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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


An ex-Marist Brother in court on child-sex charges from the 1960s

In 1960 at the age of 17, Joseph William Weygood began training in Victoria to become a Marist Brother. In those years, the Marists gave each new recruit a religious name, so Joseph Weygood became known to pupils as "Brother Cyril", although he later changed his name to "Brother Joseph". He taught during the 1960s (as a Brother) at Catholic schools in Victoria and South Australia. In the 1970s, he ceased being a Marist Brother and later worked as a lay teacher (Mister Weygood) in schools elsewhere in Australia and overseas. In 2019, aged 77, Joseph Weygood faced court in Adelaide, charged with child-sexual abuse relating to his time in South Australia in the 1960s. He contested the charges.On 24 January 2020, a judge ruled that, despite evidence about brutality and cruelty, there was not sufficient to convict Weygood on sexual charges. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 January 2020.)

This priest (the deputy to a bishop) is jailed for the third time

In the 1970s and 1980s, Father Richard Cattell was a Catholic priest in western Sydney, where he committed sexual crimes against boys. In the early 1990s, the Catholic Church promoted Cattell to become the Vicar-General of the Parramatta diocese, supervising 48 parishes in western Sydney on behalf of the bishop. Eventually, several of Cattell's victims spoke (separately) to the police, so Cattell was jailed in 1994 and again in 2015 and again on 26 July 2019. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 August 2019.)

A Catholic Brother is due for a court trial in 2020 regarding Monivae College, western Victoria

An elderly Catholic religious Brother (John David Frith) appeared in court in Melbourne in 2019, charged with offences allegedly committed some years ago against boys at a Catholic secondary school — Monivae College, situated at Hamilton in western Victoria, 290 kilometres from Melbourne.

Church documents show that this priest was an abuser. But the church kept giving him access to children

Broken Rites has inspected some church documents which show that Father Kevin Wright committed sexual crimes against children during his 42 years as a Catholic priest in New South Wales parishes. The documents indicate that Wright's bishop knew about Wright being a danger to children but, despite this, Wright was allowed to continue in the ministry, giving him priestly access to more children in more parishes. His victims included girls and boys; these children were as young as nine years. His victims (now adults) indicate that, using his church status, Fr Wright would invasively handle the genital area of a boy or a girl; and sometimes he would insert his penis into a child's mouth or anus. Victims of Fr Wright now say (as adults) that they are still feeling hurt by the church abuse which has damaged their lives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 July 2019)

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.)

It is never too late to have a chat with the detectives, as this case proves

This court case is an example of how it is possible for victims of church child-abuse to get their perpetrator convicted many years after the abuse. In the 1970s, Marist Brother John Skehan had multiple victims in Catholic schools in New South Wales and Victoria. Forty years later, one victim got Brother Skehan convicted in a New South Wales court in 2010 and another victim scored a similar victory over Skehan (aged 75) in a Victorian court in 2014. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A young female victim defeats the church's lawyers, with help from Broken Rites

If a victim of clergy sexual abuse wishes to sue the Catholic Church for damages, the victim’s chances of success are much greater if he/she can demonstrate that the church knew previously that the offender was a sexual abuser. It is usually difficult for the victim to prove this. This Broken Rites article is an example of a case in which the church could not evade its liability. In early 2007, a 23-year-old woman ("Emily") won a victory over the Catholic Church’s lawyers. Emily forced the church to pay her a substantial civil settlement for having had her life damaged by a Catholic priest, Father Kevin Howarth, in Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A priest is charged regarding alleged incidents in Sydney in 1993

In 2019, New South Wales police have charged a Catholic priest (Father Ron Peters) with having indecently assaulted a schoolboy in Sydney in 1993 (this was before Ron Peters became a priest). Ronald Peters (born in 1958) has written about how he was originally a Brother in the Catholic teaching order of Patrician Brothers in NSW (in the 1980s and 1990s). Early in the 2000s, he was accepted by the Wollongong diocese (south of Sydney) as a trainee priest and, after training as a deacon in parishes, he was finally ordained as a priest for this diocese in 2005. The indecent-assault charge is due to have a preliminary mention in court in mid-2019. (Article updated 10 July 2019.)

