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Written by a Broken Rites Australia 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.

Father Peter L. Comensoli was jailed but was allowed to remain "reverend"

This Broken Rites article gives another Australian example of a Catholic priest who was not laicized, even after being jailed for child-sex crimes. In 1989, the Wollongong Catholic diocese (south of Sydney) was warned that Father Peter Lewis Comensoli was sexually abusing boys in his parish, but the church authorities allowed him to continue in parish work. In 1993, a newspaper exposed this church scandal. Police then charged Comsensoli and he was jailed in 1994. But the church failed to laicize him and he was listed as "Reverend" for the next 16 years, until his name finally vanished from church directories in 2010 — 16 years after his conviction. As explained at the end of this article, this Father Peter Lewis Comensoli should not be mistaken for another Catholic clergyman — his cousin, Bishop Peter Andrew Comensoli who has been appointed (in 2018) as the new Archbishop of Melbourne. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 August 2018.)

This "celibate" priest (a child molester) died in a sex cubicle at a gay club

The Catholic Church sheltered Father John Stockdale for 31 years in parishes in northern Victoria, Australia, 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. In 2018, Broken Rites is doing some further research on Stockdale. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

The church protected Father Paul Raymond Evans - but now his victims force the church to apologise

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father Paul Raymond Evans who molested vulnerable young teenagers while they were under his 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. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

This "saintly" Marist Brother has finally been brought to justice

When John Aloysius Littler became a Marist Brother, he was given the religious name of "Brother Nestor", in remembrance of an ancient saint. But Brother Nestor was no saint. He soon committed sexual crimes against boys in a Catholic orphanage in Sydney, and the Marist Brothers (as usual) harboured him during his subsequent long career as a Brother, including at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, in Sydney — one of the most elite Catholic schools in Australia. Some of the orphanage victims eventually got Brother Nestor charged by the police. And another victim has forced the Marist Brothers to apologise for sexual abuse committed by Brother Nestor at a school in Maitland, New South Wales. (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. 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 Christian Brother in court in Melbourne

A Christian Brother, Rex Elmer (born in 1944), joined this religious order in 1961 when he was 16. He then began a long career teaching in Catholic schools in the Christian Brothers' Victoria-Tasmania province. In 2018 (now aged 73) he was scheduled for proceedings in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, charged with a number of child-sex offences (case number J11744998). The charges have been laid by detectives from the Victoria Police child-protection unit (the Sano Taskforce at police headquarters in Spencer Street, Melbourne).

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. 

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 Sydney priest has been jailed for at least five years for child-sex crimes

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father Robert James Hickman, who became a Catholic priest in Sydney in the 1970s. As well as working in parishes, he was also a chaplain for Sydney's deaf community. In Sydney's Parramatta District Court on 9 December 2016, Hickman (then aged 71) was jailed for a minimum of five years for child-sex offences. (Article updated 17 July 2018.)

Yet another priest is jailed for child-sex crimes at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst NSW

Father Glenn Humphreys, a priest in the Australia-wide Catholic order of Vincentian Fathers, has had a long career ministering in three Australian states. From the outset, at his first postings in New South Wales and Western Australia, Humphreys committed sexual offences against boys. He later became the priest in charge of the Townsville cathedral in North Queensland. Eventually some of his earlier victims spoke to police, resulting in Humphreys being convicted in two states: in 2014 he was jailed in Western Australia; and on 21 June 2018 he was jailed in New South Wales. His NSW case includes offences committed at St Stanislaus College (a boys' boarding school in Bathurst). This school has become notorious because of a number of convicted pedophile clergy at this school. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 July  2018.)

