Latest stories

Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


Background article: Disabled boys were abused in a Catholic institution in NSW

One of Australia’s Catholic religious orders – the St John of God Brothers – has specialised in accommodating boys who have an educational (or intellectual) disability. One of these institutions was the "Kendall Grange" boys' home in Morriset, near Newcastle in New South Wales. This Broken Rites article is about Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath, who committed crimes against disabled victims in Australia and New Zealand. McGrath has already served jail terms in both countries, and on 16 February 2018 (aged 70) he was given another jail sentence for more of his Australian crimes. He will be aged 88 before his earliest release date in 2035. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 28 May 2018.)

Fr Michael Glennon and his life of crime

This Broken Rites article is a concise summary of the criminal career of Father Michael Charles Glennon, a priest in the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese, who was jailed for some (but not all) of his crimes. Thanks to Broken Rites and the Victoria Police, Glennon was facing more criminal charges when he died in jail on New Year's Day in 2014.

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.)

The Christian Brothers sheltered Brother Dave Standen while he damaged these vulnerable young lives

Broken Rites is doing further research about how the Catholic order of Christian Brothers enabled Brother William Peter ("Dave") Standen to commit sexual crimes against boys in a southern New South Wales boarding school between 1977 and 1981. The boys (aged 10, 11 12) were feeling isolated and homesick in their first year as boarders, away from their rural families. Overwhelmed by the church's "holy" image, the boys were forced to remain silent about the crimes for many years. Thirty years later, one of these victims spoke to a NSW Police detective, who then located some more of Brother Standen's victims from this school. These victims have each told how the church's culture of cover-up damaged their later lives, ending up in family break-ups and/or life-long struggles with drug and/or alcohol abuse and disrupted careers. Meanwhile, Brother Standen rose to senior positions in the Christian Brothers, including as a school principal in Sydney. In 2016, a judge sentenced Brother Standen to jail, and now his victims are still trying to repair their lives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 February 2018.)

Jailed: A Catholic Brother committed buggery against a Sydney schoolboy, aged 11

Brother Michael Jeffrey Stanton (who was known in the Patrician Brothers religious order as "Brother Jeffrey") worked in Catholic schools in Sydney and regional New South Wales. On 12 February 2016, when he was aged over 60, he was jailed for sexual crimes committed against an 11-year-old boy at Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown, in Sydney's west. The crimes, including buggery, occurred in 1980 when Brother Jeffrey was in his mid-twenties. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Background article: Father David O'Hearn is in jail and now he faces more charges

During the 1980s and 1890s, Father David Anthony O’Hearn worked in parishes in the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese, north of Sydney. Now he is in jail where he is serving a minimum nine years’ jail for sexual offences against young boys. On 6 March 2018, police visited the jail to charge O'Hearn (now aged 56) with additional offences after one more alleged victim had spoken to detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 March 2018).

A child sex-abuse commissioner hits out at lawyers who attack victim credibility

As shown by Broken Rites research, children who have experienced church sexual abuse have often found it too difficult to tell their parents about it at the time and therefore the abuse remains hidden for many years until the victim reaches adulthood. If a victim reports these crimes to the police many years later, the church's defence lawyer is likely to attack the credibilty of the victim in court. The church lawyer might claim that the victim has only recently invented the complaint. Therefore, it is interesting to read a comment made by Mr Robert Fitzgerald, one of the six commissioners who conducted Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission. Speaking in Sydney on 2 March 2018, Mr Fitzgerald criticised defence lawyers who “mischievously” attack the credibility of abuse victims in court. (Article posted by a Broken Rites researcher, 5 March 2018.)

A pedophile priest from New Zealand was transferred to an Australian parish

In the early 1970s, there were complaints that Catholic priest Max Murray was sexually abusing children in New Zealand. Therefore, his superiors sent him to Australia, where he was allowed to minister to parishioners and school children in Sydney, a New Zealand court has been told. Murray later returned to New Zealand, where he was jailed in 2003 for some of his New Zealand crimes. Despite his jailing, Murray's diocese (in Dunedin, NZ) refused to remove his priestly status. Therefore, he is still "reverend".

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.)

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.)

The crimes of Father Tony Bongiorno in Melbourne

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. 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 versus Anthony and Chrissie Foster: Some background

One of Australia's most notorious paedophile priests, Father Kevin O'Donnell, committed sexual crimes against children throughout his 50-year career in Melbourne Catholic parishes while his superiors and colleagues looked the other way. Eventually some of O'Donnell's victims (with help from Broken Rites) contacted the police and got O'Donnell convicted and jailed. Later, more people came forward with complaints about Father O'Donnell (including Anthony and Chrissie Foster, whose two young daughters encountered O'Donnell in his final parish). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 12 December 2017.)

Three victims finally got this Jesuit convicted, 50 years after the crimes

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father David Rankin, a Catholic priest in the Jesuit religious order, who was jailed in 2014 after pleading guilty to acts of indecency committed against three young boys in Sydney. These particular offences occurred in the 1960s when Rankin was a school teacher (by 1970, he was ordained as a Jesuit priest). These three boys are not Rankin's only victims during his 50-year career; they are merely three who took the opportunity to speak with a New South Wales Police detective. This shows that, even after 50 years, it is never too late to report a child-abuse crime to the child-protection police.(Article updated 11 February 2018.)

