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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


Father Glen Boyd leaves the priesthood in Wagga Catholic diocese

An Australian priest, Father Glenn Boyd, left the ministry of the Wagga Wagga Catholic Diocese (in southern New South Wales) in 2004, following queries about his youth work. (Article posted 12 February 2009).

Boys were assaulted on their naked bottoms. Priest jailed

For years, the Catholic Church has been harbouring a prominent Australian priest, Father Julian Fox, who indecently assaulted vulnerable schoolboys on their naked bottoms. The boys, silenced by the holy image of the priesthood, later found that their lives were damaged by this priestly breach of trust. Some of them, in adulthood, eventually contacted the police but the church authorities transferred Father Fox overseas, out of the reach of the Australian police. The police finally got Fox back to Australia, where they charged him with multiple incidents of buggery and indecent assault committed at two Melbourne schools between 1976 and 1985. In Melbourne in 2015 Fox was sentenced to jail for the indecent assaults but his defence lawyer told the court that, despite now being a convicted criminal, Father Fox is still officially a Catholic priest and still has the support of the church authorities. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 September 2015)

The church makes a private settlement with a schoolboy whose life was damaged

Broken Rites has examined an out-of-court civil settlement, in which a Catholic religious order (the Salesian Fathers) made a payment to a former Melbourne schoolboy who complained that he was sexually abused by a priest, Father Julian Fox.  Father Fox was a minister, teacher and administrator at several Salesian schools, including Salesian College, "Rupertswood", which was a boarding school at Sunbury, north-west of Melbourne. (Article posted 28 August 2015)

Father Jack Gubbels died while police were seeking to interview him

In 1995, Broken Rites revealed the story of Catholic priest Father Jack Gubbels, who was transferred from Melbourne to Queensland, where he died while police were seeking to interview him about child-sex allegations in Melbourne. In 2014, Broken Rites has received a report of yet another Melbourne victim who has recently come forward with a complaint about Father Gubbels. (Article updated 27 August 2014.)

A priest leaves jail, then back in court again (and again) on more child-abuse charges

In March 2015, Victorian Catholic priest Father Leslie Sheahan was jailed for three months for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl in one of his parishes forty years ago. After the media reported this court case, more victims contacted the Victoria Police. In July 2015, immediately after leaving jail, Sheahan was charged in court again with indecently assaulting two more girls from another of his early parishes, and the court convicted him again. On 22 August 2016, Sheahan (aged 85) was in court again, where he was convicted of indecently assaulting another girl in one of those early parishes. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 August 2016.)

A prominent Marist Brother is jailed — 40 years after the crime

One of the Marist Brothers' most senior educators in Australia, Brother Peter Pemble, was jailed on 23 July 2015 (aged 67) for a child-sex crime which he committed 40 years earlier when he was in his twenties. In court, Pemble pleaded guilty to the offence, which was committed against a junior boy in a Marist school at Maitland (in the Hunter region, north of Sydney) in the early 1970s. Eventually, Brother Peter Pemble became the principal of several Catholic schools in Sydney. The victim finally spoke to police, 40 years after the crime, because he still feels hurt by the sexual abuse and the cover-up. (Article updated 23 July 2015.)

A Catholic religious Brother is jailed at the end of his long career

The Catholic Church harboured a sexually abusive religious Brother, Bernard Hartman, throughout his long career in Australia and the United States. In Australia, the Melbourne Catholic diocese learned that Brother Hartman had committed crimes against Melbourne school-children but it did not report these crimes to the police. Finally, on 24 July 2015, some of his Melbourne victims got Brother Hartman (aged 75) jailed for his crimes. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated 24 July 2015)

The Melbourne archdiocese excused a priest's abuse of power

The Melbourne archdiocese allowed a priest (Father Graham Redfern) to continue in the priesthood after a church investigation found that the priest had sexually abused a teenager while the youth was in a vulnerable state, grieving over his mother's death. The abuse allegedly began after the priest had performed the funeral service of the youth's mother. Evidently the archdiocese did not regard Father Redfern's breach of priestly power as serious enough to dismiss a priest.