A vulnerable young woman became a victim

The Catholic Church in Australia has been forced to apologise to a woman ("Diana") who was sexually abused by a priest (Father Gerard Monaghan) immediately after the death of her husband. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

Marist Brothers admit that Brother Stephen was an abuser

The Marist Brothers leadership has been forced (reluctantly) to apologise to victims of Marist Brother Stephen Farrell, child abuser. The Marists allowed this paedophile to teach for many years in New South Wales and Queensland. Marist Brother Stephen Farrell is not to be confused with a Christian Brother of the same name, who taught in Christian Brothers' schools in Victoria and who has been convicted in Victoria for child-sex crimes committed in the 1970s. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

COVER-UP: The abuse by Brother William Stanley Irwin was in a file marked as 'strictly confidential'

Broken Rites Australia has researched a Catholic religious Brother, William Stanley Irwin, who sexually abused a teenage male to whom he was providing "counselling". Despite this breach of pastoral ethics, the church authorities protected Irwin and later ordained him as a priest. The victim eventually contacted the police. Finally, in 2011, Irwin was convicted by a Sydney jury and was sentenced. Irwin was a member of the Vincentian religious order of priests and brothers. The abuse occurred at St Stanislaus College boys' boarding school, in Bathurst, New South Wales. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Brother John Gaven worked at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst NSW

Brother John Francis Gaven has had a long career working as a Brother in the Catholic order of Vincentian priests and brothers in Australia, including at St Stanislaus College boys' boarding school in Bathurst, New South Wales. In recent years, he has been involved in proceedings in the New South Wales District Court. The court has not yet released the details of those proceedings.

The church helped a pedophile Marist Brother to get easy access to young victims

Broken Rites is doing research 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. Australia's child-abuse 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 now Broken Rites has learned that Brother "Crispin" Hopson himself was committing sexual crimes against young boys. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 18 July 2018.)

A Marist Brother committed child-sex crimes at a "top" Sydney school — and there are also complaints about him in Queensland

For years, the Marist Brothers tolerated a child-abuser (Brother John Dennis Maguire) as a teacher and dormitory master at their high-profile St Joseph's College boys' boarding school in Hunters Hill, Sydney. Maguire allegedly would target the youngest boarders (perhaps eleven years old) who were homesick – comforting them and then sexually assaulting them. In 2002,  police charged Maguire with assaulting six of these boys but the Marist Brothers defeated each of these charges. In 2014, after a total of nine jury trials, a seventh ex-student succeeded in getting Maguire convicted in court. Finally, on 20 March 2015, Maguire (then aged 71) was sentenced to at least 21 months in prison. There have also been complaints about Maguire in Queensland, which would need to be handled by the Queensland police. Maguire was a danger to girls as well as boys. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

This Catholic school was staffed by child-sex criminals

Christian Brother Stephen Francis Farrell was one of the child-abusers who committed sexual crimes against young boys at Australia's now-notorious St Alipius parish school in Ballarat in the 1970s. Church leaders ignored the activities of these criminals. Later, Farrell left his religious order and was rewarded with a job as a teacher in other Catholic schools (as "Mister" Farrell). He married three times. Meanwhile, the Catholic culture forced Farrell's victims to remain silent about his crimes. Eventually, his damaged victims began to report their experience to Victoria Police detectives. Thus, in 1997 and again in 2013, Farrell was convicted in court regarding these particular victims. On 22 February 2018, Farrell (now aged 66) was convicted again regarding more of his victims and was ordered to spend a part of this sentence behind bars. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A trainee priest jailed held "prayer meetings" for his victims

Broken Rites is doing further research about Paul Ronald Goldsmith (born about 1945), a former trainee priest who indecently assaulted boys. In the 1960s he trained for the Catholic priesthood in Melbourne but failed to reach ordination. About 1970 he left the seminary. In the 1970s and 1980s, as a layman, he continued his interest in boys by acting as a sports coach at Catholic boys' schools in Tasmania and on the mainland. According to submissions in court, he took boys on camping trips, held prayer meetings at his home and would serve alcohol to teenagers before indecently touching them. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Broken Rites exposed Ronald Conway, the church's "hands-on" psychologist

For thirty years a prominent Australian Catholic psychologist, Ronald Conway, had a part-time role in assessing and helping trainee priests in the church's Melbourne seminary. Conway also worked as a consulting psychologist in psychiatric hospitals and in private practice, and some of his male patients say that Conway touched them sexually when they consulted him for professional help. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Christian Brother Steve McLaughlin

A Catholic website (CathNews) reported in July 2002 (quoting the Brisbane Courier Mail) that Brother Stephen David McLaughlin, then aged 50 (a former head of the Christian Brothers order in Queensland), had been ordered by a Brisbane magistrate (at a committal hearing in 2002) to stand trial in the District Court on child-sex charges. However, the case did not proceed to a trial.

