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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


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. Now, in 2017, he is facing new charges involving additional alleged victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 May 2017.)

A NSW priest in court on child-sex charges from the late 1990s

Father Barry Tunks, 76, who was once the Vicar-General of the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese in New South Wales, appeared in Forster Local Court (on the NSW mid-north coast) on 5 April 2017 to face historic child-sex charges. This was a brief preliminary procedure, for the charges to be officially filed with a magistrate. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 5 April 2017.)

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, article updated 1 May 2017.)

Priest and teachers charged with abusing girls at an Aboriginal mission

Three elderly men (a priest and two teachers), who formerly worked at a Catholic Aboriginal mission in Western Australia, have been ordered to appear in court during 2017, charged with sexually abusing young girls at the mission during the 1960s. The charges were laid in May 2017 by W.A. Child-Abuse Squad detectives after Australia's national Child-Abuse Royal Commission had private interviews with several women who had lived at the mission as children. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 10 May 2017.)

The Royal Commission helps to expose the culture of cover-up: An example

Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission has been given information about a senior Marist Brother (Brother Kevin Hopson, also known as Brother "Crispin" Hopson) who taught (sometimes as the head Brother) in Marist schools in New South Wales and Canberra. The Royal Commission has been told that, at one of Hopson's schools, he harboured a paedophile Brother (Gregory Sutton) who was committing sex-crimes against young students. And another ex-student has told the Royal Commission that Brother "Crispin" Hopson himself was a danger to boys. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated  1 April 2017.)

Former Marist schoolboys allege assaults, 40 years ago, by a Brother now aged 89

Marist Brother Lawrence Fitzpatrick (who was known in the Marists as Brother "Majella" Fitzpatrick) worked for many years as a teacher and administrator in Catholic schools in Melbourne and regional Victoria. On 10 March 2017, he appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, aged 89, charged with 99 sexual offences, allegedly committed against at least 18 children between 1971 and 1976 while he was working at St Patrick's College, Sale, in eastern Victoria. The charges include 38 counts of buggery (some against children under 14) and other charges of indecent assault. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 23 March 2017.)

A school removes the name of a Christian Brother from one of its buildings

Some victims of Catholic Church sex abuse are forcing the church authorities to stop honouring a particular priest or religious brother because of sex-abuse allegations. In the latest example, a prominent Brisbane Catholic boys’ school (St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace) has removed the name of a former deputy headmaster (Brother C.L. Dillon) from one of its buildings. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 1 April 2017.)

Christian Brother Peter Lennox is to face a court trial on charges from 40 years ago

For several decades, Christian Brother Peter Nicholas Lennox worked in various Catholic schools in Sydney and in regional New South Wales. Now aged 76 (and retired), he is facing charges in court regarding sexual offences, allegedly committed against boys at two of those schools in the early 1970s. A church defence lawyer claimed in court that Lennox is "too unfit" to undergo a trial. However, the court will merely grant a delay and therefore the trial (case number 2014/00331685) is being re-scheduled to go ahead on a future date. Meanwhile, the police investigators are still interested in any further information. (Article updated 9 March 2017.)

BACKGROUND: The church helped Father Brian Spillane in his life of crime

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about the paedophile priest Brian Joseph Spillane -- and how the Catholic Church enabled him to commit his sexual crimes against children. Father Spillane's victims were mostly boys who were assaulted while he ministered at St Stanislaus College — a Catholic day and boarding secondary school for boys, in Bathurst, New South Wales. And he assaulted girls in parishes elsewhere. Spillane (now aged 74) has recently completed a series of separate criminal trials, resulting in multiple convictions. Spillane is already in jail regarding the girls. On 16 February 2017, a court gave him an additional jail sentence regarding the boys. And it is possible that more of Spillane's victims may obtain justice later. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 February 2017.)

Background article: The Christian Brothers ignored the crimes of Brother Robert Best, thus helping him to commit more crimes against more children

This Broken Rites article explains how the Catholic Church harboured Brother Robert Charles Best in Australia for many years while he committed crimes (including buggery) against young schoolboys. Colleagues of Brother Best knew about his crimes but covered up for him, a court has been told. Brother Best is already in jail but, despite his crimes, he is still being accepted by the Christian Brothers as a member of their Order. That is, this convicted criminal is still officially "Brother" Best. More of Brother Best's victims are still contacting Victoria's child-protection police, and on 2 March 2017 a court sentenced Best to more time in jail after he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a further 20 of his victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 2 March 2017.)

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.)

A Marist Brother was charged with attempted buggery of a Sydney schoolboy

In 1974, Marist Brother Luke Leslie Garfield Saker was teaching at a Marist college in Auburn in Sydney's inner-west. Forty years later, in 2014, he was charged by police with sexual offences allegedly committed in 1974 against a 16-year-old boy, who was a student at the Auburn school. However, Saker died in 2016 — before the court process finished. Police believe that this boy was not Saker's only victim, but his other victims have failed to report Saker's crimes to the police. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 28 February 2017.)

The Jesuits covered up for an abusive Brother and merely moved him to another school

Jesuit priests and brothers operate some of Australia's most prominent schools, with famous ex-students such as former prime minister Tony Abbott. After Brother Victor Higgs committed sexual offences against boys at one of these schools (St Ignatius College, Adelaide), the Jesuits kept Brother Higgs as a member of the Jesuit Order and moved him to their famous Sydney school (St Ignatius College Riverview). One of the Adelaide victims finally reported Brother Higgs to the South Australian police and, in 2016, Higgs was jailed for some of his Adelaide offences. Now, in 2017, Higgs is being prosecuted by New South Wales police regarding alleged offences by Brother Higgs while he was at the Sydney school. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 24 February 2017.)

