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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


The church protected Father Vic Rubeo but Broken Rites exposed this cover-up

Research by Broken Rites has revealed how the Catholic Church harboured this abusive priest, Father Victor Gabriel Rubeo, for three decades while he committed child-sex crimes in the Melbourne archdiocese. His victims included girls and boys. Broken Rites first exposed Rubeo in the 1990s, prompting some more of Rubeo's victims to contact Broken Rites. In August 2014, Australia's national Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is receiving more evidence about the church's cover-up of this priest and his crimes. Rubeo (pronounced "roo-BAY-oh") was born in 1933 and was ordained as a priest in 1959; he died in 2011. (Article updated on 30 September  2014.)

A Christian Brother abused this boy, police allege

Police allege that a Christian Brother, William Edwin Marchant, sexually abused a seven-year-old child who was visiting  a Catholic school in Western Australia in the 1970s. Marchant, who is no longer a member of the  Christian Brothers, made a brief appearance in Broome Magistrates Court on 28 July 2014.(Article posted 28 July 2014.)

Catholic priest jailed for offences against young girls

On 24 July 2014 a 79-year-old Catholic priest, Father Patrick Holmes, was jailed for sexually abusing two young girls in Western Australia many years ago (one girl in 1969 and the other girl about 1981). The first victim eventually reported Father Holmes to the church authorities in 2000, but the church continued to list "Reverend Patrick Holmes" as a priest in the annual editions of the Australian Catholic Directory. In 2014 this victim finally spoke to police, who immediately charged Holmes. (Article posted 24 July 2014.)

Police charge another religious Brother with offences against a child

New South Wales Police announced on 23 July 2014 that they have charged a 66-year-old religious Brother regarding indecent assaults of a child, committed 40 years ago. Broken Rites understands that the alleged victim was a pupil at a Marist Brothers boys' school which then existed at Maitland, north of Sydney in the Newcastle region. (Article posted on 23 July 2014.)

The church recruited this child-abuser for training to become a priest

A seminary student, Paul Lane, committed child-sex crimes in the 1970s while he was training to become a Catholic priest in New South Wales. He eventually dropped out of the seminary. Forty years later, on 7 July 2014, a victim obtained justice by getting Lane convicted in court. (Article posted 11 July 2014.)

What did the church leaders know about this priest?

Beginning on Tuesday 24 June 2014, Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission is holding a public hearing into how the Catholic Church authorities dealt with a priest, John Gerard Nestor, who was convicted by a magistrate in 1997 for the alleged indecent assault of an altar boy. In a higher court, Nestor successfully appealed against this conviction. But the church authorities possessed certain "additional information" about Nestor (not regarding this boy).  Perhaps the Royal Commission might be able to uncover this information. (Article updated 23 June 2014.)

A priest abused a vulnerable woman but George Pell re-instated him

This criminal court case in 2000 is still prompting public discussion, many years later. The Catholic Church's promises about tackling clergy sexual abuse lost credibility in June 2000 when Melbourne Archbishop George Pell allowed Monsignor James Murray to continue as the leader of the Catholic Church in the city of Geelong after a criminal court convicted Murrayof indecently assaulting a woman. A judge said that Murray's offence was serious because the woman was psychologically vulnerable at the time of the assault.  (Article re-posted 27 November 2014.)

A Catholic former teaching Brother in court in Melbourne

A former religious Brother (in the Salesians of Don Bosco religious order) appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court in early 2014, aged 75, charged with offences allegedly committed against two Catholic schoolboys in the 1960s. One boy was from Salesian College "Rupertswood" in Sunbury in Melbourne's outer north-west and one was from Salesian College in Chadstone in Melbourne's south-east. The two boys did not know each other. The boys had spoken, separately, to detectives in the Sano Taskforce in the sex crime squad of the Victoria Police.

Marist Brothers admit that Brother Stephen Farrell was an abuser

At last, 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. 

The church's 50-year cover-up of Father Finian Egan

Catholic priest Finian James Egan began committing sexual crimes against numerous Australian children in 1961 but the Catholic Church protected him for the next five decades until some of his victims succeeded in getting him convicted in December 2013. (Article updated on 3 January 2014.)

Priest jailed for indecency against a schoolboy

Father Kevin Francis Phillips was sentenced to jail in Sydney on 21 April 2011 for committing acts of gross indecency involving a 16-year-old boy at St Stanislaus boys' boarding school, Bathurst, New South Wales. Fr Phillips has also been a parish priest in Queensland — at Southport, Rockhampton and Mackay (posted 11 May 2011.

This long-deceased Marist Brother is still remembered with disgust

The effects of church sex-abuse can still be felt by the victims and their families even half a century after the abuse. This was demonstrated in 2008 by complaints about Marist Brother Norbert Mathieson.

Bishop knew about priest's crimes but allowed him to continue

 A bishop learned about a priest's sexual crimes but allowed him to remain in parish ministry, the Brisbane District Court was told in 1998. Father Patrick Cleary, parish priest of Ashgrove in Brisbane, pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two boys (aged 15 and 16) in 1967 and 1973.

These orphanage boys were abused by the "Christian Buggers"

Child-abuse at four Catholic orphanage-type institutions was so bad (and was so well covered-up) that the Christian Brothers earned a reputation many years ago as the "Christian Buggers", Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission was told during public hearings in April-May 2014. (Article updated 14 May 2014.)

A victim got this Marist Brother convicted many years later

When Peter Richard Spratt (born 2 August 1937) joined the Marist Brothers, he adopted the religious name "Brother Bartholomew" (called after an ancient saint). But when Brother Bartholomew Spratt committed child-sex crimes in Australian Catholic schools, he showed that he was no saint. He was harboured in the Marist Brothers throughout his long career before finally being brought to justice by one of his earlier victims.

