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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


Suicide #2: The church left an ex-altar boy, Daniel Powell, to take his own life in Sydney

The Catholic Church authorities have accepted a complaint from a former altar boy, Daniel Powell, that he was sexually abused in a Sydney parish at the age of 12 by a Catholic priest, Father John Joseph Farrell (sometimes referred to as "Father F"). Daniel, who was aged 25 at the time of the settlement (in 2005), received a relatively small amount of compensation from the church. But he was still severely damaged by the abuse (and by the church's cover-up). Daniel Powell ended up dying by suicide in 2007, aged 28. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 September 2016.)

Broken Rites helped to expose this cover-up in western Sydney

In the 1990s, Broken Rites helped to reveal sexual abuse of young people by Catholic priests in the St Gerard Majella religious order in western Sydney. Two decades later, on 15 September 2016, this religious order was mentioned at a public hearing of Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. This Broken Rites article gives the background of the St Gerard Majella Society.

Royal Commission investigates how the Marists sheltered Brother Patrick Butler

The Marist Brothers have been forced to acknowledge that yet another one of their members — Brother Thomas Joseph Butler (known as "Brother Patrick") — committed sexual offences against children. Former students, from several Marist schools in New South Wales and Queensland, have told Broken Rites that the Marists knew about Butler's offences but the Marists allowed him to continue teaching —  and offending — throughout his long career. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church gave this Sydney paedophile priest a new parish, plus more children

In the early 1970s, a boy (this article will refer to him as "Boy A") complained to the Catholic Church about being sexually abused by a Sydney priest, but the church merely transferred the priest to a new parish, thus giving him easy access to more victims, a Sydney court has been told. Many years later, one of the later victims (we will call him "Dwayne", not his real name) contacted Broken Rites, which advised him to speak to police detectives, not to the church. Detectives then charged the priest, Father Robert Flaherty, who pleaded guilty in court in 2015 regarding two of his victims (Boy A and Boy B). A jury found Flaherty guilty of assaulting the third boy (Dwayne). In February 2016, Father Flaherty (aged 72) was sentenced to jail regarding these three victims. Flaherty appealed against the conviction regarding Dwayne. On 24 August 2016. the Appeal Court upheld this conviction, although it agreed to reduce Flaherty's time behind bars. Meanwhile, the news about Flaherty has prompted more alleged victims of Flaherty to contact the detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 25 August 2016.)

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, article updated on 9 September 2016.)

Background article: Father David O'Hearn is in jail but officially he is STILL a priest

Paedophile Catholic priest David Anthony O’Hearn, 55, has been in jail in New South Wales for the past four years, awaiting details of his jail sentence. In jury trials during the past four years, he has been found guilty of 44 child-sex offences against six victims. For legal reasons, those trials could not be reported in the media until the final jury completed its work in 2016. On 22 August 2016, in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court, Judge Richard Cogswell sentenced O’Hearn to 18 years and three months jail. With time already served, he will be eligible for release on parole on 17 February 2022. This article includes some Broken Rites research about O'Hearn. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 22 August 2016).

Christian Brother Robert Best faces child-sex charges

An elderly Christian Brother who spent decades teaching in Victorian Catholic schools has been charged with 39 offences, including child sex abuse. Robert Charles Best, 75, now living in Ararat in western Vctoria, is alleged to have committed acts of indecent assault over a 20-year period, according to charge sheets filed with the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 2 September 2016.

This priest has been in jail in one State and now will face court in another State

Catholic priest Father Glenn Humphreys, who has ministered in several places around Australia, has recently been in jail in Western Australia for child-sex crimes committed in that State. On 16 August 2016, he was arrested in Western Australia by New South Wales Police, to be extradited to New South Wales to face a court there on charges relating to child-sex crimes allegedly committed in NSW. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 August 2016.)

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 victim brings Father Kelvin Sharkey to justice, with help from Broken Rites

The Catholic Church in Australia harboured this sexually-abusive priest, Father Kelvin Gerald Sharkey, for 50 years until he was brought to justice by one of his victims, with help from Broken Rites. This victim contacted Broken Rites (and then the police) in 2007, telling us how he was raped by Sharkey as a ten-year-old altar boy in 1969. In 2010, Sharkey was jailed for the rape of this boy. And when he was locked up in jail, Sharkey was still officially a priest (still "Reverend Father Sharkey"). Research by Broken Rites has shown that this boy was not Sharkey's only victim. 

