Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission has been given information about a senior Marist Brother (Brother "Crispin" Hopson) who worked in Marist schools in New South Wales and Canberra. In many of these Marist communities, he was the "Superior", that is, he was in charge of the other Brothers. If any student or parent complained about sexual abuse by any of the Brothers at these locations, Brother Hopson would receive (and, apparently, down-play) the complaint. (Article posted 22 June 2014.)
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.
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.)
Brother Colgan Taylor had an exalted role as a "spiritual director" for the Catholic order of Marist Brothers in Australia while he was committing sexual crimes against young children. The reverend brother's Catholic status gave him access to children and it protected him from exposure until 2002, when police finally learned of sexual crimes that Taylor had committed, more than 20 years earlier, against two very young girls.
The Marist Brothers' lawyers have claimed that Catholic religious orders do not owe a duty of care to protect pupils from sexually-abusive religious Brothers, because (unlike lay teachers who are employed on salaries) the Brothers are not, technically, "employees".
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
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 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.)
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.)
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.)
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.
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.)
Broken Rites has updated its article about how the Catholic Church appointed a clinical psychologist, Ronald Conway, to "screen" its trainee priests in Melbourne for "suitability". But, in his own private clinical practce, Conway sexually abused many young male members of the public who came to him for help. In this article, Broken Rites has added a footnote, "The story of Harry".
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.)
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 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.)
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.
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
Brian Dennis Cairns was originally a Christian Brother. Later he worked as a lay teacher ("Mister" Cairns) in Catholic schools in Queensland. In 1985 he was jailed for sex-crimes against boys. Since then, more of his former male pupils have contacted Broken Rites, and therefore Broken Rites arranged for each of these victims to have a private chat with detectives in the Queensland Police. Brian Cairns pleaded guilty regarding all these additional victims and on 13 January 2014 he was jailed again. (Article updated 13 January 2014.)
Broken Rites has helped a victim ("Don") to convict a senior Melbourne Catholic priest, Father Barry Gwillim, who had sexually abused him in his teens, 25 years earlier. In Melbourne County Court on 15 December 2003, Father Gwillim, 71, pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency against the boy at age 15 in 1979-81. Judge Fred Davey sentenced Gwillim to 32 months jail (suspended). The judge said Gwillim damaged Don's adolescent development.
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.
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