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)
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 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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.).
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)
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 (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.)
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.)
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)
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.)
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.)
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)
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.
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.)
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 prominent Australian Catholic Church leader, Archbishop Philip Wilson, has claimed (in 2010) that during his rise from junior priest to church administrator, he "knew nothing" about the sexually-abusive behaviour of fellow-priests — even though he lived and worked with some of these criminals. Does Wilson's "know-nothing" attitude help us to understand his rise to the top of the Australian church hierarchy? Wilson's senior roles eventually included the managing of the church's response to clergy sexual abuse, as well as being appointed as the archbishop of Adelaide. In March 2015, Archbishop Wilson was charged by police with concealing child sex abuse allegedly committed by another priest during the 1970s. After being charged, Wilson went on indefinite leave from his archbishop role. However, he has decided now to resume work as the archbishop in January 2016, despite the fact that the concealment charge is still awaiting him in the court system. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article first written in 2010 and updated on 3 January 2016.)
Broken Rites has revealed how a Catholic Church leader, Monsignor Patrick Cotter, covered up the crimes of one of Australia's worst pedophile priests, Father Vincent Gerard Ryan. (Article updated by a Broken Rites researcher, 6 August 2010.)
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.)
A Catholic priest, Father David Daniel, repeatedly committed sexual crimes on children throughout his 20-year career as a priest, the Melbourne County Court was told. Parents complained to the church authorities but the church ignored the crimes until some of the victims finally began to speak to detectives in the Victoria Police sex crime squad. Finally, Father Daniel was brought to justice, by the police, not by the church. Thus, the church's cover-up was exposed. This article is the most comprehensive account available about the Father David Daniel cover-up. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)
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-1978 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.)
High-profile Brisbane Catholic priest Father Paul McLachlan — the television face of the Catholic Church in Queensland for many years — was jailed in October 2000 for child-sex crimes. This prompted more victims to come forward, and he was given an increased jail sentence in July 2001. In 2015, McLachlan (now aged 82) has been charged with additional offences, committed against another child forty years ago. The 2015 charges are mentioned near the end of this article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 November 2015.)
Father Terrence Pidoto, who has already been in jail for committing sexual crimes against boys in parishes around Melbourne, was scheduled to face the Melbourne County Court again on 20 November 2015, charged with additional child-sex offences after some more of his victims contacted the detectives in the Victoria Police sex-crime squad.But he died in mid-November (from health problems) and now his victims will not achieve justice. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 November 2015)
A former Catholic religious Brother, Edward Mamo, who had already spent time in jail, was jailed again in Melbourne on 11 December 2015 after 14 more of his victims contacted Broken Rites and/or the Victoria Police. Mamo pleaded guilty to 21 additional indecent assaults, committed against these 14 victims while he worked as a Brother at Monivae College, a Catholic secondary school at Hamilton in western Victoria in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Mamo has also worked at Chevalier College in Bowral, New South Wales, but this Victorian court case was only for Victorian offences. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 December 2015.)
Father Paul Raymond Evans molested vulnerable young teenagers who were under his authority, care and supervision at Boys' Town (a residential institution for troubled youths) near Sydney between 1977 and 1988. At first, according to allegations by victims, the school administration ignored the abuse. After 1988, the church transferred Evans to suburban parishes, where he was permitted to associate with youth groups, a court has been told. Evans's new parishioners were not told about his problematic past. The full story came out when Evans was finally jailed in October 2008. Broken Rites is doing further research about Evans. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)
A Catholic priest who was a “chaplain” to Aborigines pleaded guilty in 1996 to sexually abusing young boys in north-western New South Wales. Father David Perrett, who belonged to the Armidale diocese, was charged with indecent assault of two boys at one parish (Walgett) and sexual assault of one boy at another parish (Guyra). (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)
Three De La Salle Brothers have been ordered to stand trial, charged with sexual offences against children at BoysTown in Queensland. This institution (now closed) was for disadvantaged or homeless boys. It was operated by the Catholic religious order of De La Salle Brothers at Beaudesert, south-west of Brisbane. The three men, who worked at BoysTown many years ago, were: Brother Francis David (Frank) BROPHY (formerly known as "Brother Cormac"), Brother Phillip SHERIDAN (formerly known as "Brother Raymond") and Brother Bernard COOPER. These three are being prosecuted by police separately. Each of the three has already been through his own preliminary ("committal") hearing and now each is awaiting a date for his own separate trial. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 October 2015.)
Since 1993, Broken Rites Australia has been researching the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Too often, the church supported the offending clergy while ignoring the victims. For example, Broken Rites has shown how the church shielded the criminal priest Father Gerald Ridsdale for 32 years without reporting his crimes to the police. Finally, in 1993, some Father Ridsdale victims contacted the police. These victims also contacted the newly-formed Broken Rites.
This photo demonstrates why Broken Rites was needed. In the photo, Catholic priest Gerald Ridsdale (left, in sunglasses and hat) walks to court, accompanied by his support person (Bishop George Pell, then an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne), when Father Ridsdale was pleading guilty to his first batch of criminal charges in May 1993. But no bishop accompanied the victims, who felt deserted by the church leaders. Therefore, since 1993, Broken Rites research has supported many of the Catholic Church's victims, as shown on this website. Read More