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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


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

For years, the Catholic order of Vincentian priests covered up the criminal behaviour of Father Murray Wilson. Wilson died mysteriously at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst NSW. Eventually, with help from Broken Rites, the Vincentians were forced to apologise to a Victorian schoolboy who was raped by Father Wilson in Sydney. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

A priest admitted abusing a child but the church covered up this offence for 50 years

One way in which the Catholic Church has traditionally covered up its sex-abuse crimes is by not revealing any written record about complaints. But in 2013, prominent Australian journalist Geraldine Willesee forced the Perth archdiocese to release a 1963 letter which reveals that a priest (Father Brian Gerard Harris) admitted abusing her when she was a pupil in his custody, aged 14, at a Catholic school in Perth. The priest's admission indicates that he was committing a possible criminal offence but the church managed to conceal this information from the police. The church allowed Father Harris to continue as a priest and it successfully concealed Father Harris's admission for 50 years until 2013. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

How Father Farrell's crimes (and the church's cover-up) were exposed in court — and he faces more charges in 2017

This Broken Rites article summarises the court proceedings against John Joseph Farrell (also known as "Father F"). The court process continued from 2012 until he was sentenced in 2016. 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. These were not Farrell's only victims — Farrell is currently scheduled to appear in court again in 2017 regarding several more children from the 1980s. And other children from the 1980s have not yet spoken to the NSW Police detectives. This Broken Rites article includes some additional charges which are to come up in court in 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 February 2017.).

The Marist Brothers covered up Brother Gerard Rush's crimes but now he is in jail

The Marist Brothers leadership in Australia knew that Brother Michael Gerard Rush had 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 (now aged 76) was jailed 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 4 January 2017.)

The De La Salle Brothers had a sex-abuser to recruit new Brothers

For 25 years, the Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers had a sex-offender (Brother Fintan Dwyer) as their "vocations director", recruiting Australian teenagers to become trainee Brothers. His story is an interesting case-study in how the church came to have sex-offenders within its religious orders.

Victims of Father Gannon defeated a cover-up, with help from Broken Rites

The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese ignored the child-sex crimes of Father Desmond Gannon throughout his long career. This cover-up ended in 1993 when the newly-formed Broken Rites group began encouraging church-victims to consult the Victoria Police sex-crimes squad. In 1995 this resulted in a jail sentence for Gannon (and public embarrassment for Archbishop Frank Little, who was soon replaced by Archbishop George Pell). Altogether, Gannon has been sentenced five times (in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2009) for sexual crimes against children. But the Catholic Church did not totally strip Gannon of his priestly status until 2012, when the church hierarchy became alarmed about the launching of Victoria's parliamentary investigation into church-related child sex-abuse. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Sydney priest is jailed for at least five years for child-sex crimes

Father Robert James Hickman became a Catholic priest in Sydney in the 1970s. As well as working in parishes, he was also a chaplain for Sydney's deaf community. In Sydney's Parramatta District Court on 9 December 2016, Hickman (now aged 71) was jailed for a minimum of five years for child-sex offences. (Article updated 6 January 2017)

This priest, jailed in 2003, is now facing court on new charges

Catholic priest Father Adrian van Klooster started his priestly career in New South Wales but was transferred to Western Australia, where he was jailed in 2003 for sexual crimes against W.A. children. After van Klooster's bad publicity, the Catholic Church chose not to appoint him to any more parishes. In 2017, Adrian van Klooster is due to appear in court again in W.A., charged with recent child pornography offences. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 January 2017.)

This senior priest became the deputy to a bishop, now he is facing another sentencing

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 February 2015 he was jailed again regarding another victim (from the 1980s). Detectives continued their investigation, and in 2016 they charged Cattell regarding yet another victim (from the 1970s), for which Cattell (now aged 75) is awaiting a sentence hearing in 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 4 January 2017.)

The church is forced to apologise to a woman victim

An Australian "celibate" Catholic priest, Father Thomas Knowles, sexually targeted a vulnerable 19-year-old woman (Jennifer) who was suffering from a physical disability - and he entangled her in a secret sexual relationship for next 14 years. Now, in 2016, the church has been forced to offer Jennifer a written apology for this sexual abuse. On Sunday 4 December 2016, this apology was publicly read out to the congregation by a church leader during Mass at the prominent St Francis's church in central Melbourne. Thomas Knowles was formerly a priest at this parish. (By a Broken Rites researcher, 4 December 2016.)

A former Marist Brother's court case is postponed

In Sydney's Downing Centre District Court in November 2016, a jury trial began for a former Marist Brother, Brett Anthony O'Connor, who is charged with committing child-sex offences while he was working as a dormitory master at two Sydney boys' schools — St Joseph's College in Hunters Hill (in 1987) and St Gregory's College in Campbelltown (in 1989). However, for legal reasons, the court has decided to postpone the trial until 2017, with a fresh jury. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 5 December 2016.)

