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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


How Father John Farrell's crimes (and the church's cover-up) were exposed in court

This Broken Rites article summarises the court proceedings against John Joseph Farrell (also known as "Father F"). 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. In 2018, Farrell is scheduled to face Sydney's Downing Centre District Court regarding more child-sex offences from the 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 2 March 2018.).

Broken Rites exposed the St John of God Brothers in Australia — and the Royal Commission is interested

Since 1993, Broken Rites has been researching the Catholic religious order of St John of God Brothers (SJOG), which has operated in Australia for several generations, providing accommodation for boys and young men who have an educational or intellectual disability. In these SJOG institutions, sexual abuse was committed against many boys almost from Day One. Victims have told Broken Rites that the sex-offenders even included the founder of the order's Australian institutions, Brother Kilian Herbert. On 6 February 2017, the SJOG Order was exposed at a public hearing of Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

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

The Catholic order of Vincentian Fathers has finally apologised to a Victorian man ("Peter"), who was raped by a priest (Father Murray Joseph Wilson) in the 1970s when Peter was 13. This was a crime and Wilson was risking jail but, as so often happens in church-abuse cases, Wilson knew that the church culture would intimidate his victims into remaining silent. In 1979, Wilson died mysteriously at the age of 44 before any of his victims felt able to report Wilson's crimes to the police. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 January 2018.)

Paedophile priest Peter Searson worked under various bishops, including George Pell

For years, the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Peter Searson was committing sexual offences against boys, girls and women but he was allowed to continue in parishes, including at the Doveton parish (in Melbourne's south-east), where he survived for years under the supervision of the regional bishop for the south-eastern suburbs, Auxiliary Bishop George Pell. The Victoria Police investigated Searson for sexual offences in parishes but found it difficult to extract evidence from "loyal" church people. Eventually, after 35 years as a priest, the police managed to charge Searson with physical assault. Thus, Searson's abuse thus became public. The church authorities were forced to dump Searson from parish work. Hoping to protect the church's public image, the church also removed his name from the published list of retired priests. (Background article by a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 December 2017.)

After 30 years, these female victims finally succeed in exposing a priest's crimes

Several women have told Broken Rites Australia how they were sexually abused, when they were teenage girls, by Father John Ignatius O'Callaghan, who was a "chaplain" for the girls' section of the Catholic Church's Australia-wide "Young Christian Workers" organisation. According to colleagues, Father O'Callaghan also had a long-time sexual partner, with whom he fathered two children. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A former priest on child-sex charges regarding boys at a Marist Brothers school

A former Catholic priest, James Joseph Cunneen, aged 58. is due to face court proceedings in 2018, charged with multiple sexual offences which were allegedly committed thirty years ago against boys from a Marist Brothers school at Dundas in Sydney's west. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 18 December 2017.)

This priest became the deputy to a bishop, then was jailed and now is in court again

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 2015 he was jailed again regarding another victim (from the 1980s). In 2016, police charged Cattell regarding another 1970s victim (case number 2016/00101011), for which Cattell is awaiting sentence. Meanwhile, in 2017, yet another Cattell case (number 2017/00073102) has begun its preliminary procedures, with another brief mention due in Penrith Local Court on 8 December 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 November 2017.)

A Brisbane priest dies after being charged in court with an alleged sexual offence

A Queensland Catholic priest, Fr Michael Joseph McKeaten was charged by police in court on 31 May 2017 regarding a sexual offence that allegedly occurred earlier in his priestly career. Court documents alleged that, in 1991-1992, a male altar-server had asked Father McKeaten for counselling regarding a personal matter. During this "counseling", Fr McKeaten allegedly persuaded the victim to engage in a naked wrestle with the priest, in order (the priest said) to "relieve stress". Fr McKeaten was charged with procuring a sexual act by false pretext. The May 2017 hearing was a brief one in which the magistrate ordered Fr McKeaten to appear in court later in 2017 for the next step in the court process. However, Fr McKeaten died before the next hearing could be held. The Brisbane archdiocese then honoured Fr McKeaten with a priestly funeral. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 8 November 2017 )

'Towards Healing' helps the church, rather than the victims

Broken Rites is pleased that Australia's national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has investigated the Catholic Church's so-called "Towards Healing" process, which claims to "help" the church's abuse-victims.Broken Rites has been researching "Towards Healing"since 1996, and this article sums up some of our main findings so far. This Broken Rites article demonstrates how "Towards Healing" is really a business strategy, designed to protect the church from the legal liability of compensating some victims or, at least, to limit any compensation. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Royal Commission receives further information about Christian Brother Peter Toomey in Victoria

In 2005, Christian Brother Peter Toomey was jailed for sexually abusing young boys at Catholic schools in Victoria earlier in his career. In 2017, Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission has received further information about other former pupils who encountered Christian Brother Peter Toomey in their schooldays. This Broken Rites article gives some background about Toomey's court case in 2005. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 18 October 2017.)

