Latest stories

Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.

Four victims achieved justice after 40 years, but others missed out

A member of the Catholic order of Christian Brothers, Keith William Gonzales Weston pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court on 29 November 2004 (when he was aged 81) to indecently assaulting male pupils, aged 11 to 14, forty years earlier. Broken Rites helped these victims to obtain justice. Ten years later, in 2014, police were about to charge Weston regarding more of his earlier victims but he died (aged 91), thus evading another conviction. (Article, by a Broken Rites researcher.)

This "chaplain" committed sexual offences in a girls’ orphanage

A senior Catholic nun has confirmed that she sought the removal of a priest, Father Bernard Maxwell Day, who was living at a girls' orphanage in Victoria in the early 1960s. Father Day was one of a series of "chaplains" who occupied a flat at the orphanage. Father Day was removed after allegations that he was molesting girls at the orphanage. In a submission to a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry in 2013, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese admitted that Fr Day committed sexual offences against children. (Article updated 29 January 2015.)

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.)

A 92-year-old Sydney priest in court regarding alleged offences from 40 years ago

An elderly Catholic priest, Father Theodore Arrivoli, who has ministered in many parishes around the Sydney region during the past 60 years, was charged in court on 15 January 2015 (when he was aged 92) regarding alleged sexual assaults (including buggery) against two children near Sydney in the 1970s. However, at a later hearing, the case did not proceed any further at this stage because of the elderly priest's health issues. (Article updated 15 March 2016.)

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.

It is never too late to have a chat with the detectives, as this case proves

This court case is an example of how it is possible for victims of church child-abuse to get their perpetrator convicted many years after the abuse. In the 1970s, Marist Brother John Skehan had multiple victims in Catholic schools in New South Wales and Victoria. Forty years later, one victim got Brother Skehan convicted in a New South Wales court in 2010 and another victim scored a similar victory over Skehan (aged 75) in a Victorian court in 2014. (Article updated 1 November 2014)

The Christian Brothers pay a settlement to an ex-pupil in Sydney

In June 2012 the Christian Brothers organisation in Australia signed a civil settlement with a former pupil of Christian Brothers College at Manly (in Sydney), who attended this school as a 13-year-old boy about 1973.  According to the settlement deed, this ex-pupil alleged that he was “unlawfully assaulted by Brother Peter N. Lennox, the principal of the school".

A Catholic Brother in charged with offences against disadvantaged boys in New South Wales

A former Catholic Brother, Bernard Kevin McGrath, is being sentenced in New South Wales in 2018 regarding child sexual assaults. Bernard McGrath, formerly a member of the St John of God Brothers, was charged with abusing a number of disabled boys while he worked as a Brother in a Catholic institution at Morriset, near Lake Macquarie (between Sydney and Newcastle), in the 1970s and 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 14 December 2017)

FULL STORY: How the church continued covering up for this priest

At last, in September 2014, a victim (John Parmeter) has spoken publicly about how he was sexually abused for years by a prominent Australian priest, Father Peter Brock, beginning at the age of nine in 1968. The Catholic Church culture of silence blocked John from complaining until 2007 when he was aged nearly 50 and, by then, the church's cover-up had damaged John's life. In 2008 John received a written apology from the priest and later a financial settlement from the church. But the church authorities still praised Father Brock and elevated him to a prominent national role, thereby making John Parmeter feel abused again by the continuing cover-up. John's public statement in September 2014 exposes the church's cover-up, thereby helping other church victims. (Article updated 23 September 2014.)

Fr Glenn Humphreys is facing charges re St Stanislaus College in NSW

A Catholic priest, Father Glenn Humphreys was charged in Sydney's Burwood Local Court on 23 April 2014 with multiple sexual offences allegedly committed against boys from St Stanislaus College in Bathurst, New South Wales. (Article posted 24 April 2014.)

Christian Brother Steve McLaughlin

A Catholic website (CathNews) reported in July 2002 (quoting the Brisbane Courier Mail) that Brother Stephen David McLaughlin, then aged 50 (a former head of the Christian Brothers order in Queensland), had been ordered by a Brisbane magistrate (at a committal hearing in 2002) to stand trial in the District Court on child-sex charges. However, the case did not proceed to a trial.

