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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


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 Jesuit priest is jailed for child-porn but still gets church support

Father Stanislaus Hogan, a senior Jesuit priest who has been based at some of Australia's most prominent Catholic schools, was sentenced on 20 March 2015 to at least 10 months jail after he admitted accessing and possessing child pornography. His schools have included Xavier College in Melbourne, St Aloysius College in Sydney and St Ignatius College in Adelaide. A church spokesman has indicated that, after finishing his jail sentence, Hogan will welcome to live in retirement in a Jesuit community in Australia, and the Jesuits will continue to give him financial support. (Article updated 20 March 2015.)

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

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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