The Church knew about Father Michael Aulsebrook's child-abuse, a court was told

Catholic Church authorities knew that Father Michael Aulsebrook was a child-sex offender in the 1980s and 1990s but they retained him in the priesthood and even promoted him, according to statements made in an Australian court. Aulsebrook was a member of the Australia-wide order of Salesian priests and brothers, which has operated Catholic schools in several Australian states. In the Melbourne County Court in 2011, Aulsebrook was jailed for child-sex crimes committed in the 1980s at a Catholic boarding school in Victoria. This prompted more of his victims to speak to Victoria Police detectives, and therefore he was jailed again in the same court on 21 June 2016. Despite knowing about Aulsebrook's life of crime in Victoria, the Salesian leaders promoted him in the 1990s to be in charge of another Catholic school — in South Australia. The Salesian order is notorious for having tolerated multiple child-abusers in its ranks, and several of these Salesians have been brought to justice by the Victoria Police. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 22 June 2016.)

A child-abuse victim, now an adult, finally obtains justice through the police

On 15 June 2016, Catholic priest Father Leo Spicer (a member of the Servite religious order) was jailed by a Melbourne court after pleading guilty to the sexual penetration of a male (a student from a Catholic school, where Father Spicer was a chaplain). Father Spicer committed the crimes in 1982 at his Order's residence in Melbourne. The victim says his teenage and adult life was damaged by the abuse and by the church's culture of cover-up. He finally spoke to Victoria Police detectives when his life was spiralling downwards in his forties. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 26 July 2016)

Police investigate alleged offences at Melbourne's cathedral

Child sex crime detectives are investigating allegations that teenage boys were abused at one of Australia's most prominent Catholic cathedrals — St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne. The allegations relate to 14-year-old boys who may have been abused at the cathedral between 1996 and 2001.

A Catholic religious Brother is charged with assaulting a Sydney schoolboy

A retired Catholic religious Brother (Brother Peter Higgins, now 77) is facing a Sydney magistrates court, charged with sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy at a Patrician Brothers school in the mid-1970s. Police allege that the primary head teacher (Brother Basil Downey) knew about Higgins' offending at the time, and therefore Downey (now 89) is charged with having been "an accessory after the fact". Originally, lawyers for the Patrician Brothers obtained a court order prohibiting the media from referring to the Patrician Brothers or naming the two defendants but this order was later defeated by the Director of Public Prosecutions. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 May 2016.)

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.)

The Virgin Mary was not allowed to witness these child-abuse crimes

Broken Rites is continuing its research about a Catholic religious order — the Patrician Brothers — who have been prominent in Catholic boys' schools in western Sydney. One of the Patrician Brothers' most senior members in Australia (Thomas William Grealy, known as "Brother Augustine") has admitted in court that, as a school principal, he indecently assaulted young boys, either in his office or in the classroom. In his office, according to court evidence, he would cover a statue of the Virgin Mary with a coat to hide his shame before assaulting a pupil. Grealy served a jail sentence but, after leaving jail, he was still accepted as a member of the Patrician Brothers. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 May 2016.)

Background article: Father David O'Hearn was 'tipped off' during a church "investigation"

A private investigator hired by a Catholic Church panel to "investigate" sexual abuse allegations against Father David Anthony O'Hearn "tipped off" this priest during the church's inquiry, according to a police document tendered to an Australian criminal court. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 1 July 2010.)

The Christian Brothers punished these orphan boys for revealing a Brother's crimes

In the 1960s, Christian Brother William Stuart Houston (born 18 February 1939) committed sexual crimes against numerous boys whom he was supervising at St Augustine's orphanage, Geelong, Victoria. He managed to evade justice for the next fifty years but on 17 May 2016 six of his victims finally succeeded in getting him jailed for his crimes. At the sentencing, Judge Peter Kidd said that some of these victims had tried to tell other Christian Brothers at the orphanage about Houston's offences but were punished for doing so. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 May 2016.)

This victim got his sex-abuse allegations raised in Parliament

In 1963-1970 Christian Brother William Stuart Houston worked at St Augustine's orphanage, Geelong, Victoria. In 1997 the Geelong Magistrates Court ordered Houston to stand trial at the Victorian County Court for sexual offences allegedly committed against one boy (surnamed F*****) at the orphanage in the 1960s but, for legal reasons, the County Court case concerning this boy did not proceed. However, in 1999, a member of the Victorian Parliament made a speech in the Legislative Assembly, telling this boy's story. (Posted by a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 May 2016.).

