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.
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).
A convicted pedophile Christian Brother who changed his name from Ted Dowlan to Ted Bales to avoid publicity has pleaded guilty to additional offences after more of his victims contacted the police (instead of merely contacting the Catholic Church). Ted Bales, 64, is now behind bars again, awaiting sentence proceedings which will resume on 27 February 2015. (Article updated 6 February 2105.)
Wise: A South Australian court has ruled that an elderly former Christian Brother, Francis Lambert Wise, was medically unfit to stand trial on charges of child sexual abuse. However, a judge held hearings in early 2009 to receive the complaints, thereby giving the victims an opportunity to have their evidence aired in court (updated 4 August 2009).
A Catholic priest, Father Neville Joseph Creen, used his position and his standing in the community to hide his child-sex crimes from the police, an Australian court has been told. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)
Australia's national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how various organisations have handled (or mis-handled) allegations about these crimes. At first, the Commission issued a public invitation for victims to contact it. Many of these victims told the Commission (by telephone or in writing or in a private interview) how they were assaulted in Catholic Church situations — and how the abuse was covered up the church authorities. From these private submissions, the Commission has chosen some case studies which are examined in detail in a public hearing.
A victim has made a submission to Australia's national Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, telling how the Catholic religious order of Passionist priests covered up for a serious child-abuser, Father Daniel Lyne. (Updated 13 December 2013.)
A former Catholic altar boy ("Cedric", born in 1950) has told Broken Rites about his experiences at the hands of Father Francis Xavier Brown (a Catholic priest in the Dominican religious order) in Adelaide around 1960. Cedric says he still feels hurt (half a century later) by his experience as an altar boy. (Posted 24 November 2013.)
Australia's first parliamentary inquiry into church child-sex abuse tabled its report on 13 November 2013. The report, commissioned by the Victorian State Parliament, criticises the Catholic Church's culture of cover-up and it recommends changing the laws behind which the Catholic Church has been sheltering. (Article updated 13 November 2013.)
A court has heard how one of Australia's most prominent Catholic archbishops, Most Reverend Sir Frank Little (of Melbourne), covered up the crimes of a priest (Father Russell Vears). A parent notified Archbishop Little about the crimes, but the church authorities managed to conceal the crimes from the police until one of the victims contacted the police three decades years later, in 2011. (Article posted 12 November 2013.)
In 2013, Australia's national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse issued an invitation for interested persons to make written submissions to the Commission about the Catholic Church's "Towards Healing" system. Dr Wayne Chamley, a member of the Broken Rites executive team, wrote this submission to the Commission. (Posted 8 November 2013.)
Victims of this priest were intimidated into silence but now they obtain justice after 36 years. Father Gregory Laurence Ferguson, of the Marist Fathers, who was jailed on 15 May 2007 for offences against two boys aged 13 at a Tasmanian boarding school, was given an additional jail sentence on 13 December 2007 for offences against a third boy.
One of Australia's most prominent Catholic officials, Father Brian Lucas, avoided preserving any written notes from his "in-house" interviews with a number of abusive priests, a New South Wales State Government inquiry has been told. Therefore, police have been prevented from using any such notes in charging these priests with any crimes. This tactic protected the priests from police prosecution and helped the church to avoid bad publicity.
Broken Rites Australia has expanded its article about how the Catholic Church protected a criminal priest (Father James Patrick Fletcher), thus inflicting him on more and more children. Fletcher is one of the priests who have been investigated in 2013 by a Special Commission of Inquiry, appointed by the New South Wales state government (updated 1 August 2013).
On 8 September 2016, it was revealed that NSW Police have laid additional charges against a former Catholic priest (now aged 63) over alleged historical child sex assaults in northern NSW. The charges relate to alleged assaults against two boys, one at Gunnedah in 1975, and the other at Narrabri in 1983. These two towns are located between Tamworth and Moree. (Article posted by a Broken Rites researcher, 8 September 2016.)
On 31 July 2014 a New South Wales magistrate dismissed child pornography charges against a retired Catholic priest, Father Edward Sedevic, aged 73. Police had charged Father Sedevic as part of a global operation targeting users of a Canadian pornography website. During a search of Father Sedevic’s home, the detectives seized eight invoices for purchases from the Canadian website. However, the magistrate accepted Father Sedevic's explanation for possessing this material.
In 2013 an Australian court heard how the Catholic order of Marist Brothers kept quiet about a child-molesting Brother (John Patrick Gleeson), in order to protect the Marist brand-name. Gleeson's abuse occurred fifty years ago, in 1962, and it was successfully concealed for those fifty years until one of his victims contacted a specialist police unit in 2012. Detectives began an investigation and they soon found two more victims of Gleeson from the same year, 1962. Gleeson, who left the Marist order in 1962, is one of several Marists who have had the name "Dominic" and he is not to be confused with any other "Brother Dominic". (Updated 11 October 2013.)
The Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers knew that Brother Ibar (real name Frank Keating) was committing sexual crimes against his pupils but it allowed him to continue offending for many years more, according to statements made in court (article updated 7 May 2014).
Broken Rites Australia is not connected with any religious denomination. However, each member of the Broken Rites executive team had a Catholic background and each of us has been hurt by Catholic Church sex-abuse - and by the church's habit of cover-up. We are therefore motivated to support other victims.
The Catholic order of Marist Brothers has kept a Brother (Brother John Desmond Dyson) as a member after he was convicted of indecently assaulting vulnerable boys in a Catholic school. The Marist Brothers have continued to list "Brother" John Dyson as being concerned with "the education and welfare of school-aged children". (By a Broken Rites researcher.)
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