives some background to George Pell's claim that he was a pioneer in "helping" church-abuse victims. In 1996, Broken Rites informed the Australian public that the Catholic Church had been harbouring Father Nazareno Fasciale (pronounced "Fah-SHAH-lay") while he was committing crimes against children. Police charged Fasciale but he suddenly died. Then church leaders, including George Pell, gave this pedophile a grand funeral, demonstrating the church's high regard for this pedophile priest. When Broken Rites exposed this (and other) church cover-ups, George Pell's diocese (Melbourne) rushed into damage control, hiring a public relations firm to announce Pell's "Melbourne Response" strategy, instead of waiting for the church's Australia-wide "Towards Healing" scheme which was due to start a few months later. (By a Broken Rites researcher,)

Background article: The church gave the paedophile priest Robert Claffey a new parish, putting more children in danger

This Broken Rites article gives some background about how a Catholic priest, Father Robert Claffey, committed sexual offences against children (mostly boys) while the Catholic Church transferred him around parishes in western Victoria for 14 years between 1969 and 1992. Some of Claffey's victims began contacting Broken Rites in 1993, and Broken Rites gave each victim a Victoria Police phone number where the victim could have a chat with child-protection detectives. In 1998, Claffey was convicted regarding two of his victims, and in October 2016 he was jailed regarding 12 more of his victims (Claffey's offences included buggery, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child). The 2016 court case brought the court's total to 14 children. Since then, two more alleged victims have contacted police and, as a result, Claffey (still in jail) will face preliminary proceedings in Geelong Magistrates Court in early 2018 regarding these new charges. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 January 2018.)

How Father John Farrell's crimes (and the church's cover-up) were exposed in court

This Broken Rites article summarises the court proceedings against John Joseph Farrell (also known as "Father F"). Father Farrell targeted numerous children (mostly boys, plus some girls) in northern New South Wales in the 1980s (and later in western Sydney until 1992). On 2 May 2016 he was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years jail for 62 of his crimes, committed against 12 of his victims. A further 17 incidents were taken into account at sentencing, making a total of 79 incidents. In 2018, Farrell is scheduled to face Sydney's Downing Centre District Court regarding more child-sex offences from the 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 2 March 2018.).

Priest was jailed but was allowed to remain "Reverend"

This Broken Rites article gives another Australian example of a Catholic priest who was not laicized, even after being jailed for child-sex crimes. In 1989, the Wollongong Catholic diocese (south of Sydney) was warned that Father Peter Lewis Comensoli was sexually abusing boys in his parish, but the church authorities allowed him to continue in parish work. In 1993, a newspaper exposed this church scandal. Police then charged Comsensoli and he was jailed in 1994. But the church failed to laicize him and he was listed as "Reverend" for the next 16 years, until his name finally vanished from church directories in 2010 — 16 years after his conviction. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

After 30 years, the church was forced to say 'sorry' for the rape of a 13-year-old schoolboy

The Catholic order of Vincentian Fathers has finally apologised to a Victorian man ("Peter"), who was raped by a priest (Father Murray Joseph Wilson) in the 1970s when Peter was 13. This was a crime and Wilson was risking jail but, as so often happens in church-abuse cases, Wilson knew that the church culture would intimidate his victims into remaining silent. In 1979, Wilson died mysteriously at the age of 44 before any of his victims felt able to report Wilson's crimes to the police. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 January 2018.)

Paedophile priest Peter Searson worked under various bishops, including George Pell

For years, the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Peter Searson was committing sexual offences against boys, girls and women but he was allowed to continue in parishes, including at the Doveton parish (in Melbourne's south-east), where he survived for years under the supervision of the regional bishop for the south-eastern suburbs, Auxiliary Bishop George Pell. The Victoria Police investigated Searson for sexual offences in parishes but found it difficult to extract evidence from "loyal" church people. Eventually, after 35 years as a priest, the police managed to charge Searson with physical assault. Thus, Searson's abuse thus became public. The church authorities were forced to dump Searson from parish work. Hoping to protect the church's public image, the church also removed his name from the published list of retired priests. (Background article by a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 December 2017.)