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. In 2017, he was charged with additional offences involving more alleged victims; these additional charges will be heard in court on a future date. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 August 2017.)

This priest abused 14 boys in NSW, police allege

For 34 years until 1995, Father David Joseph Perrett was a priest in the Armidale Catholic diocese, which covers a large region in northern New South Wales, extending up the New England Highway to the Queensland border. In 2017, Perrett (now aged 80 and no longer working as a priest) is facing court, charged with sexual offences allegedly committed against 14 young boys between 1970 and 1982 while he was working as a priest. In May 2017, NSW police charged him regarding four of these boys. After these charges became public, more of Perrett's alleged victims contacted the police. By October 2017, police charged him in court regarding another ten boys. Police are continuing their investigation. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 October 2017.)

George Pell and Denis Hart became archbishops but Father Tony Bongiorno didn't

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, in the same trainee group as George Pell and Denis Hart, both of whom eventually became archbishops of Melbourne. In 1994, Pell (then an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne) officiated at a requiem mass for Bongiorno's brother Salvatore ("Sam"). 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.)

A former Catholic priest will face a trial in Melbourne on child-sex charges

Paul Chris Pavlou, of Melbourne, was once a school-teacher. Then he became a Brother in the Catholic Church's Salesian order. Later, aged in his forties, he was ordained as a Catholic priest, ministering for a while in parishes at Croydon and Healesville in Melbourne's east, although he no longer holds any position in parishes. In mid-2017, Pavlou (now aged 58) faced a preliminary hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, charged with child-sex offences. On 1 September 2017, it was decided that the case will proceed to a trial in the Victorian County Court. (Article updated  3 September 2017.)

A Catholic priest is jailed for indecent assaults against Melbourne schoolboys

In the Melbourne County Court on 7 August 2017, Catholic priest Frank De Dood (aged 64) was sentenced to jail for indecently assaulting five young boys while he was teaching and ministering at two Catholic schools in Melbourne between 1978 and 1983. Father De Dood told one boy that no one would believe him if he told anyone about being touched by a priest, and if he did, the boy would be expelled from the school. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 August 2017.)

Priest dies while facing child-abuse charges

On half a dozen occasions during 2013 and 2014, a Queensland magistrate granted an adjournment to a retired Catholic priest, Father Dermot Casey, who had been charged with sexual offences against ten children, including girls and boys. The defence lawyers kept producing medical certificates saying that the priest (aged 78 in 2014) was not well enough to come to court. In August 2014, Father Casey died; and therefore his victims were no longer able to obtain justice. (Article updated 17 December 2017.)

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.)

The church covered up the crimes of Father Billy Baker

For many years, the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Wilfred ("Billy") Baker was committing crimes against children but it allowed him to continue in the priesthood, thereby helping him to commit more crimes against more children in more parishes. When George Pell became the new archbishop in mid-1996, Father Baker was allowed to continue as a parish priest. But Broken Rites began advising some of his victims to report Bakers' crimes to the police, and therefore in mid-1997 the archdiocese was forced to send Baker on "administrative leave" to protect the image of the church. Baker was jailed. Thus, the cover-up was finally exposed by Broken Rites. After he finished this jail term, more of his earlier victims contacted Broken Rites and/or the police but, in February 2014, Baker died before the courts could sentence him again. (Article written by a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Marist Brother has been convicted three times and is facing more charges

Australian Marist Brother David Austin Christian (born in 1942) joined the Marist order when he was 18) and has remained in the Order since then. Charged with child-sex offences (committed in the early 1980s), he has been convicted three times — first in 1995 and then again in 2004 and early 2017 after more of his victims spoke to child-protection detectives. The 2017 conviction resulted in him being jailed. And, later in 2017, while in jail, he is due to appear in court again regarding another victim. How many more victims did this Brother have? (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 4 May 2017.)

