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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


A senior Christian Brother was jailed for child-sex offences

The Australian Christian Brothers have been forced to acknowledge that one of their former leaders, Brother Damien John O'Dempsey, was a serial sex-offender, abusing children who were under his care and supervision in Catholic schools. (Article updated 4 January 2011).

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.)

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.)

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.).

How the church pays LESS compensation to victims by using the "Ellis Defence" tactic

Any Australian victim of church child-sex abuse can demand compensation from the church for any damage that has been done to the victim's later life. To gain a proper amount of compensation, the victim would threaten to sue the church in a civil-court action but the Catholic Church would try to evade this compensation by using a legal strategy (known as the "Ellis Defence"), with the church then offering a much smaller settlement (through the church's in-house "Towards Healing" strategy). The "Ellis Defence" originated when the Catholic Church fought a former altar boy (John Ellis) who was seeking proper compensation for his damaged life. This article is based on statements and documents presented to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission in 2013-2015. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Catholic Brother is jailed again for another 14 of his victims

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.)

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.)

The church protected Father Vic Rubeo but Broken Rites has 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. Rubeo (pronounced "roo-BAY-oh") was born in 1933 and was ordained as a priest in 1959; he died in 2011. (Article updated on 8 January 2019.)

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.)

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.)

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.

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 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.)

Church hid a priest's sex-crimes for 30 years — and it put him in charge of sex education for children

The Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane harboured a sex-abuse priest, Father Ronald McKeirnan, for 30 years after it first learned that he was committing criminal offences against children. And it put him in charge of sex eduction for all Brisbane Catholic schools. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article last updated in 2008.).

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.)

Priest and teachers charged with abusing girls at an Aboriginal mission

Three elderly men (a priest and two teachers), who formerly worked at a Catholic Aboriginal mission in Western Australia, have been ordered to appear in court during 2017, charged with sexually abusing young girls at the mission during the 1960s. The charges were laid in May 2017 by W.A. Child-Abuse Squad detectives after Australia's national Child-Abuse Royal Commission had private interviews with several women who had lived at the mission as children. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 10 May 2017.)

A school removes the name of a Christian Brother from one of its buildings

Some victims of Catholic Church sex abuse are forcing the church authorities to stop honouring a particular priest or religious brother because of sex-abuse allegations. In the latest example, a prominent Brisbane Catholic boys’ school (St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace) has removed the name of a former deputy headmaster (Brother C.L. Dillon) from one of its buildings. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 1 April 2017.)

Background article: The Christian Brothers ignored the crimes of Brother Robert Best, thus helping him to commit more crimes against more children

This Broken Rites article explains how the Catholic Church harboured Brother Robert Charles Best in Australia for many years while he committed crimes (including buggery) against young schoolboys. Colleagues of Brother Best knew about his crimes but covered up for him, a court has been told. Brother Best is already in jail but, despite his crimes, he is still being accepted by the Christian Brothers as a member of their Order. That is, this convicted criminal is still officially "Brother" Best. More of Brother Best's victims are still contacting Victoria's child-protection police, and on 2 March 2017 a court sentenced Best to more time in jail after he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a further 20 of his victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 2 March 2017.)

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.)

The church ordained a child-abuser — and knowingly retained him in the ministry

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.)

The church is forced to apologise to a woman victim

An Australian "celibate" Catholic priest, Father Thomas Knowles, sexually targeted a vulnerable 19-year-old woman (Jennifer) who was suffering from a physical disability - and he entangled her in a secret sexual relationship for next 14 years. Now, in 2016, the church has been forced to offer Jennifer a written apology for this sexual abuse. On Sunday 4 December 2016, this apology was publicly read out to the congregation by a church leader during Mass at the prominent St Francis's church in central Melbourne. Thomas Knowles was formerly a priest at this parish. (By a Broken Rites researcher, 4 December 2016.)

How the church authorities tried to protect a child-abuser, Brother Rodger Moloney

This Broken Rites article shows how a Catholic religious order, the St John of God Brothers, has paid big money to lawyers, trying to defend an Australian child-abuser, Brother Rodger William Moloney. And the order has said that it will continue protecting him permanently. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

What did the Melbourne church leadership know about these paedophiles?

Since 1993, Broken Rites has been doing research about how Melbourne's Catholic bishops harboured a number of sexually-abusive priests. In the mid-1990s, Broken Rites began exposing these priests. In 2013-2015, some of these priests (from the Broken Rites list) were being investigated by Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. The Royal Commission was examining what the Melbourne archdiocese leadership knew about these priests in the 1980s and 1990s. This article points you to the original Broken Rites research about each of these priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Christian Brother L.C. McAllen abused Sydney schoolboys

Some Australian men, now advancing in age, are still feeling the injustice of having been abused by Christian Brother L.C. McAllen when they were primary-school pupils in Sydney many years ago. McAllen died in 1965, but he has not been forgotten (or forgiven) by his victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 21 October 2016.)

The Christian Brothers covered up this 1989 case involving Brother Obbens but Broken Rites exposed it

For several years, Broken Rites has been doing research about Christian Brother William John Obbens (known as Brother "Dominic" Obbens), who was convicted in court in 1989 for sexually abusing a boy (let's call him "Gus") at St Patrick’s College, Goulburn, in south-western New South Wales. The Christian Brothers covered-up the crime and the 1989 court case. They did not tell the school's students or parents about it and did not ask if any victims needed help. "Gus" (and several other victims from the same school) went on to have a damaged adult life. Gradually, each of these families contacted Broken Rites, and this article began to take shape, with occasional updates. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 13 October 2016.)

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