After 30 years, these female victims finally succeed in exposing a priest's crimes

Several women have told Broken Rites Australia how they were sexually abused, when they were teenage girls, by Father John Ignatius O'Callaghan, who was a "chaplain" for the girls' section of the Catholic Church's Australia-wide "Young Christian Workers" organisation. According to colleagues, Father O'Callaghan also had a long-time sexual partner, with whom he fathered two children. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

These victims obtained justice, supported by Broken Rites

Research by Broken Rites has revealed that a former trainee Catholic priest (Gregory Vincent Coffey) was sentenced in South Australia for a child-sex crime and then, despite this, he was given a senior teaching position in a Melbourne Catholic school, enabling him to commit sex crimes against more children. In court proceedings in Melbourne in 1994 and 1997, Coffey pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting boys who were in his custody at a Marist Brothers secondary school in Melbourne in the 1970s. The Melbourne court did not know about Coffey's earlier conviction in South Australia. Broken Rites was present in the Melbourne court, supporting the victims and taking notes. Broken Rites also conducted its own research into Gregory Coffey's past. During this research, Broken Rites discovered Coffey's earlier South Australian conviction. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 3 December 2017.)

A former priest on child-sex charges regarding boys at a Marist Brothers school

A former Catholic priest, James Joseph Cunneen, aged 58. is due to face court proceedings in 2018, charged with multiple sexual offences which were allegedly committed thirty years ago against boys from a Marist Brothers school at Dundas in Sydney's west. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 18 December 2017.)

This priest became the deputy to a bishop, then was jailed and now is in court again

A senior Catholic priest from western Sydney, Father Richard Cattell, committed sexual crimes against boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Later, in the early 1990s, the Catholic Church promoted this priest to become the Vicar-General of his diocese, supervising 48 parishes in western Sydney on behalf of the bishop. In 1994, Cattell was jailed regarding one of his victims (from the 1970s). In 2015 he was jailed again regarding another victim (from the 1980s). In 2016, police charged Cattell regarding another 1970s victim (case number 2016/00101011), for which Cattell is awaiting sentence. Meanwhile, in 2017, yet another Cattell case (number 2017/00073102) has begun its preliminary procedures, with another brief mention due in Penrith Local Court on 8 December 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 November 2017.)

A Brisbane priest dies after being charged in court with an alleged sexual offence

A Queensland Catholic priest, Fr Michael Joseph McKeaten was charged by police in court on 31 May 2017 regarding a sexual offence that allegedly occurred earlier in his priestly career. Court documents alleged that, in 1991-1992, a male altar-server had asked Father McKeaten for counselling regarding a personal matter. During this "counseling", Fr McKeaten allegedly persuaded the victim to engage in a naked wrestle with the priest, in order (the priest said) to "relieve stress". Fr McKeaten was charged with procuring a sexual act by false pretext. The May 2017 hearing was a brief one in which the magistrate ordered Fr McKeaten to appear in court later in 2017 for the next step in the court process. However, Fr McKeaten died before the next hearing could be held. The Brisbane archdiocese then honoured Fr McKeaten with a priestly funeral. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 8 November 2017 )

'Towards Healing' helps the church, rather than the victims

Broken Rites is pleased that Australia's national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has investigated the Catholic Church's so-called "Towards Healing" process, which claims to "help" the church's abuse-victims.Broken Rites has been researching "Towards Healing"since 1996, and this article sums up some of our main findings so far. This Broken Rites article demonstrates how "Towards Healing" is really a business strategy, designed to protect the church from the legal liability of compensating some victims or, at least, to limit any compensation. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Royal Commission receives further information about Christian Brother Peter Toomey in Victoria

In 2005, Christian Brother Peter Toomey was jailed for sexually abusing young boys at Catholic schools in Victoria earlier in his career. In 2017, Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission has received further information about other former pupils who encountered Christian Brother Peter Toomey in their schooldays. This Broken Rites article gives some background about Toomey's court case in 2005. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 18 October 2017.)

