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Written by a Broken Rites Australia 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 BoysTown ex-pupil receives a settlement many years later

Male victims who were sexually abused at "Boys Town" (a Catholic "home" for disadvantaged youngsters at Beaudesert in Queensland) are currently going public with their story, thus exposing the church's cover-up that silenced them in the past. Broken Rites is helping these victims to obtain justice.

Research about Chevalier College (New South Wales) in the late 1980s

Some ex-pupils of Chevalier College (a Catholic high school near Bowral in southern New South Wales) are still recalling allegations that a Catholic priest behaved indecently towards young boys at the school in the late 1980s. This school is owned by a religious order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (known by its Latin initials "MSC"), although today this school has fewer priests and brothers on its campus than it had in the 1980s.

Two female victims finally obtained justice by contacting the police

Two female victims eventually contacted the police after the Catholic Church allowed an abusive priest to continue working with young people, a court has been told. Father Michael Francis Reis, 66 (a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart religious order), was jailed in Brisbane for offences against two young girls in the 1980s and 1990s. 

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.).

This priest, Edmund John Haines, was caught with child porn on his phone

An Australian Catholic priest, Edmund John Haines, committed child-sex crimes but he was caught when someone found child porn on the priest's mobile phone, a court has been told. Broken Rites has researched Father Haines's life of crime. (Article updated 27 April 2009.)

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.)

Brother Rex Ignatius Elmer committed child-sex crimes at St Vincent's Boys' Home, South Melbourne

The Catholic order of Christian Brothers appointed one of its Brothers to be in charge of a school after he had been found sexually abusing boys in an orphanage, an Australian court has been told. Brother Rex Ignatius Elmer appeared in the Melbourne County Court in September 1998. A Broken Rites representative was present in court, supporting the victims. (Article posted 20 July 2009).

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.)

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.)

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.

Inside story: Broken Rites knew about these two abusive priests

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.)

This "know-nothing" archbishop was put in charge of managing the church's response to child-abuse crimes

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.)

The church abandoned a Marist Brother's baby son

A Catholic body has contravened the Australian Bishops' protocol on church sexual abuse, "Towards Healing". In 1998 the Professional Standards Resource Group for Victoria (PSRGV) adopted a report suggesting that it is acceptable for "celibate" priests or religious brothers to father a child. The PSRGV was replying to a Victorian woman, "Kylie" (born 1965), whose son " Jeff" (born August 1989) was fathered by a "celibate" Marist Brother (let us call him Brother AA). Kylie (aged 33 in 1998) had written to the PSRGV, seeking restitution from the Marist Order - i.e., half the cost of raising Brother AA's son.

 

Broken Rites exposes a cover-up: How the church concealed a priest's crimes

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.)

 

A former Marist Brother in court proceedings in Sydney

When he was a Marist Brother in the late 1980s (then aged in his mid-twenties), Brother Brett O'Connor worked at two boys' schools in Sydney — St Joseph's College in Hunters Hill and St Gregory's College in Campbelltown. Then he left the Marist Order and began a new career elsewhere. In 2015, police charged O'Connor in NSW Local Courts with child-sex offences relating to the late 1980s when he was a Marist Brother at those two Sydney schools. O'Connor pleaded not guilty to the charges. In early 2016, a magistrate decided that the case should proceed to a judge in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court. The final outcome of the District Court process is not yet known. (Article dated 1 October 2017.)

Catholic Church appointed a child-abuser as its spokesman in Queensland

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.)

Paedophile priest Terry Pidoto dies just before his court case

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)

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