One of Australia's leading Christian Brothers is sent to jail

Christian Brother Terence Patrick Aquinas Kingston had a 40-year career as a teacher and administrator in Australian Catholic schools — and at one stage he was the leader of the Christian Brothers for the whole of Queensland and the Northern Territory. In the 1970s he was the headmaster of a residential school for boys in north Queensland. Many of this school's pupils came from remote (including indigenous) families across northern Australia. In the Brisbane District Court on 31 January 2017, Kingston (now retired, aged 79) was jailed for sexual offences committed against seven boys at this school. He pleaded guilty. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 February 2017)

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.)

JAILED: The Christian Brothers sheltered Brother David Standen while he damaged these vulnerable young lives

A prominent Catholic educator, Christian Brother William Peter ("David") Standen, was the principal at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral College for a decade before he retired in 2010. During his career he also spent six years as the deputy principal at St Dominic's College, Penrith, in Sydney's outer-west. On 10 June 2016, Standen was jailed for indecently assaulting vulnerable young boys at one of his earlier schools (a Catholic boarding school in south-western New South Wales between 1977 and 1981). These boys were aged 10, 11 or 12, feeling isolated and homesick in their first year away from their rural families. The Catholic Church sheltered Brother Standen during these crimes, putting the boys in danger. Overwhelmed by the church's "holy" image, the victims were forced to remain silent about the crimes for many years. Some of the victims have told the court how this cover-up damaged their later lives, ending up in family break-ups and/or life-long struggles with drug and/or alcohol abuse and damaged careers. This Broken Rites article includes a link to a video showing how this case began when detectives arrested Standen at Sydney airport in August 2014. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

The church concealed Christian Brother Neil Richards' crimes; now he is jailed again

Catholic Church authorities knew for years about Christian Brother Desmond Eric ("Neil") Richards' sexual crimes against schoolboys in New South Wales but the crimes were concealed from the police (and from the public). Eventually, Richards was transferred to Rome (away from the NSW police) but NSW detectives arrested him when he returned to Australia in 2013. Richards was jailed in Sydney in 2014 for some of his crimes. On 16 December 2016 (aged in his mid-seventies), he was sentenced to additional time in jail after more of his victims contacted the NSW detectives. Richards pleaded guilty regarding all these victims. Other victims of Richards have remained silent but it is still possible for them to speak to the detectives; therefore, the investigation is continuing in 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

The Jesuits acknowledge some complaints about abuse at Melbourne's Xavier College

One of Australia's most "prestigious" Catholic schools — Melbourne's Xavier College, conducted by the Jesuit priests — has publicly acknowledged that some former students have complained about having been indecently handled during their time at the school.

The church keeps a priest after a payout to an ex-pupil

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.

This priest was touching children from Day One, a court is told

West Victorian Catholic priest Father Bryan Desmond Coffey was indecently touching young children soon after taking his vows of celibacy, a court has been told. Broken Rites has researched the following account from statements and submissions made in court.

The church finally admits the crimes of Fr Patrick Cusack

After action by Broken Rites, the Catholic Church has been forced to admit that a "highly respected" priest, Father Patrick Cusack, committed sexual crimes against primary school girls in the Canberra-Goulburn archdiocese during many years. During his priestly career, Cusack was protected by the church's code of silence about clergy sexual abuse. But, after his death, so many Cusack victims came forward that the church finally had to acknowledge the priest's crimes.

Broken Rites helped two female victims to gain an apology

The Catholic Church in Australia has apologised to two women for child-abuse committed by an archbishop’s uncle. The Broken Rites victim support group helped the two women to obtain the apology. The two women, who do not know each other, were sexually assaulted as children by Brother Brendan George Carroll, who was a senior member of the Catholic teaching order of De La Salle Brothers. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

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.

Marist Brothers said they don't have a duty of care to their victims

The Marist Brothers' lawyers have claimed that Catholic religious orders do not owe a duty of care to protect pupils from sexually-abusive religious Brothers, because (unlike lay teachers who are employed on salaries) the Brothers are not, technically, "employees". 

Marist Brother "Kostka" Chute (aged 84) in court again, as a result of the Royal Commission

This Broken Rites article tells how the Marist Brothers harboured a child-sex offender (Brother John William Chute) throughout his long career, giving him wide access to Australian Catholic schoolchildren. Broken Rites has ascertained that the Marist Brothers appointed Chute (whose religious name is "Brother Kostka") to at least 12 Catholic schools in Australia between 1952 and 1993, ranging from Lismore in northern New South Wales to Marcellin College in Randwick, Sydney, as well as at least one school in Queensland. His final school was Marist College in Canberra, and it was some Canberra pupils who finally got him convicted and jailed in 2008. However, this Canberra court case was confined to crimes committed within the Australian Capital Territory. Since then, more of Chute's former Canberra students have spoken to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission (and also to the A.C.T. police), alleging more offences by "Kostka" Chute in Canberra; and therefore a Canberra magistrate has ordered Chute to face a trial in 2017 on these additional charges. The Marists' lawyers are trying to cancel the 2017 trial, claiming that Brother Chute (now aged 84) is too unfit to enter a plea. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 January 2017.)

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.)

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