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, article updated 7 February 2017.)

Father Vincent Kiss and his life of crime

An Australian Catholic priest, Father Vincent Kiss, has admitted that he committed sexual crimes on boys while he was working as the Director of Youth for his diocese. He plied the boys with alcohol, drove them around in fast cars and took them on holidays, where he sexually abused them. Later he became prominent in Australian social circles. Broken Rites is doing further research about Vincent Kiss and his priestly mates.

How the paedophile Father Denis McAlinden was inflicted on Australian children

Research by Broken Rites has revealed that the Catholic Church knowingly harboured the paedophile priest Father Denis McAlinden for 40 years, thus inflicting him on young girls in parishes around Australia and also overseas. The church has been paying small out-of-court settlements to some of McAlinden's victims, thus avoiding a larger court-based settlement. In November 2016, two sisters began to sue the Catholic Church in the New South Wales Supreme Court for a proper amount to settle their abuse by McAlinden. At the last moment, the church agreed to pay these two women a confidential out-of-court financial settlement, thus preventing the church's other victims from knowing the size of a court-related settlement. This Broken Rites article explains the background about Fr Denis McAlinden and the church's cover-up. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 23 November 2016.)

The church hid the crimes of Brother Ted Dowlan (alias Ted Bales) — but Broken Rites helped to expose this cover-up

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Christian Brothers organisation concealed the crimes of Brother Edward Dowlan (now known as Ted Bales). From the start, the Christian Brothers knew that Dowlan was committing criminal sexual assaults against Australian schoolchildren but, instead of dismissing him, the Christian Brothers kept transferring him to more schools, thus giving him access to more victims. His victims were usually aged about 11 or 12 but some were as young as 8 or 9. In the 1990s, when some victims finally reported him to the police, the Christian Brothers supported Dowlan and tried to defeat the victims. The victims eventually won by getting him jailed in 1996 and again in 2015. Prosecutors considered Dowlan's 2015 jail sentence to be inadequate, so they lodged an appeal and gained a longer jail term. Many of Brother Dowlan's victims have had their lives damaged by the church's cover-up — and several of his victims ended up in suicide. Some other Dowlan victims have not yet contacted the detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Melbourne church man in court on child-sex charges

Paul Chris Pavlou, now aged 57, has held positions in the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese. After experience as a teacher, he became a member of the Catholic Church's order of Salesian Brothers, working in a Catholic school in Melbourne's east. When he was aged in his forties, he was accepted by the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese as a mature-age entrant for the priesthood and did his priestly training at the church's Melbourne seminary. After being ordained as a priest during 2004, Father Paul Pavlou ministered for a while in parishes at Croydon and Healesville in Melbourne's east. He no longer holds any position in parishes. On 11 November 2016, Paul Chris Pavlou appeared in a Melbourne court, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed between 2003 and 2004. (Article updated on 12 November 2016.)

These three victims forced the Marist Brothers to apologise

The leaders of Australia's Marist Brothers have apologised to three ex-pupils of a very senior Marist, who was known as Brother Bertinus. These three ex-pupils went to different schools (in different Australian states) and they do not know each other. In a co-incidence, two of the three have each written a book in which each describes his encounter with Brother Bertinus. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 23 December 2016.)

How the church authorities tried to protect a child-abuser, Brother Rodger Moloney

This Broken Rites article shows how a Catholic religious order, the St John of God Brothers, has paid big money to lawyers, trying to defend an Australian child-abuser, Brother Rodger William Moloney. And the order has said that it will continue protecting him permanently. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

What did George Pell know about these paedophiles when he was climbing the career ladder as the archbishop of Melbourne?

Since 1993, Broken Rites has been doing research about how Melbourne's Catholic bishops harboured a number of sexually-abusive priests. In the mid-1990s, Broken Rites began exposing these priests. Now some of these priests, from the Broken Rites list, are being investigated by Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. The Royal Commission is examining what Cardinal George Pell knew about these priests when he was a member of the church leadership in Melbourne from 1987 to 2001. This article points you to the original Broken Rites research about each of these priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A NSW priest is scheduled for a second trial over child-sex charges

A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 68, is scheduled to face a second trial in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed against three young boys in the 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 16 November 2016.)

Christian Brother L.C. McAllen abused Sydney schoolboys

Some Australian men, now advancing in age, are still feeling the injustice of having been abused by Christian Brother L.C. McAllen when they were primary-school pupils in Sydney many years ago. McAllen died in 1965, but he has not been forgotten (or forgiven) by his victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 21 October 2016.)

