Broken Rites Australia is researching a sexually-abusive priest, Father Sydney Morey, who flourished in western Victoria in the 1960s and 1970s. Now, many years later, many of his victims (and their families) still feel hurt by the church's negligence in recuiting and protecting Morey.
Father Wilfred James Baker, a retired priest from the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese, who was jailed in 1999 for crimes against boys, was scheduled to face the Melbourne County Court in November 2014 on additional charges regarding more boys who were assaulted between 1966 and 1979. However, Baker died on 14 February 2014, meaning that this court case will be cancelled. (Article updated 27 February 2014.)
Male victims who were sexually abused at "Boys Town" (a Catholic "home" for disadvantaged youngsters at Beaudesert in Queensland) are currently going public with their story, thus exposing the church's cover-up that silenced them in the past. Broken Rites is helping these victims to obtain justice.
Some ex-pupils of Chevalier College (a Catholic high school near Bowral in southern New South Wales) are still recalling allegations that a Catholic priest behaved indecently towards young boys at the school in the late 1980s. This school is owned by a religious order, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (known by its Latin initials "MSC"), although today this school has fewer priests and brothers on its campus than it had in the 1980s.
Australia's national Royal Commission (into institutional responses to child sexual abuse) is investigating the establishment and operation of the Catholic Church's so-called "Towards Healing" process. The Commission is exploring how this process works in practice. (Article updated 5 November 2013.)
The Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane harboured a sex-abuse priest, Father Ronald McKeirnan, for 30 years after it first learned that he was committing criminal offences against children. And it put him in charge of sex eduction for all Brisbane Catholic schools (updated 29 June 2008).
Broken Rites Australia has investigated the Catholic Church's so-called "Towards Healing" process. Too often, when victims seek help from "Towards Healing", they find that the church authorities are evasive and abusive — that is, the victims are victimised again.
The Brisbane Catholic authorities had known for 25 years that Father Leo Wright was committing sex crimes against children but they retained him in the ministry and he continued to offend, Brisbane District Court was told in September 1997.
Many years ago, Broken Rites began researching Brother "Gabriel" Mount, who had worked in Catholic children's homes in New South Wales and Victoria. We discovered that he eventually became a priest ("Father Roger Mount"), working in Papua New Guinea. Now, in 2014, he is under arrest and facing child-sex charges in Victoria. (Article posted 17 October 2014.)
Three wise archbishops? A Victorian Parliamentary committee is completing an investigation into how church authorities have handled (or covered up) complaints about clergy sex-abuse in Victoria. This Broken Rites article demonstrates how three Catholic archbishops of Melbourne — Archbishop Frank Little, Archbishop George Pell and Archbishop Denis Hart — have allowed a priest (Father Barry Robinson) to continue ministering after he admitted having sex with a 16-year-old boy. The hierarchy managed to keep the matter as a secret for ten years. In 2013 the church is still allowing Father Robinson to act as a relieving priest (updated 24 May 2013).
Research by Broken Rites has found that a senior priest (Monsignor Bartholomew Frawley) covered up sexual abuse by a De La Salle Brother (Wilfred De Cruz) at a church school (now called Southern Cross Catholic College) in Scarborough, north of Brisbane. The cover-up enabled Brother Wilfred to attack more victims.
This is a different kind of case-study in the Catholic culture of cover-up. The Sydney archdiocese has signed a settlement with a victim who was sexually abused by Father Leonard John Henry — one of Australia's most prominent promoters of "sacred music" (posted 22 March 2013).
This Broken Rites article demonstrates how easy it was to cover up sexual abuse in orphanages, where the children were alone, without access to their families. As shown in this article, the Christian Brothers have accepted complaints about Brother A.F. Webster who was in charge of St Augustine's boys' orphanage in Geelong, Victoria (posted 28 August 2011).
The priest who left Australia to live in Malta: The Catholic Church in Australia has settled a sex-abuse complaint involving a Maltese-born priest, Father Emanuel Joseph Spiteri, who spent 35 years ministering in the Sale diocese in south-eastern Australia. In 1997, while this complaint was being made, Fr Spiteri returned to Malta, where he continued to be regarded as a priest (posted 14 June 2011).
Priest convicted on child-exploitation charges: Broken Rites has researched Catholic priest Neil Joseph Byrne, who pleaded guilty in court on 7 March 2012 on charges relating to child-exploitation. As a lecturer in a seminary, Fr Byrne has been involved in the training of Australia's Catholic priests (updated 19 May 2012).
A police officer alleges a church cover-up: A senior Victoria Police officer has told Broken Rites how police investigated a Melbourne priest about serious child abuse but (the police officer says) the church hierarchy managed to achieve a cover-up. The priest continued working in various parishes until he retired in 2006, after 51 years in the priesthood (posted 8 June 2011).
