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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


An archbishop is facing court, charged with cover-up

To read about Archbishop Philip Wilson, click HERE.

Broken Rites exposes a cover-up: How the church concealed a priest's crimes

Broken Rites has revealed how a Catholic Church leader, Monsignor Patrick Cotter, covered up the crimes of one of Australia's worst pedophile priests, Father Vincent Gerard Ryan. (Article updated by a Broken Rites researcher, 6 August 2010.)

 

A former Marist Brother in court proceedings in Sydney

When he was a Marist Brother in the late 1980s (then aged in his mid-twenties), Brother Brett O'Connor worked at two boys' schools in Sydney — St Joseph's College in Hunters Hill and St Gregory's College in Campbelltown. Then he left the Marist Order and began a new career elsewhere. In 2015, police charged O'Connor in NSW Local Courts with child-sex offences relating to the late 1980s when he was a Marist Brother at those two Sydney schools. O'Connor pleaded not guilty to the charges. In early 2016, a magistrate decided that the case should proceed to a judge in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court. The final outcome of the District Court process is not yet known. (Article dated 1 October 2017.)

Catholic Church appointed a child-abuser as its spokesman in Queensland

High-profile Brisbane Catholic priest Father Paul McLachlan — the television face of the Catholic Church in Queensland for many years — was jailed in October 2000 for child-sex crimes. This prompted more victims to come forward, and he was given an increased jail sentence in July 2001. In 2015, McLachlan (now aged 82) has been charged with additional offences, committed against another child forty years ago. The 2015 charges are mentioned near the end of this article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 17 November 2015.)

Paedophile priest Terry Pidoto dies just before his court case

Father Terrence Pidoto, who has already been in jail for committing sexual crimes against boys in parishes around Melbourne, was scheduled to face the Melbourne County Court again on 20 November 2015, charged with additional child-sex offences after some more of his victims contacted the detectives in the Victoria Police sex-crime squad.But he died in mid-November (from health problems) and now his victims will not achieve justice. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 November 2015)

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

Father Raymond Deal, who was once the private secretary to former Melbourne Archbishop Frank Little, has admitted committing a sex offence that involved a breach of trust. And ex-Archbishop Little gave the priest a glowing "character" reference in court. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

A priest is in court on a child-sex charge re a NSW South Coast school

A Catholic priest, Father Patrick Kervin, 58, is facing court in New South Wales, charged with an indecent assault of a schoolboy, allegedly committed 27 years ago. Father Kervin is a member of an Australia-wide religious order, the Society of Mary (also known as the Marist Fathers). Father Kervin has worked at Catholic schools near Wollongong and Lismore (New South Wales) and also in Tasmania. The charge relates to Holy Spirit College, at Bellambi, near Wollongong, in the 1980s. More recently, he ministered at St Patrick's Presbytery (Church Hill) in the Rocks area in central Sydney. (Article updated on 19 October 2015.)

This priest assaulted boys in Wollongong NSW, police allege

A former Catholic priest, Father Peter Lewis Comensoli, now aged 76, has been committed to stand trial in the New South Wales District Court accused of molesting boys while this priest was working in the Wollongong diocese, south of Sydney, in the 1960s. In October 2015, some additional charges were added to the case, which is scheduled to come before a judge in 2016.

Father Glen Boyd leaves the priesthood in Wagga Catholic diocese

An Australian priest, Father Glenn Boyd, left the ministry of the Wagga Wagga Catholic Diocese (in southern New South Wales) in 2004, following queries about his youth work. (Article posted 12 February 2009).

The church makes a private settlement with a schoolboy whose life was damaged

Broken Rites has examined an out-of-court civil settlement, in which a Catholic religious order (the Salesian Fathers) made a payment to a former Melbourne schoolboy who complained that he was sexually abused by a priest, Father Julian Fox.  Father Fox was a minister, teacher and administrator at several Salesian schools, including Salesian College, "Rupertswood", which was a boarding school at Sunbury, north-west of Melbourne. (Article posted 28 August 2015)

A priest leaves jail, then back in court again (and again) on more child-abuse charges

In March 2015, Victorian Catholic priest Father Leslie Sheahan was jailed for three months for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl in one of his parishes forty years ago. After the media reported this court case, more victims contacted the Victoria Police. In July 2015, immediately after leaving jail, Sheahan was charged in court again with indecently assaulting two more girls from another of his early parishes, and the court convicted him again. On 22 August 2016, Sheahan (aged 85) was in court again, where he was convicted of indecently assaulting another girl in one of those early parishes. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 August 2016.)

