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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


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.)

Victims bring ex-Brother Brian Cairns to justice, again

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.)

Priest damaged a teenager's life, says judge

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.

The church abandoned a Marist Brother's baby son

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.

 

Police criticize the Catholic Church for cover-ups

Police headquarters in the Australian state of Victoria have launched a scathing attack on the Catholic Church, accusing it of deliberately impeding its investigations into child-abuse crimes.

How a vulnerable young woman became a victim

The Catholic Church in Australia has been forced to apologise to a woman ("Diana") who was sexually abused by a priest (Father Gerard Monaghan) immediately after the death of her husband.

A Catholic priest, who was in charge of preparing future priests, sexually abused a child

A Tasmanian priest, Father Paul Anthony Connolly, who was in charge of preparing future priests, pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a child.  

Brother Damien John O'Dempsey 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).

A Christian Brother changed his name after being in jail

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.)

Christian Brother Francis Lambert Wise in a court case in South Australia

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).

How was this priest able to get away with committing so many crimes for so long?

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.)

The Royal Commission is exposing the Catholic Church's cover-ups

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.

Why did Father Daniel Lyne vanish from the Catholic priesthood?

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.)

An altar boy's story

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.)

Government report slams Catholic Church for cover-ups

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.)

This archishop covered up a priest's crimes

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.)

This priest (an Archbishop's secretary) pleaded guilty

Fr Ray Deal (who served as secretary to former Archbishop Frank Little in Melbourne) pleaded guilty in court to indecently assaulting a vulnerable male.

Submission to the Royal Commission re "Towards Healing"

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.)

A Catholic Brother is charged re Sydney school children

Police have charged a retired Catholic religious Brother over the alleged historical indecent assaults of school children in Sydney, according to a police announcement on 6 November 2013.

Part-time celibacy: The story of Zelda

Broken Rites has uncovered the story of "Zelda", a Melbourne girl who had two children fathered by a Catholic priest.

Victims of this priest obtain justice after 36 years

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.

The church carefully left no "paper trail" regarding these abusive priests

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.

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