De La Salle Brothers harboured this paedophile, Brother George Taylor, for many years

Broken Rites is doing further research about Brother "George" Taylor, who was a child-molester in the Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers in Australia. Brother George was finally brought to justice at the age of 79 when a former pupil, aged nearly 40, managed to persuade the New South Wales police to investigate Brother George regarding incidents that had occurred three decades earlier when the boy was eleven. Since then, other victims of Brother George have contacted Broken Rites, the latest being in April 2016. (Article updated 22 April 2016)

This priest assaulted girls — and the church kept giving him more victims

Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission has been told how the Catholic Church allowed a priest, Father Martin Newbold, to commit sex-crimes against young girls. The church concealed his crimes from the police and transferred him from one Australian state to another to protect him. Thus the church inflicted this criminal on more victims in new parishes. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 13 April 2016.)

A Marist Brother is locked up on child-porn charges in Sydney

A Marist Brother (Terence Joseph Gilsenan, 60) is scheduled for court in Sydney in 2016, charged with producing child-abuse material. The material was produced by combining faces of children with images of adults engaged in sexual acts, court documents allege. Police arrested Gilsenan at the Marist Brothers' imposing Sydney harborside residence at 14 Drummoyne Avenue, Drummoyne. A court has refused him bail and he will remain in custody to await his court proceedings. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 18 March 2016.)

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, article updated 19 March 2016.)

This criminal priest, Monsignor John Day, was defended by Bishop Mulkearns

Broken Rites has forced the Catholic Church to admit that it protected one of Australia's worst paedophile priests, Monsignor John Day, for many years while he was committing sexual crimes against children. One church leader — Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, of the Ballarat diocese — spoke in defence of Monsignor Day. At one stage, Monsignor Day had another criminal priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale, working under him — two criminal priests in the one parish. And later a eulogy of Monsignor Day was published in the diocese's magazine (about this time, Father George Pell became editor of this magazine). (Article by a Broken Rites researcher)

Disabled boys were abused in a Catholic institution in NSW

One of Australia’s Catholic religious orders – the St John of God Brothers (SJOG) – has specialised in accommodating boys who have an educational (or intellectual) disability. One of these institutions was the "Kendall Grange" boys' home in Morriset, New South Wales. This Broken Rites article is about court cases in the 1990s (and also in 2006) involving Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath, who was jailed for committing sexual crimes against disabled victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated December 2014..)

Broken Rites helped a "Four Corners" TV program re church-abuse

Broken Rites helped the Australian Broadcasting Corporation with research for a Four Corners television program, which was broadcast on Monday 11 August 2014. The program is about how the Catholic Church in Australia tries to cover up its child-sex abuse - and how the church avoids paying full compensation to victims. This article gives links to some of the relevant Broken Rites articles which helped Four Corners. We also give a link where you can watch this episode (entitled "In the Name of the Law") on the Four Corners website. (Article updated on 2 March 2016.)

A Queensland priest is stood aside from ministry

The Brisbane Catholic Archdiocese, which has been bringing priests from Nigeria to help solve a shortage of priests in Australia, has announced that one of Brisbane's imported priests (Father Malachy Onuoha) has been stood down by his home diocese in Nigeria. The Nigerian diocese is investigating misconduct allegedly committed in Nigeria by Father Onuoha some years ago. In the Brisbane archdiocese (which covers south-east Queensland), Fr Onuoha has been serving as the parish priest in charge of two parishes (Gatton and Laidley, situated between Ipswich and Toowoomba), helping to solve Australia's shortage of Catholic priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 7 February 2016.)

A classic case: The church protected Father Stockdale, thus putting children at risk

The Catholic Church sheltered Father John Stockdale for 31 years in parishes in northern Victoria 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. (Article updated 8 June 2015)

New film, "Spotlight": How a U.S. newspaper exposed the church's child-abuse, like Australia's Broken Rites did

In 1993, Broken Rites Australia began researching — and exposing — the Catholic Church's sex-abuse cover-ups throughout Australia. Ten years later, in 2002 and 2003, the Boston Globe newspaper revealed similar cover-ups in the United States. Now, people can see the Boston story told in a major film, Spotlight, which is being released in Australian cinemas on 28 January 2016.

The church's strategy of cover-up: A classic example

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, article posted 10 January 2016.)

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