An ex-priest from Moree/Armidale NSW (name suppressed in an Armidale court) has been ordered to face a higher court on 76 sex-abuse charges

A former Catholic priest (from Moree and Armidale in northern New South Wales) faced 76 sex-abuse charges in the Armidale Local Court in 2012-2014. The charges involved offences which he allegedly committed against boys and girls. For legal reasons, the Armidale magistrate imposed a media-suppression order, prohibiting publication of the ex-priest's name (at present) in relation to these Armidale Local Court charges. The ex-priest pleaded "Guilty" to 45 of these charges, and he will eventually be sentenced on those. He pleaded "Not Guilty" to 31 other charges, and these contested charges are scheduled to go to trial in a higher court, the Sydney District Court in Sydney, beginning in early 2016. The Sydney judge will decide whether the Armidale magistrate's name-suppression order should be continued, or removed, during the Sydney District Court proceedings. Later, the ex-priest will be sentenced by the Sydney District Court regarding all the relevant charges that originated in the Armidale court, including the charges to which he has already pleaded "Guilty". Meanwhile, the ex-priest has been refused bail and he remains in custody, awaiting his court proceedings. (Article updated 29 May 2015)

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.

Priest guilty of child-sex crimes in New South Wales

On 1 June 2015 a Catholic priest was found guilty of 31 child sex offences committed against boys in the Hunter Region, north of Sydney, in the 1980s. The priest was remanded in custody. He will be sentenced on a later date.

Church leaders knew about Father Murray Alexander Moffat's abuse of a child

Australian Catholic Church authorities learned that Father Murray Alexander Moffat had sexually abused a 12-year-old girl but they allowed Moffat to continue in the priesthood for many years while the public did not know about the case, according to statements made in court. But eventually, at the age of 42, the victim went to the police, instead of merely to the church authorities. The police charged Moffat. In August 2010, he pleaded guilty in court and was jailed. Now that the church's secret is out, the public knowledge makes it difficult for the church to continue using Moffat in the ministry. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 27 August 2010).

Father David Rapson's crimes were covered up by his colleagues and superiors

While Father David Rapson was committing sexual crimes (including rape) against boys at a prominent Australian Catholic boarding school, his religious order promoted him to be the vice-principal of the school, a Melbourne court has been told. Rapson used computer games, soft drinks, alcohol and cigarettes to lure boys (as young as 12) into his office before he sexually abused them, the court was told. Rapson gave some of his victims a drink of drug-laced chocolate-milk or lemonade to make them sleepy before he sexually abused them, the court was told. (Article updated 22 August 2015)

How a decision by Melbourne church leaders was revealed, after 10 years

This Broken Rites article demonstrates how the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese allowed a Melbourne priest (Father Barry Robinson) to continue ministering after he admitted having sex with a 16-year-old boy. The Melbourne Church leaders tried to keep the matter a secret. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated in 2010.).

Christian Brother John Coswello in court regarding an orphanage

In April 2015, after a committal hearing, the Melbourne Magistrates Court ordered Christian Brother John Francis Coswello (now aged 76) to stand trial. He is charged with child-sexual abuse, which allegedly occurred at St Vincent's Boys Home in South Melbourne during an early stage in Coswello's career as a Christian Brother. The trial has been placed on a waiting list for the Melbourne County Court in 2016.

Broken Rites supported these orphanage victims but a bishop supported the offender

When Broken Rites launched its national telephone hotline in September 1993, our first callers included former inmates of a Catholic orphanage (St Joseph's Home, at Neerkol, near Rockhampton, Queensland). Some of these callers said they were sexually assaulted by Father Reginald Basil Durham, who was the "chaplain" at this orphanage. Broken Rites advised these victims how to obtain justice. In 1996 the church authorities were still protecting Durham and denying the crimes. The church's cover-up in the 1990s has been revealed again in 2015 at a public hearing of Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 21 April 2015.)

Christian Brother Chris Rafferty in a court trial in Sydney

Christian Brother Christopher Rafferty has worked in Catholic boys' schools in Sydney (including St Mary’s Cathedral College and St Pius X College Chatswood). He faced court in 2016, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed against a boy at a earlier school (St Patrick's College in Goulburn, in south-western New South Wales, in the 1980s). In court, Judge David Frearson said he believes that Brother Rafferty sexually abused this Goulburn boy. However, the evidence in court was not of a high enough standard to convict Rafferty, the judge said.