A Sydney priest is serving a five-year jail sentence for child-sex crimes

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father Robert James Hickman, who 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 (these disadvantaged people were especially in danger of being abused). In Sydney's Parramatta District Court on 9 December 2016, Hickman (then aged 71) was jailed for a minimum of five years for child-sex offences. Since then, Broken Rites has found additional victims of Father Hickman. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 August 2019,.)

One of Australia's leading Christian Brothers has been jailed after pleading guilty

Christian Brother Terence Patrick Aquinas Kingston had a 40-year career as a teacher and administrator in Australian Catholic boys' schools — and he became one of the leaders of the Christian Brothers in Australia. Meanwhile, he was committing sexual offences against schoolboys. As usual in Catholic Church crimes, his victims suffered in silence throughout their childhood but eventually (when aged in their fifties) several of them spoke to police investigators, and this resulted in Kingston being sentenced to jail in two states (in Queensland in 2017 and in New South Wales in 2019). The charges involved a total of eight victims, and Kingston pleaded guilty regarding all of these. These eight victims were not necessarily his only victims; the eight were merely those who helped the police. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 2 July 2019)

The church keeps a priest after a payout to a victim

A former Australian Catholic bishop has confirmed that he appointed a priest (Father Guy Hartcher) to administer a parish after the church had paid a $40,000 settlement involving the priest. The payout went to a former pupil, on condition that he did not tell the police about the alleged abuse. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church covered up the crimes of Father Daniel Lyne

The Catholic religious order of Passionist priests covered up for a serious child-abuser, Father Daniel Lyne, while he committed sexual crimes against teenage boys who were aspiring to become a Catholic priest. In 2002, while Daniel Lyne was facing the likelihood of a criminal prosecution, he suddenly died — just in time, before court proceedings could begin. Thus, he evaded a possible jail sentence. Daniel Lyne's fellow-priests are remaining silent about his crimes. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The Marist Brothers harboured this criminal while he abused children

Brother Colgan Taylor had an exalted role as a "spiritual director" for the Catholic order of Marist Brothers in Australia while he was committing sexual crimes against young children. The reverend brother's Catholic status gave him access to children and it protected him from exposure until 2002, when police finally learned of sexual crimes that Taylor had committed, more than 20 years earlier, against two very young girls. It is possible that he also had male victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Fr Emanuel Spiteri left Australia but continued to be a priest 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. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church concealed the crimes of Father Vincent Ryan, helping him to commit more crimes on more children

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders knowingly protected a pedophile priest, 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. On 22 May 2019, a court sentenced Ryan (aged 81) to additional jail time for two more of his victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 22 May 2019.)

Does the public have a right to know?

In court in late 2012, a Catholic religious Brother (Br Martin Harmata, of the Patrician Brothers order) was charged with sexually abusing children at a school in Sydney's west (Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown). The question arose about whether Brother Harmata could be granted a media-suppression order. (This would prevent the public — and any other victims — from learning Harmata's name and the name of the school.) However, the suppression order was removed. Thus, the people of Sydney have been allowed to learn about this case. (Article by a Broken Rites 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.

These victims, now in their fifties, bring an offender to justice after 36 years

A former teacher, Kevin Wilmore Myers, now aged 73, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 11 June 2019, charged with having committed sexual offences against a number of boys at a Catholic secondary college in south-western Victoria in the early 1960s. Myers is pleading guilty. The magistrate placed a non-publication order on the name of the school in order to protect the privacy of the victims, who are now aged in their fifties. This order can be reviewed when Myers returns to court for sentencing. Former students allege that, in the 1960s, the school covered up the Myers problem. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 12 June 2019.)

Marist Brother Malcolm Hall died during prosecution for child-sex crimes

In the 1950s and 1960s, prominent Marist Brother Malcolm Hall was sexually abusing boys and girls in four country towns around Australia. Today, half a century later, his victims still feel hurt by the offences and by the Catholic Church's cover-up. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A priest is convicted in 2019 for a crime committed 54 years ago

A 2019 court case has proved that, under Australian law, it is never to late for any child-assault victim to report the crime to the child-protection police.  In 1965, Catholic priest Allan John Mithen (then aged 25) twice indecently assaulted an Aboriginal girl while he was in charge of a West Australian institution for Aboriginal children who had been taken from their families. In the West Australian District Court on 15 January 2019, Father Mithen (by then aged 80) pleaded guilty to these two assaults and was convicted. Mithen had also worked as a priest in Sydney and Melbourne and possibly elsewhere. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 29 July 2019.)