The church concealed the crimes of Father Vincent Ryan. Now he faces more charges

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders knowingly protected one of Australia's worst sex-criminal priests, Father Vincent Gerard Ryan. Ryan's superiors (in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese in New South Wales) knew that he was sexually assaulting boys in his parishes. But the church concealed Ryan's crimes from the police and kept him in the ministry for twenty years, giving him access to new victims. He has already been jailed for some of his crimes. In 2017, he was charged with additional offences involving more alleged victims; these additional charges will be heard in court on a future date. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 August 2017.)

This priest abused 14 boys in NSW, police allege

For 34 years until 1995, Father David Joseph Perrett was a priest in the Armidale Catholic diocese, which covers a large region in northern New South Wales, extending up the New England Highway to the Queensland border. In 2017, Perrett (now aged 80 and no longer working as a priest) is facing court, charged with sexual offences allegedly committed against 14 young boys between 1970 and 1982 while he was working as a priest. In May 2017, NSW police charged him regarding four of these boys. After these charges became public, more of Perrett's alleged victims contacted the police. By October 2017, police charged him in court regarding another ten boys. Police are continuing their investigation. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 October 2017.)

The church makes payments to settle complaints about abuse of disadvantaged boys

The Catholic Church has paid settlements to men who allege that they were abused many years ago by Father Roger Mount while he was a Brother in the Catholic St John of God Order, running children's homes (for disadvantaged boys) in Australia. Later, the Catholic Church allowed Father Mount to continue ministering as priest for many years in Papua New Guinea until the Australian media published articles about him in 2014. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 3 October 2017.)

George Pell and Denis Hart became archbishops but Father Tony Bongiorno didn't

According to Broken Rites research, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has been forced to admit that Father Anthony Bongiorno committed sexual crimes against children during his 30 years working in Melbourne parishes. Anthony (Tony) Bongiorno began training for the priesthood about 1960, aged 25, in the same trainee group as George Pell and Denis Hart, both of whom eventually became archbishops of Melbourne. In 1994, Pell (then an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne) officiated at a requiem mass for Bongiorno's brother Salvatore ("Sam"). Anthony Bongiorno's child-sex crimes were covered up until some were exposed in the mid-1990s. The total number of Father Bongiorno's victims is unknown. For example, in 1980, a woman (named Maria James) learned that her son (aged 11) was a Bongiorno victim but this woman was murdered before she could expose Bongiorno about her son's abuse. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 September 2017.)

The church covered up for this priest but failed, now he is in court again

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the large Catholic order of Salesian Fathers harboured an Australian paedophile priest, Father Frank Klep, for many years — allowing him to commit sexual crimes against defenceless boys. Gradually, with help from Broken Rites, some of his victims managed to expose Klep and the Salesians during three court cases. In 2017, Klep (now in jail and aged 74) is facing additional charges in a fourth court case in the Melbourne Magistrates Court — case number H11032459. The new charges have been laid by detectives from the Sano Taskforce in the Victoria Police. (Article updated 19 September 2017.)

A former Catholic priest will face a trial in Melbourne on child-sex charges

Paul Chris Pavlou, of Melbourne, was once a school-teacher. Then he became a Brother in the Catholic Church's Salesian order. Later, aged in his forties, he was ordained as a Catholic priest, ministering for a while in parishes at Croydon and Healesville in Melbourne's east, although he no longer holds any position in parishes. In mid-2017, Pavlou (now aged 58) faced a preliminary hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, charged with child-sex offences. On 1 September 2017, it was decided that the case will proceed to a trial in the Victorian County Court. (Article updated  3 September 2017.)

A Catholic priest is jailed for indecent assaults against Melbourne schoolboys

In the Melbourne County Court on 7 August 2017, Catholic priest Frank De Dood (aged 64) was sentenced to jail for indecently assaulting five young boys while he was teaching and ministering at two Catholic schools in Melbourne between 1978 and 1983. Father De Dood told one boy that no one would believe him if he told anyone about being touched by a priest, and if he did, the boy would be expelled from the school. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 August 2017.)