A bishop's deputy committed crimes against young girls

Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission has become interested in how the Catholic Church's "Towards Healing" process is handling (or mis-handling) complaints about a senior Australian cleric, the "Right Reverend" Monsignor Maurice Tully, who had a long career (until 1975) in northern New South Wales. Broken Rites research has found that Tully was an abuser of young girls, and these victims are now mature-age women who are still feeling hurt by the Catholic Church's protection of Tully (and by the church's evasive attitude towards the complaints by Tully's victims).

A prominent churchman is convicted again in Bathurst NSW

Richard John McPhillamy has been a prominent layman in Catholic Church affairs in the diocese of Bathurst, in central-west New South Wales. He was formerly listed as an "acolyte", assisting in various matters at Bathurst's Cathedral of St Michael and St John. Also, he worked as an assistant dormitory master at St Stanislaus College — a Bathurst boarding school for boys. In 2011 he was jailed for committing sexual crimes against two of the boys who were under his control. In February 2015 he was convicted again regarding a third boy. (Article posted 18 February 2015.)

The church re-abused this victim of Marist Brother Raymond Foster

A sex-abuse victim has told a Royal Commission that he was made to feel like he was robbing the Catholic Church when he applied for compensation for his damaged life.

This priest assaulted two boys after their sister died in a road accident

A Catholic priest, Father Robert Claffey, indecently assaulted two boys after their sister died in a road accident, an Australian court was told in 1998. The priest started visiting the boys' house after the accident in 1978 to "comfort" them at bed-time. (Article published in 1998, updated in 2016.)

The church protected Father John Sidney Denham, a judge says

An Australian judge has made scathing comments about how Father John Sidney Denham had been protected by the Catholic Church. Denham was jailed in 2010 after some of his victims contacted the New South Wales police. On 23 January 2015, he received additional jail time after some more of his victims contacted the police. According to research by Broken Rites, these are not necessarily Denham's only victims. (Article updated 23 January 2015.)

Marist Brothers head office receives a complaint about a Brother

A man has complained to the Marist Brothers headquarters in Sydney that while he was a student at Maitland Marist Brothers school in the late 1970s he was sexually abused by Marist Brother Donald Brodie Newton during a camping trip. (Article updated 16 January 2015.)

Three victims reveal their story, although church lawyers tried to stop them

Father Roger Michael Bellemore had a long career, ministering in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia. Finally, some Tasmanian victims succeeded in publicly revealing his Tasmanian crimes. This Broken Rites article demonstrates how church victims can triumph over a powerful institution through determination and persistence.

De La Salle Brothers provided a job-reference for a child-abuser

The Catholic religious order of De La Salle Brothers knew that Brother Robert John N***** was a danger to children but they gave him a job-reference, enabling him to continue working in Catholic schools as a lay teacher, the Sydney District Court was told

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, in 2014, 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.)

A lay teacher is jailed for crimes at two Catholic schools in Sydney

Alan James Pollock originally was a trainee Brother in the Catholic religious order of Patrician Brothers but later he left the brotherhood and then worked as a lay teacher in Sydney Catholic schools, where he committed sexual crimes against children. Years later, eleven of his victims reported his crimes to the police. Finally, on 12 December 2014 he was jailed. (Article updated 10 December 2014.)

Ex-priest acquitted of charges regarding St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, NSW

In Sydney's Downing Centre District Court on 4 March 2016, a former Catholic priest (now aged 73) was acquitted on charges of indecently assaulting a male. The alleged victim was a student at St Stanislaus College boys' school in Bathurst, New South Wales, in the 1970s. The defence lawyer has obtained a court order, prohibiting the publication of the ex-priest's name. (Article updated 14 March 2016.)

The Marist Brothers covered up these crimes and helped the offender's career

The Marist Brothers covered up the crimes of Brother Brian Robert Gordon and enabled him to continue working, as a lay teacher, in the Catholic education system. According to evidence given in court, Brian Gordon eventually become one of the top officials in Australia's Catholic education system, while his former Marist colleagues continued their silence. But one of his former pupils eventually reported the crimes to the police, thus ending the cover-up. (Article updated 11 January 2015.)

Black Collar Crime

This page gives a few examples (not a complete list) of Broken Rites cases involving Catholic clergy and religious Brothers in Australia. This page is confined to Broken Rites cases - that is, cases in which victims have been supported by Broken Rites. The complete database of Broken Rites cases is NOT available on the internet.

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