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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


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.

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)

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.)

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 the archbishop 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 the Melbourne archdiocese allowed Monsignor James Murray to continue as the leader of the Catholic Church in the city of Geelong after a criminal court convicted Murray of 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.

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.

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.)

A NSW priest is acquitted of a child-sex offence

On 17 October 2016, a New South Wales court acquitted a Catholic priest, Father Neru Leuea, who had been charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl. Police alleged that the assault occurred at Griffith NSW in 2002-2003, about the time this man began working as a priest. Handing down his verdict after a judge-alone trial, Judge Gordon Lerve said he could not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that an offence had occurred within the time-frame contained in the Crown’s indictment. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 18 October 2016.)

Marist Brother Greg Sutton fled from Australia but was later captured

Broken Rites has researched the background of Marist Brother Gregory Sutton, who fled from Australia to Canada and the United States. He was eventually extradited back to Australia, where he was jailed for child-sex crimes committed in Catholic schools in New South Wales. Sutton also taught primary-school classes in Queensland and Canberra but the criminal charges were confined to his New South Wales crimes. 

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.)

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.

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