Priest dies while facing child-abuse charges

On half a dozen occasions during 2013 and 2014, a Queensland magistrate granted an adjournment to a retired Catholic priest, Father Dermot Casey, who had been charged with sexual offences against ten children, including girls and boys. The defence lawyers kept producing medical certificates saying that the priest (aged 78 in 2014) was not well enough to come to court. In August 2014, Father Casey died; and therefore his victims were no longer able to obtain justice. (Article updated 17 December 2017.)

Church finally admits the crimes of Fr Thomas O'Keeffe

After action by Broken Rites, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has been forced to admit that children were sexually abused by Father Thomas O'Keeffe. Broken Rites is doing further research on O'Keeffe — and how the church sheltered him during his life of crime. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church covered up the crimes of Father Billy Baker

For many years, the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Wilfred ("Billy") Baker was committing crimes against children but it allowed him to continue in the priesthood, thereby helping him to commit more crimes against more children in more parishes. When George Pell became the new archbishop in mid-1996, Father Baker was allowed to continue as a parish priest. But Broken Rites began advising some of his victims to report Bakers' crimes to the police, and therefore in mid-1997 the archdiocese was forced to send Baker on "administrative leave" to protect the image of the church. Baker was jailed. Thus, the cover-up was finally exposed by Broken Rites. After he finished this jail term, more of his earlier victims contacted Broken Rites and/or the police but, in February 2014, Baker died before the courts could sentence him again. (Article written by a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Marist Brother has been convicted three times and is facing more charges

Australian Marist Brother David Austin Christian (born in 1942) joined the Marist order when he was 18) and has remained in the Order since then. Charged with child-sex offences (committed in the early 1980s), he has been convicted three times — first in 1995 and then again in 2004 and early 2017 after more of his victims spoke to child-protection detectives. The 2017 conviction resulted in him being jailed. And, later in 2017, while in jail, he is due to appear in court again regarding another victim. How many more victims did this Brother have? (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 4 May 2017.)

Marist Brother 'Romuald' Cable, already jailed, is facing more charges

A few years ago, Broken Rites helped to obtain justice for schoolboys who were sexually assaulted by Marist Brother Francis William Cable (also known as "Brother Romuald") in Catholic schools in New South Wales. During Brother Romuald's life of crime, his Marist colleagues and superiors looked the other way, protecting him from the police and giving him access to more victims. Eventually, some of his victims (acting separately) began to contact Broken Rites and/or the New South Wales Police, instead of merely telling Romuald Cable's church colleagues. NSW Police detectives then found some more of his victims. As a result, "Rom" Cable was jailed in 2015 regarding 19 of his victims. On 27 April 2017, Francis Cable (now 84) appeared in court (by video-link from jail), charged with 16 additional offences (indecent assault) committed against five more victims, aged 13-14, between 1971 and 1974. These charges will come up in Newcastle Local Court again during 2017 while Cable remains in jail. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 May 2017.)

This priest (a child molester) died in a sex cubicle at a gay club

The Catholic Church sheltered Father John Stockdale for 31 years in parishes in northern Victoria, Australia, while he committed sexual crimes against boys. Parishioners complained about Father Stockdale being a danger to children but these warnings were ignored. The church "just didn't want to know" about Stockdale, victims say. Publicly, Father Stockdale upheld the strict morality which the church imposed on all lay Catholics. Privately, Father Stockdale was going to a gay club to have casual sex. On New Year's Eve in 1995, Fr Stockdale was found dead in a sex cubicle at the "Club 80" gay venue in Melbourne. The church then gave him a pious funeral, but (with help from Broken Rites) the church's hypocrisy about Stockdale was soon exposed. In 2017, Broken Rites is doing some further research on Stockdale. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 26 July 2017.)

The church provided a perfect cover for child-abuser Father Kevin Glover

This Broken Rites article reveals how the Catholic Church a harboured a paedophile priest (Father Kevin Glover) for many years, in parishes around Australia, while he committed sexual crimes against children. When his crimes became known in one parish, the church merely transferred him to another parish. Now, in 2017, lawyers are preparing to tackle the Catholic Church authorities for compensation on behalf of three people who say they were sexually abused by Father Glover in Western Australia in the 1960s and 1970s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 19 July 2017.)

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