The church tells these victims "Oops, sorry, folks" — but the apology is 30 years too late

A Catholic bishop has had to apologise “unreservedly” to former pupils of a school in Sydney's south-west who were sexually abused by a Marist Brother thirty years ago. In a public statement on 5 February 2018, Bishop Peter Ingham admitted that Philip Slattery (a Marist Brother who was the principal of Mary Immaculate Catholic Parish Primary School at Eaglevale between 1986 and 1992) pleaded guilty in a court in December 2017 to committing child-sex offences while he was the principal at the school and he is now serving a prison sentence. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 11 February 2018.)

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. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

How the church concealed Father Terry Pidoto's life of crime: FULL STORY

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church protected Father Terry Pidoto for 25 years while he committed crimes against boys in his parishes. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A 92-year-old Sydney priest in court regarding alleged offences from 40 years ago

An elderly Catholic priest, Father Theodore Arrivoli, who has ministered in many parishes around the Sydney region during the past 60 years, was charged in court on 15 January 2015 (when he was aged 92) regarding alleged sexual assaults (including buggery) against two children near Sydney in the 1970s. However, at a later hearing, the case did not proceed any further at this stage because of the elderly priest's health issues. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

How the church helped this criminal priest, Father Ron Pickering

The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese protected Father Ronald Pickering for many years while he committed crimes against children in his parishes. Eventually he fled from Australia, evading justice. The Melbourne archdiocese then began sending retirement payments to Pickering at his new address in England. The Pickering cover-up was eventually exposed in the media by Broken Rites. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

Full story: Father Ridsdale's life of crime — and the church's cover-up

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church shuffled a paedophile priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale, from parish to parish for three decades while he committed sexual crimes against children. Broken Rites has been researching Ridsdale since May 1993, when he famously walked to court for his first sentencing. Broken Rites began supporting Ridsdale's victims, resulting in four more court cases for Ridsdale between 1994 and 2017. (Background article, by a Broken Rites researcher.)

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 7 July 2018.)

The Marist Brothers covered up Brother Gerard Rush's crimes but some victims got him convicted

Broken Rites is doing further research about how the Marist Brothers leadership in Australia covered up for Brother Gerard Rush who 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 was jailed (at the age of 76) 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 11 February 2018.)

Broken Rites helped Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission

On 14 December 2017, Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse concluded its five-year-long inquiry for the Australian government. The Commission investigated how organisations, such as churches, have handled the issue of child sexual abuse. The Commission has made recommendations about how Australia could improve child safety. Many community bodies, including Broken Rites, have supported and helped the Commission's work. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 1 February 2018)

Fr Damian Colbourne is jailed for abusing a schoolgirl, aged 8

Fr Anthony Francis Colbourne (also known by his "religious" name, Father "Damian" Colbourne) has spent many years as a priest in the Catholic order of Capuchin Franciscan Friars. In Brisbane District Court on 23 May 2017, Colbourne was jailed for sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl who was attending a Brisbane Catholic school. Father Colbourne, now aged 75, committed the assaults in 1974 when he was in his thirties. Colbourne was charged by police in 2016 after the victim reported him to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. In court, Colbourne pleaded guilty. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 24 May 2017.)

The church helped Father Peter Chalk to evade the police

Catholic Church authorities helped an Australian priest, Father Peter Chalk, to stay overseas, out of the reach of Australian police. The church eventually gave a written apology to some of Chalk's Melbourne victims. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher)

Church acknowledges abuse at St Augustine's orphanage, Geelong

The Catholic order of Christian Brothers has made settlements with sex-abuse victims of Brother Donald Pascal Alford at St Augustine's boys' home, Geelong, Victoria.

The church protected an abusive priest, Fr Syd Morey, in western Victoria

Broken Rites Australia is researching a sexually-abusive priest, Father Sydney Morey, who flourished in western Victoria in the 1960s and 1970s. Now, many years later, many of his victims (and their families) still feel hurt by the church's negligence in recuiting and protecting Morey.

The church harboured this sex-abuser in Catholic schools for 50 years — and one victim has died by suicide

Brother Pius Bernard” (real name Raymond Hugh Logan) was originally a member of the Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers, teaching in Catholic boys' schools around Australia and committing sexual offences against his pupils. Eventually, one of his victims reported him to the police. Therefore, Brother Pius Bernard left the De La Salle order but, despite his previous offences, he was allowed to spend the rest of his career working in Christian Brothers schools as a lay teacher, known as “Mister Logan", still committing more crimes against boys. After his 50 years as a Catholic teacher, three of his victims (from separate schools) got him convicted in court for his crimes. Logan is deceased now but his victims still feel hurt and damaged by the abuse and by the church's cover-up. One damaged victim (let us call him "William") died in 2017 by suicide, as explained later in this article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 January 2018.)

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)

A Marist Brother is charged regarding a prominent Sydney school

New South Wales police have charged Marist Brother John O'Brien, now aged 77, over child-sex offences allegedly committed about 50 years ago at St Joseph's College, a prominent boarding school in Hunters Hill, Sydney. The case was listed to have its first mention in court in 2018. The court's case number is 2017/00375969. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 26 January 2018.)

A victim of this Christian Brother receives an apology, at last

This Broken Rites article exposes the activities of Christian Brother Maurice Howard during his long teaching career in Victoria and Tasmania. Now the Christian Brothers have been forced to give a written apology (and a settlement) to at least one of Brother Howard's many victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher).

Pages

Subscribe to Broken Rites Australia RSS