Christian Brother Peter Toomey pleads guilty regarding child-sex offences

Brother Peter John Toomey has been a member of the Christian Brothers Order since joining it in 1967 at the age of 18. He began a long career, teaching boys in various Catholic schools in Melbourne and regional towns. Many years later, after they became adults, some of these former students reported Toomey to the Victoria Police sex-crime detectives for committing indecent assaults. In 2005, Toomey was jailed regarding ten of his victims. In 2017, Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission received further complaints from Toomey's former students; and the Royal Commission advised these victims to speak to the detectives. In May 2019, Toomey was convicted again after pleading guilty regarding two more of his victims. . (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 8 May 2019)

The crimes of this Franciscan Brother were covered up

The Australian headquarters of the Franciscans (the Order of Friars Minor) have been forced to acknowledge that Brother Paschal Bartlett was a child-abuser. This Brother joined the Franciscan Order in the 1920s, moving through parishes in Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand and Sydney. He supervised altar boys for almost 50 years in these parishes, exploiting his position of authority to sexually abuse them. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Inside story: Broken Rites knew about these two abusive priests

In 1993, Broken Rites Australia began researching sexually-abusive Catholic priests, including Fr Ronald Pickering and Fr John Stockdale. Eighteen years later, in September 2011, another clergyman (Archbishop John Hepworth) revealed in the media that Pickering and Stockdale were among three priests who sexually abused him, beginning in 1960 when he was aged 15. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Christian Brother is jailed in 2019 for offences he committed 40 years ago

For several decades, Christian Brother Peter Nicholas Lennox worked in various Catholic schools in Sydney and in regional New South Wales. In a Sydney court on 29 March 2019, he was jailed for sexual crimes which he committed against boys at two of those schools in the 1970s — at Christian Brothers in Manly (now known as St Paul's Catholic College) and at St Patrick's College in Goulburn (now known as Trinity Catholic College). After Lennox finishes this jail term, the prosecutors intend to bring him to court again regarding some additional charges. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 29 March 2019)

A classic cover-up, putting more children in danger

Research by Broken Rites Australia has found how the Catholic Church covered up sexual abuse by a religious Brother at a church school in Queensland. The cover-up enabled the offender to attack more victims.

The Christian Brothers pay a settlement to an ex-pupil in Sydney

The Christian Brothers organisation in Australia has signed a civil settlement with a former pupil of Christian Brothers College at Manly (in Sydney), who attended this school as a 13-year-old boy about 1973.  According to the settlement deed, this ex-pupil alleged that he was “unlawfully assaulted by Brother Peter N. Lennox, the principal of the school".

The church has made payments to settle these 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. The 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 1 June 2019.)

Ex-students complain about Catholic clergy at this Salesian college

Former students of a Catholic boys' school in South Australia (Salesian College, Brooklyn Park, Adelaide) have complained that at least three senior priests at this school between the 1960s and the 1980s were child abusers. The abuse happened under the noses of the Melbourne-based national headquarters of this Catholic religious order, the "Salesians of Don Bosco". (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Victims of this priest obtained justice after 36 years

Victims of this priest were intimidated into silence but now they obtain justice after 36 years. Father Gregory Laurence Ferguson, of the Marist Fathers, who was jailed on 15 May 2007 for offences against two boys aged 13 at a Tasmanian boarding school, was given an additional jail sentence on 13 December 2007 for offences against a third boy. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 April 2019.)

A priest, now 84, is jailed for two years for crimes committed 50 years ago

Two former schoolboys (both now aged in their sixties) have finally brought a Catholic priest to justice in Australia for crimes that he committed on them more than 50 years ago. On 19 December 2018, Father Thomas Fulcher (now aged 84) was jailed for a minimum of two years after pleading guilty to these crimes. After committing a sexual assault, Father Fulcher would even force a child to undergo the sacred ritual of Confession, in which the child would be committed to "secrecy" regarding the incident. Father Fulcher, who is still officially a priest (in retirement), is a member of a Catholic religious order (the Society of Mary) which has branches around Australia. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

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