The church provided a perfect cover for child-abuser Father Kevin Glover

This Broken Rites article reveals how the Catholic Church a harboured a paedophile priest (Father Kevin Glover) for many years, in parishes around Australia, while he committed sexual crimes against children. When his crimes became known in one parish, the church merely transferred him to another parish. Now, in 2017, lawyers are preparing to tackle the Catholic Church authorities for compensation on behalf of three people who say they were sexually abused by Father Glover in Western Australia in the 1960s and 1970s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 19 July 2017.)

Victims of Fr Paul "Rex" Brown were re-abused by Towards Healing

Broken Rites is researching how the Catholic Church harboured a paedophile priest, Father Paul Rex Brown, allowing him to commit sexual crimes against boys and girls in northern New South Wales. 

The church was finally forced to apologise to victims of Monsignor Penn Jones

After action by Broken Rites, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has accepted two complaints about a prominent Australian Catholic clergyman, Monsignor Penn Jones. The archdiocese gave a written apology to two men who demonstrated that they were still feeling harmed after being sexually abused by Monsignor Jones in their school days. Broken Rites is continuing its research about Monsignor Penn Jones. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The Catholic Church fails to enforce its ban on Father Patrick Maye

Broken Rites has confirmed that a Catholic priest — Padraic (Patrick) Maye — conducted church services in Queensland after the church had promised to remove him from the ministry in Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

How the church harboured Father David Rapson, putting schoolboys at risk

This Broken Rites article tells how the Catholic Church harboured Father David Edwin Rapson for two decades, thus endangering boys in Catholic schools in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales. His colleagues and superiors kept quiet about Rapson's behaviour because some of colleagues, too, were a danger to boys. If boys or parents complained about Rapson's behaviour, Rapson would be moved to another school — and he was even promoted to a more senior position. Some of his Victorian victims have succeeded in getting Rapson jailed in that State but, so far, his Tasmanian and NSW victims have not brought Rapson to justice in those two States. A significant number of Rapson's Tasmanian pupils have died prematurely.

A legal firm is tackling the Christian Brothers re Brother J.G. Gladwin

An Australian legal firm is taking civil action against the Christian Brothers. The lawyers are acting on behalf of a former student who alleges that he was sexually abused by Christian Brother J.G. Gladwin in a Catholic school in Queensland in the 1970s. (By a Broken Rites researcher.).

A Christian Brother is convicted by a Sydney jury

After a jury trial in May 2017, Christian Brother Roger King was found guilty in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court of a number of sexual offences committed against boys at St Patrick's College, Strathfield, in Sydney's inner-west, in the 1970s and 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 29 May 2017.)

An archbishop was slow in taking action against his deputy who committed crimes against children

In a statement issued in June 2010, an Australian Catholic archbishop confessed that he had been too slow in taking action about a senior fellow-cleric who was facing sex-abuse complaints. Archbishop Adrian Doyle, in charge of the Hobart archdiocese in Tasmania, made this admission in a June 2010 pastoral letter to Tasmania's Catholics. The pastoral letter was about the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis, the exposure of which is causing a worldwide public-relations problem for the church. The pastoral letter outlined how the worldwide revelations are undermining the church's public image in Tasmania. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 September 2017.)

Church leaders protected this criminal priest, Father Gerard Mulvale, resulting in a victim's suicide

The Catholic Church harboured a paedophile priest (Gerard Mulvale) in a Melbourne parish, enabling him to sexually target the parish's youth group. This church-abuse (and the church's culture of cover-up) disrupted the lives of these youngsters, driving one of them (Stephanie Piper) to die by suicide. In 2017 (23 years after the suicide), Stephanie's mother Eileen Piper (now aged 92) is speaking publicly (through the media), demanding an apology from church leaders for having inflicted this paedophile priest on these youngsters and for putting them in danger. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

This pedophile had a long career as a Marist Brother, including at a "top" Sydney school

For 67 years, the Australian Marist Brothers harboured this pedophile — Brother William BENINATI (known as Brother "Vales", in honour of an ancient Saint Vales). He committed sexual offences against boys in Marist Brothers schools in New South Wales and Queensland. His victims included boys at the Marist Brothers' "flagship" school in Sydney (St. Joseph's College Hunters Hill). (By a Broken Rites researcher, 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.)

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