A prominent Marist Brother is jailed — 40 years after the crime

One of the Marist Brothers' most senior educators in Australia, Brother Peter Pemble, was jailed on 23 July 2015 (aged 67) for a child-sex crime which he committed 40 years earlier when he was in his twenties. In court, Pemble pleaded guilty to the offence, which was committed against a junior boy in a Marist school at Maitland (in the Hunter region, north of Sydney) in the early 1970s. Eventually, Brother Peter Pemble became the principal of several Catholic schools in Sydney. The victim finally spoke to police, 40 years after the crime, because he still feels hurt by the sexual abuse and the cover-up. (Article updated 23 July 2015.)

The Melbourne archdiocese excused a priest's abuse of power

The Melbourne archdiocese allowed a priest (Father Graham Redfern) to continue in the priesthood after a church investigation found that the priest had sexually abused a teenager while the youth was in a vulnerable state, grieving over his mother's death. The abuse allegedly began after the priest had performed the funeral service of the youth's mother. Evidently the archdiocese did not regard Father Redfern's breach of priestly power as serious enough to dismiss a priest.

An ex-priest from Moree/Armidale NSW (name suppressed in an Armidale court) has been ordered to face a higher court on 76 sex-abuse charges

A former Catholic priest (from Moree and Armidale in northern New South Wales) faced 76 sex-abuse charges in the Armidale Local Court in 2012-2014. The charges involved offences which he allegedly committed against boys and girls. For legal reasons, the Armidale magistrate imposed a media-suppression order, prohibiting publication of the ex-priest's name (at present) in relation to these Armidale Local Court charges. The ex-priest pleaded "Guilty" to 45 of these charges, and he will eventually be sentenced on those. He pleaded "Not Guilty" to 31 other charges, and these contested charges are scheduled to go to trial in a higher court, the Sydney District Court in Sydney, beginning in early 2016. The Sydney judge will decide whether the Armidale magistrate's name-suppression order should be continued, or removed, during the Sydney District Court proceedings. Later, the ex-priest will be sentenced by the Sydney District Court regarding all the relevant charges that originated in the Armidale court, including the charges to which he has already pleaded "Guilty". Meanwhile, the ex-priest has been refused bail and he remains in custody, awaiting his court proceedings. (Article updated 29 May 2015)

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.

Priest guilty of child-sex crimes in New South Wales

On 1 June 2015 a Catholic priest was found guilty of 31 child sex offences committed against boys in the Hunter Region, north of Sydney, in the 1980s. The priest was remanded in custody. He will be sentenced on a later date.

Church leaders knew about Father Murray Alexander Moffat's abuse of a child

Australian Catholic Church authorities learned that Father Murray Alexander Moffat had sexually abused a 12-year-old girl but they allowed Moffat to continue in the priesthood for many years while the public did not know about the case, according to statements made in court. But eventually, at the age of 42, the victim went to the police, instead of merely to the church authorities. The police charged Moffat. In August 2010, he pleaded guilty in court and was jailed. Now that the church's secret is out, the public knowledge makes it difficult for the church to continue using Moffat in the ministry. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 27 August 2010).

Father David Rapson's crimes were covered up by his colleagues and superiors

While Father David Rapson was committing sexual crimes (including rape) against boys at a prominent Australian Catholic boarding school, his religious order promoted him to be the vice-principal of the school, a Melbourne court has been told. Rapson used computer games, soft drinks, alcohol and cigarettes to lure boys (as young as 12) into his office before he sexually abused them, the court was told. Rapson gave some of his victims a drink of drug-laced chocolate-milk or lemonade to make them sleepy before he sexually abused them, the court was told. (Article updated 22 August 2015)

How a decision by Melbourne church leaders was revealed, after 10 years

This Broken Rites article demonstrates how the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese allowed a Melbourne priest (Father Barry Robinson) to continue ministering after he admitted having sex with a 16-year-old boy. The Melbourne Church leaders tried to keep the matter a secret. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated in 2010.).

Families disrupted by a Catholic religious Brother

Several families have complained to Broken Rites about Brother Luke Beltram, a teacher in the Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers.

Christian Brother John Coswello in court regarding an orphanage

In April 2015, after a committal hearing, the Melbourne Magistrates Court ordered Christian Brother John Francis Coswello (now aged 76) to stand trial. He is charged with child-sexual abuse, which allegedly occurred at St Vincent's Boys Home in South Melbourne during an early stage in Coswello's career as a Christian Brother. The trial has been placed on a waiting list for the Melbourne County Court in 2016.

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 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.)

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.)

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.)

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