After 50 years, this priest (from NSW) is jailed in Victoria

In 1959-1962, Father James Patrick Jennings began his priestly career, ministering at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst, New South Wales, followed by a church school in northern Victoria in 1963-68 and a parish in Queensland in the 1970s. Half a century later, on 30 April 2014, aged 81, he was jailed for child-sex crimes committed at the Victorian school in the 1960s. (Article updated on 30 April 2014.)

Same priest: "Guilty" in Victoria but "not guilty" in New South Wales

A Catholic priest (James Patrick Jennings) allegedly committed indecent assaults against boys at two Catholic boarding schools - one school in New South Wales and another school in Victoria. A Victorian jury in 2014 found him guilty of the Victorian charges but a NSW jury in 2010 found him not guilty of the NSW charges. Same priest, different State, different jury. This Broken Rites article is about the NSW trial. (Article updated 30 April 2014.)

Two female victims get a Catholic priest charged in court

Two West Australian women have prompted a Catholic priest to admit in court that he committed sexual offences against each of them when they were young girls living in different parishes many years ago. This demonstrates why it is always worthwhile for a church-victim to have a chat with specialist police in the Child Abuse Squad. (Article posted by Broken Rites on 15 April 2014.)

A NSW priest is acquitted of a child-sex offence

On 17 October 2016, a New South Wales court acquitted a Catholic priest, Father Neru Leuea, who had been charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl. Police alleged that the assault occurred at Griffith NSW in 2002-2003, about the time this man began working as a priest. Handing down his verdict after a judge-alone trial, Judge Gordon Lerve said he could not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that an offence had occurred within the time-frame contained in the Crown’s indictment. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 18 October 2016.)

Church says it will "revisit" its payouts for SOME Melbourne victims

In a written statement issued on 4 April 2014, the Catholic Church archdiocese of Melbourne says it will "revisit" its system of compensating church-abuse victims in the Melbourne-Geelong area, with a view to  either increasing or removing the current maximum of $75,000 per victim. At present, most Melbourne victims are lucky to receive half that amount, or less, even if the church-abuse has devastated a family's life. (Arfticle posted 6 April 2014.)

Marist Brother Greg Sutton fled from Australia but was later captured

Broken Rites has researched the background of Marist Brother Gregory Sutton, who fled from Australia to Canada and the United States. He was eventually extradited back to Australia, where he was jailed for child-sex crimes committed in Catholic schools in New South Wales. Sutton also taught primary-school classes in Queensland and Canberra but the criminal charges were confined to his New South Wales crimes. 

Sex-abuse in the seminary

Broken Rites is continuing its research about how some young men, while studying to become Catholic priests, have been sexually abused by older priests. The victims might give up their studies, while the offenders survive in the priesthood. Here is a case-study of one victim. (Article updated 15 April 2014.)

How the church gave this priest easy access to young victims

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about Father Charles Alfred Barnett, who was jailed in South Australia in 2010 for crimes against children in that state. Broken Rites has researched Barnett's other activities throughout Australia, and (in this update) we have added a comment from a former parishioner who knew Barnett in the late 1980s while Barnett lived at the "Our Lady of the Rosary" parish at St Marys, near Penrtih in western Sydney, where Father Richard Cattell was the parish priest. (Article updated 31 March 2014.)

This priest 'befriended' young schoolgirls

Many years later, some Australian women are still complaining about having been abused (when they were children) by Father Dominic Phillips, a senior Catholic priest from the Vincentian Fathers order. Phillips spent many years training future priests.

A Catholic Brother is charged in Queensland re allegedly assaulting an adult male

A Catholic religious Brother, who occupied a senior position in a Catholic school, was charged by police in a North Queensland magistrates court in June 2013, regarding an alleged sexual assault. The alleged victim was a male (and he was not a student). (Article updated 1 March 2014.)

How Christian Brother Daniel McMahon became "Father" Daniel McMahon

Broken Rites has discovered that the Catholic Church has made settlements with several former pupils who encountered Brother Daniel John Virgil McMahon while he was teaching with the Christian Brothers in Catholic boys' schools in Western Australia (from the 1960s to the 1980s). In the early 1990s, the church elevated Brother McMahon to the rank of "Father" McMahon and allowed him to minister as a priest in parishes on the other side of Australia — in Tasmania, 3500 kilometres away.

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 senor 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". (Article posted 10 February 2014.)

Ex-priest says child-sex offences were normal among his colleagues

A convicted priest (Father David Edwin Rapson, who belonged to one of Australia's most prominent Catholic religious orders) has "blown the whistle" on his colleagues in this religious order, declaring that they too were committing sexual offences on schoolboys. Broken Rites has discovered Rapson's claim in some court documents. (Article posted on 2 February 2014.)

The Marist Brothers inflicted this abusive Brother on more victims

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Marist Brothers allowed the sex-abuse criminal Brother Ross Murrin to remain in their Order, thus giving him access to child victims. In 2014, Australia's national Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse is investigating this pattern of cover-up. See our 2014 update under the final sub-heading: "How the church treated this victim, Mr DK". (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 22 January 2014.)

The Vatican is soft on clergy offenders, as shown by this Australian case

Broken Rites can cite a recent Australian case to demonstrate how the Vatican takes a lenient attitude towards the church's sexual abuse of children. In 2006 the Vatican "punished" one Australian priest by ordering him "to live a life of prayer and penance and to offer Mass every Friday for his victims". (Article updated 22 January 2014.)

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