Civil action against the Christian Brothers: In April 2011 a legal firm filed a civil action in Queensland on behalf of a former student who alleges that he was sexually abused by Christian Brother J.G. Gladwin in a Brisbane Catholic school in the 1970s. Gladwin committed suicide while police were investigating him in 1998 (posted 7 May 2011).
A bishop helped victims but he is sacked: An Australian Catholic bishop (Bishop William Morris in south-western Queensland), who supported some of the church's sex-abuse victims in his region, has been sacked by the Vatican. But this, according to church sources, is not the reason for the sacking. Rather, it was because he was not conservative enough on other issues (posted 4 May 2011).
Bishop Christopher Toohey: From the public record, Broken Rites has compiled this summary about Bishop Christopher Toohey (of New South Wales), who has admitted publicly that he hurt "some young adults" in his early years as a priest (posted 1 May 2011).
Father Peter L. Comensoli: In 1989 the Wollongong Catholic diocese was warned that Father Peter Lewis Comensoli was sexually abusing boys in his parish, but the church authorities allowed him to continue in parish work. In 1993, a newspaper exposed this church scandal. Police then charged Comsensoli and he was jailed in 1994. But the church failed to laicize or defrock him and he was listed as "Reverend" for the next 16 years, until his name finally vanished from church directories in 2010 — 16 years after his conviction. This Father Comensoli is not to be confused with another clergyman — Auxiliary Bishop Peter A. Comensoli (posted 23 April 2011).
Salesian College: The leaders of a Catholic religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, have made an out-of-court settlement with a former schoolboy who alleged that he was sexually abused by a priest (Father John Ayers) while he was a pupil at a prominent Australian Catholic school (posted 30 January 2011).
Catholic Church sex-abuse victims in the Newcastle region in Australia have been so successful in demanding justice that their local bishop is longing for early retirement. These victims have shattered the church's traditional cover-up of these crimes (posted 6 January 2011).
Marist Brothers are "dysfunctional", an ex-Brother says: In December 2010 a former Catholic Marist teaching brother, now living in Queensland — Bede Hampton, aged 62 — was jailed in New Zealand for committing sexual offences against boys in a New Zealand Catholic boarding school in the early 1970s. According to the judge's sentencing statement, Hampton claimed that the offending arose because he was living in a dysfunctional religious order and was ill-suited to religious life. The judge said this did not justify Hampton's crimes. Hampton left the Marist Brothers when he was 29. He has become an interior decorator based in Queensland (posted 17 December 2010).
An ex-altar boy sues church re Father Sultana: Broken Rites Australia is researching Father Joseph Sultana, who is mentioned in a civil lawsuit in Queensland, Australia. A former altar boy is tackling the Cairns Catholic Diocese, alleging abuse by Fr Sultana (updated 12 November 2010).
A Catholic priest, Father Dennis John Corrigan, has appeared in court in New South Wales, where he successfully pleaded not guilty to charges of having indecently assaulted a 12-year-old boy on two occasions in the late 1980s while Corrigan was ministering in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese.
Mary MacKillop: The church's cover-up continues: Research by Broken Rites research has confirmed that Mary MacKillop (Australia's first saint, the co-founder of the Sisters of St Joseph) was punished by the church hierarchy after her nuns exposed a sexually-abusive priest, Father Ambrose Patrick Keating, in South Australia in 1870. In 2010, the church authorities are dodging this revelation (updated 21 October 2010).
A church-appointed investigator has confirmed that a Jesuit priest, Fr John Byrne, sexually abused a boy, aged 11, at Melbourne's Xavier College. Byrne previously taught at St Ignatius College, Riverview, in Sydney (posted 20 September 2010).
Church accepts complaint about Fr Ray Whitehouse: After action by Broken Rites, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has accepted a complaint from a former altar boy who was sexually assaulted by Father Raymond Whitehouse on several Sundays after Mass (posted 24 July 2010).
Brother Vincent Crawford in court: A Catholic religious brother, Vincent Crawford (a.k.a. Brother "Brendan" Crawford), of the Passionist Order, has appeared in court charged with sexual offences against a girl. The charges were withdrawn after the court was told that Crawford (aged 77 when charged) was medically unfit to undergo the court proceedings (posted 15 July 2010).
Since 1993, Broken Rites Australia has been researching the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Too often, the church supported the offending clergy while ignoring the victims. For example, Broken Rites has shown how the church shielded the criminal priest Father Gerald Ridsdale for 32 years without reporting his crimes to the police. Finally, in 1993, some Father Ridsdale victims contacted the police. These victims also contacted the newly-formed Broken Rites.
This photo demonstrates why Broken Rites was needed. In the photo, Catholic priest Gerald Ridsdale (left, in sunglasses and hat) walks to court, accompanied by his support person (Bishop George Pell, then an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne), when Father Ridsdale was pleading guilty to his first batch of criminal charges in May 1993. But no bishop accompanied the victims, who felt deserted by the church leaders. Therefore, since 1993, Broken Rites research has supported many of the Catholic Church's victims, as shown on this website. Read More