The church protected Father Vic Rubeo but Broken Rites 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. In August 2014, Australia's national Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is receiving more evidence about the church's cover-up of this priest and his crimes. Rubeo (pronounced "roo-BAY-oh") was born in 1933 and was ordained as a priest in 1959; he died in 2011. (Article updated on 30 September  2014.)

A Christian Brother abused this boy, police allege

Police allege that a Christian Brother, William Edwin Marchant, sexually abused a seven-year-old child who was visiting  a Catholic school in Western Australia in the 1970s. Marchant, who is no longer a member of the  Christian Brothers, made a brief appearance in Broome Magistrates Court on 28 July 2014.(Article posted 28 July 2014.)

Catholic priest jailed for offences against young girls

On 24 July 2014 a 79-year-old Catholic priest, Father Patrick Holmes, was jailed for sexually abusing two young girls in Western Australia many years ago (one girl in 1969 and the other girl about 1981). The first victim eventually reported Father Holmes to the church authorities in 2000, but the church continued to list "Reverend Patrick Holmes" as a priest in the annual editions of the Australian Catholic Directory. In 2014 this victim finally spoke to police, who immediately charged Holmes. (Article posted 24 July 2014.)

Police charge another religious Brother with offences against a child

New South Wales Police announced on 23 July 2014 that they have charged a 66-year-old religious Brother regarding indecent assaults of a child, committed 40 years ago. Broken Rites understands that the alleged victim was a pupil at a Marist Brothers boys' school which then existed at Maitland, north of Sydney in the Newcastle region. (Article posted on 23 July 2014.)

The church recruited this child-abuser for training to become a priest

A seminary student, Paul Lane, committed child-sex crimes in the 1970s while he was training to become a Catholic priest in New South Wales. He eventually dropped out of the seminary. Forty years later, on 7 July 2014, a victim obtained justice by getting Lane convicted in court. (Article posted 11 July 2014.)

What did the church leaders know about this priest?

Beginning on Tuesday 24 June 2014, Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission is holding a public hearing into how the Catholic Church authorities dealt with a priest, John Gerard Nestor, who was convicted by a magistrate in 1997 for the alleged indecent assault of an altar boy. In a higher court, Nestor successfully appealed against this conviction. But the church authorities possessed certain "additional information" about Nestor (not regarding this boy).  Perhaps the Royal Commission might be able to uncover this information. (Article updated 23 June 2014.)

A priest abused a vulnerable woman but George Pell re-instated him

This criminal court case in 2000 is still prompting public discussion, many years later. The Catholic Church's promises about tackling clergy sexual abuse lost credibility in June 2000 when Melbourne Archbishop George Pell allowed Monsignor James Murray to continue as the leader of the Catholic Church in the city of Geelong after a criminal court convicted Murrayof indecently assaulting a woman. A judge said that Murray's offence was serious because the woman was psychologically vulnerable at the time of the assault.  (Article re-posted 27 November 2014.)

A Catholic former teaching Brother in court in Melbourne

A former religious Brother (in the Salesians of Don Bosco religious order) appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court in early 2014, aged 75, charged with offences allegedly committed against two Catholic schoolboys in the 1960s. One boy was from Salesian College "Rupertswood" in Sunbury in Melbourne's outer north-west and one was from Salesian College in Chadstone in Melbourne's south-east. The two boys did not know each other. The boys had spoken, separately, to detectives in the Sano Taskforce in the sex crime squad of the Victoria Police.

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.

Marist Brothers admit that Brother Stephen Farrell was an abuser

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. 

Priest jailed for indecency against a schoolboy

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.

This long-deceased Marist Brother is still remembered with disgust

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.

These orphanage boys were abused by the "Christian Buggers"

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.)

A victim got this Marist Brother convicted many years later

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.

After 50 years, this priest (from NSW) is jailed in Victoria

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.)

Same priest: "Guilty" in Victoria but "not guilty" in New South Wales

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 female victims get a Catholic priest charged in court

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.)


Subscribe to Broken Rites Australia RSS