Christian Brother Obbens is jailed — he abused homesick boys in a boarding school

Christian Brother William John Obbens (also known as Brother "Dominic" Obbens), aged 70, was jailed on 13 October 2016 after he admitted indecently assaulting three boys (aged 11 to 13) who were under his authority in a boarding school. The offences occurred in the late 1980s at the former St Patrick's College (now called Trinity College) in Goulburn, south-western New South Wales, where Obbens was a teacher and a boarding master. According to court documents, Obbens preyed on the boarders’ homesickness to sexually abuse the boys. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 October 2016)

The Christian Brothers covered up this 1989 case involving Brother Obbens but Broken Rites exposed it

For several years, Broken Rites has been doing research about Christian Brother William John Obbens (known as Brother "Dominic" Obbens), who was convicted in court in 1989 for sexually abusing a boy (let's call him "Gus") at St Patrick’s College, Goulburn, in south-western New South Wales. The Christian Brothers covered-up the crime and the 1989 court case. They did not tell the school's students or parents about it and did not ask if any victims needed help. "Gus" (and several other victims from the same school) went on to have a damaged adult life. Gradually, each of these families contacted Broken Rites, and this article began to take shape, with occasional updates. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 13 October 2016.)

Christian Brothers harboured this criminal, Brother Chris Roberts, but now he is in jail

This Broken Rites article is about how the Christian Brothers sheltered Brother John Vincent ("Chris") Roberts while he was a danger to boys throughout his long teaching career in Sydney, Canberra and regional New South Wales. The Christian Brothers paid small amounts of compensation to silence some of Brother Roberts' early victims. Eventually, a different victim spoke to NSW Police detectives and therefore, on 30 September 2016, Roberts (aged 74) was jailed regarding this victim. Other victims of Roberts have not yet spoken to the detectives but are still entitled to do so. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 October 2016.)

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. But these 14 are not Claffey's only victims. Broken Rites knows of other Claffey victims who have not exercised their right to consult the detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 October 2016.)

Marist Brother "Dominic" O'Sullivan is jailed in New South Wales

A Marist Brother, Darcy John O'Sullivan (also known as "Brother Dominic"), was jailed in September 2016 after he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting boys while he was teaching in Catholic schools in northern New South Wales in the 1970s and '80s. He was a teacher at Marist Brothers in Hamilton (Newcastle) and was later a principal at St Mary's High School in Casino (on the NSW north coast). Meanwhile, Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission held a public hearing in Newcastle in early September 2016 to examine how the Marist Brothers organisation harboured offenders such as O'Sullivan. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 October 2016.)

A Maronite Catholic priest is jailed in Sydney regarding a 2005 alleged assault

Often, people remain silent for many years before exercising their right to contact the police regarding allegations of church sexual abuse but in January 2014 Sydney police charged a Catholic priest regarding an incident that allegedly occurred relatively recently — in 2005 (an alleged offence against a 15-year-old boy). The priest belongs to the Maronite Catholic Church under the St Maroun diocese which has several parishes in Sydney. On 4 October 2016 at Sydney's Campbelltown District Court, the priest was jailed (at the age of 40) after being convicted of indecently assaulting the 15-year-old boy. (Article updated on 10 October 2016.)

ABC television "7.30" program examines the church cover-up of Father Farrell

The ABC television "7.30" program (on Monday 19 September 2016) had a story about the child-abuse Royal Commission's public hearing re the Father John Farrell case (and the role of church official Father Brian Lucas). The Broken Rites team helped the ABC with research for this "7.30" item. A link to the ABC video is given at the end of this Broken Rites article. (Article updated by a Broken Rites researcher, 20 September 2016.)

A retired priest is charged on NSW mid-north coast

In late September 2016, New South Wales police (from the state's mid-north coast) charged a retired Catholic priest with child-sexual assaults, allegedly committed against a boy between 1999 and 2006. Following investigations, the 69-year-old retired priest was arrested in Port Macquarie. (Article posted by a Broken Rites researcher, 1 October 2016.)

Suicide #1: How the church destroyed the life of altar boy Damian Jurd in northern NSW

In the late 1990s, the Catholic Church paid a small amount to a former altar boy, Damian Jurd, to settle his complaint about having been sexually abused (at the age of 11) by a local priest, Father John Joseph Farrell (sometimes referred to as "Father F"). Damian said his life had been disrupted by this abuse and by the way the church protected Father Farrell. At the age of 28 (not long after this settlement), Damian took his own life, leaving two children of his own. This Broken Rites article gives some more information about Damian's tragic life. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 September 2016.)

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