A Melbourne priest is stood down during a child-safety investigation

In June 2018 a Catholic priest in Melbourne — Father Paul Newton — has been ordered to stand down while civil authorities investigate an alleged breach of the State of Victoria's child-safety laws. Melbourne's archbishop Denis Hart has asked Father Newton to take a period of administrative leave during the investigation. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 18 June 2018.)

Two female victims received an official apology but not much compensation

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. De La Salle's Australian office has accepted that both girls were assaulted by Brother Brendan Carroll. The office has paid a small financial settlement to each of these women, but not enough to match the damage that was done to their lives. Brother Brendan Carroll died in 1983. He was an uncle of the Most Reverend Francis Carroll, who became the archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn in 1983. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 July 2018.)

Four victims achieved justice after 40 years, but others missed out

In 2018, Broken Rites has received another complaint about Christian Brother Keith Weston. In 2004, Weston pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court to indecently assaulting male pupils, aged 11 to 14, forty years earlier. Broken Rites helped these victims to obtain justice in 2004. Ten years later, in 2014, police were about to charge Weston regarding more of his earlier victims but he died (aged 91), thus evading another conviction. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 June 2018.)

Catholic priest Hugh Edward Murray was a danger to young boys

The Catholic order of Vincentian priests knowingly harboured a pedophile priest, Father Hugh Edward Murray, for 50 years while he remained a danger to young boys in schools and parishes around Australia. These boys were forced, by the church's holy image, to remain silent for many years -- and this silence disrupted their later lives. In recent years (with help from Broken Rites), some of Murray's victims have finally extracted settlements from the Vincentian Order to compensate them for their damaged lives. Compared with other Catholic religious orders in Australia, the Vincentian priests and brothers have included a higher-than-average number of offenders against children. Father Murray's schools included the notorious St Stanislaus College at Bathurst, New South Wales. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 28 June 2018.)

Priest jailed for indecency against a boy at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst NSW

Father Kevin Francis Phillips was sentenced to jail in Sydney for committing acts of gross indecency involving a 16-year-old boy at St Stanislaus College boys' boarding school, Bathurst, New South Wales. Fr Phillips has also been a parish priest in Queensland — at Southport, Rockhampton and Mackay. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church inficted this pedophile priest on victims in two states

Broken Rites has researched the career of Catholic priest Father Adrian van Klooster. He started his priestly career in New South Wales but, after offending there, he was transferred across the continent to work in parishes in Western Australia. He was jailed in 2003 for sexual crimes against W.A. children. After van Klooster's bad publicity, the Catholic Church chose not to appoint him to any more parishes. On 8 September 2017, Van Klooster was jailed again in W.A. for recent child pornography offences. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 June 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.)

An ex-teacher, now 83, is facing child-sex charges regarding a Sydney school from 40-plus years ago

On 20 May 2019, New South Wales Police charged a former teacher (now aged 83) with having committed sexual crimes, more than 40 years ago, against a student (aged in his early teens) at a secondary-level school in Brookvale [a suburb situated 16 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district]. The police did not reveal the name the school. In 2019, there is only one secondary-level school located in Brookvale (postcode 2100), that being St Augustine’s College (in Federal Parade, Brookvale), although there are others in neighboring suburbs such as Manly.

Ex-students complain about Catholic clergy at this Salesian college

Former students of a Catholic boys' school in South Australia (Salesian College, Brooklyn Park, Adelaide) have complained that at least three senior priests at this school between the 1960s and the 1980s were child abusers. The abuse happened under the noses of the Melbourne-based national headquarters of this Catholic religious order, the "Salesians of Don Bosco". (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

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