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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


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.

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.)

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.)

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, 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.)

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. 

Sex-abuse in the seminary

Broken Rites is continuing its research about how some young men, while studying to become Catholic priests, have been sexually abused by older priests. The victims might give up their studies, while the offenders survive in the priesthood. Here is a case-study of one victim. (Article updated 15 April 2014.)

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.)

Ex-priest says child-sex offences were normal among his colleagues

A convicted priest (Father David Edwin Rapson, who belonged to one of Australia's most prominent Catholic religious orders) has "blown the whistle" on his colleagues in this religious order, declaring that they too were committing sexual offences on schoolboys. Broken Rites has discovered Rapson's claim in some court documents. (Article posted on 2 February 2014.)

The Marist Brothers inflicted this abusive Brother on more victims

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Marist Brothers allowed the sex-abuse criminal Brother Ross Murrin to remain in their Order, thus giving him access to child victims. In 2014, Australia's national Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse is investigating this pattern of cover-up. See our 2014 update under the final sub-heading: "How the church treated this victim, Mr DK". (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 22 January 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.

Police criticize the Catholic Church for cover-ups

Police headquarters in the Australian state of Victoria have launched a scathing attack on the Catholic Church, accusing it of deliberately impeding its investigations into child-abuse crimes.

A Catholic priest, who was in charge of preparing future priests, sexually abused a child

A Tasmanian priest, Father Paul Anthony Connolly, who was in charge of preparing future priests, pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a child.  

Brother Damien John O'Dempsey was jailed for child-sex offences

The Australian Christian Brothers have been forced to acknowledge that one of their former leaders, Brother Damien John O'Dempsey, was a serial sex-offender, abusing children who were under his care and supervision in Catholic schools. (Article updated 4 January 2011).

A Christian Brother changed his name after being in jail

A convicted pedophile Christian Brother who changed his name from Ted Dowlan to Ted Bales to avoid publicity has pleaded guilty to additional offences after more of his victims contacted the police (instead of merely contacting the Catholic Church). Ted Bales, 64, is now behind bars again, awaiting sentence proceedings which will resume on 27 February 2015. (Article updated 6 February 2105.)

Christian Brother Francis Lambert Wise in a court case in South Australia

Wise: A South Australian court has ruled that an elderly former Christian Brother, Francis Lambert Wise, was medically unfit to stand trial on charges of child sexual abuse. However, a judge held hearings in early 2009 to receive the complaints, thereby giving the victims an opportunity to have their evidence aired in court (updated 4 August 2009).

How was this priest able to get away with committing so many crimes for so long?

A Catholic priest, Father Neville Joseph Creen, used his position and his standing in the community to hide his child-sex crimes from the police, an Australian court has been told. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

An altar boy's story

A former Catholic altar boy ("Cedric", born in 1950) has told Broken Rites about his experiences at the hands of Father Francis Xavier Brown (a Catholic priest in the Dominican religious order) in Adelaide around 1960. Cedric says he still feels hurt (half a century later) by his experience as an altar boy. (Posted 24 November 2013.)

Government report slams Catholic Church for cover-ups

Australia's first parliamentary inquiry into church child-sex abuse tabled its report on 13 November 2013. The report, commissioned by the Victorian State Parliament, criticises the Catholic Church's culture of cover-up and it recommends changing the laws behind which the Catholic Church has been sheltering. (Article updated 13 November 2013.)

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