Top Stories

Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


Church paid huge sums to lawyers to defend a criminal priest, Father James Fletcher: Background article

The Catholic diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in New South Wales has admitted that it paid an expensive team of lawyers to defend a paedophile priest in a child-abuse court case. The priest, Father James Patrick Fletcher, pleaded not guilty in 2004 to multiple counts of anal and oral sexual penetration of an altar boy, Daniel Feenan. The offences began in 1990, when Daniel was 12. A jury found Fletcher guilty on all charges. Legal experts have told the media that Fletcher's legal costs for the 11-day trial exceeded $200,000. The church's defence team included a Queen's Counsel, plus a second barrister and a solicitor. (Background article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

BACKGROUND: Broken Rites helped victims of Father John Denham to gain justice

Broken Rites has helped to obtain justice for victims of an Australian criminal Catholic priest, Father John Sidney Denham. His superiors and colleagues knew about his child-sex crimes but this information was concealed from the police. Finally, with advice from Broken Rites, some victims began to contact the police, so Denham was convicted in court in the year 2000 and again in 2010 and 2015 (and jailed). The sentencing judge made scathing comments about how this criminal priest had been protected by the Catholic Church. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

BACKGROUND: How the paedophile Father Denis McAlinden was inflicted on Australian children

Research by Broken Rites has revealed that the Catholic Church knowingly harboured the paedophile priest Father Denis McAlinden for 40 years, thus inflicting him on young girls in parishes around Australia and also overseas. The church has been paying small out-of-court settlements to some of McAlinden's victims, thus avoiding a larger court-based settlement. In November 2016, two sisters began to sue the Catholic Church in the New South Wales Supreme Court for a proper amount to settle their abuse by McAlinden. At the last moment, the church agreed to pay these two women a confidential out-of-court financial settlement, thus preventing the church's other victims from knowing the size of a court-related settlement. This Broken Rites article explains the background about Fr Denis McAlinden and the church's cover-up. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Background article: How the church pays LESS compensation to victims by using the "Ellis Defence" tactic

Cardinal George Pell is claiming now that he has "helped" the Catholic Church's sex-abuse victims. Therefore, let's look at how Pell's lawyers treated one of the church's victims — a former altar boy, John Ellis. Cardinal Pell (as head of the Sydney Catholic archdiocese) instigated the archdiocese's legal battle against John Ellis, according to evidence and documents presented to Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission. Pell's legal victory in 2007 (known as the "Ellis defence") now forces church-victims to accept a discounted in-house "Towards Healing" settlement instead of suing for proper compensation, the Commission was told. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 March 2018.)

George Pell's court case: The story so far. And what happens next?

Some time soon, Cardinal George Pell is expected to be in a Melbourne court to undergo trial-by-jury regarding "multiple" sexual offences allegedly committed by Pell in the state of Victoria in the 1970s and 1990s. In a preliminary session on 2 May 2018, the prosecutor and the defence lawyer proposed that the charges should be split into two trials (according to the year and place of the alleged incidents), with one batch of allegations to be heard by one jury, followed by another batch of allegations with a different jury. To protect the jury process, there usually can be no media reporting of such a split-jury case in Australian courts until after the second jury has finished its work. Therefore, for legal reasons, it would be some months (perhaps many months) before the public can know what has happened in the George Pell trials. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 May 2018.)

Yet another priest convicted regarding St Stanislaus College in Bathurst NSW

Father Glenn Humphreys, a priest in the Australia-wide Catholic order of Vincentian Fathers, has had a long career ministering in three Australian states. From the outset, at his first postings in New South Wales and Western Australia, Humphreys committed sexual offences against boys. He later became the priest in charge of the Townsville cathedral in North Queensland. Eventually some of his earlier victims spoke to police, resulting in Humphreys being convicted in two states: in 2014 he was jailed in Western Australia; and in mid-2018 he is due to be sentenced in New South Wales. His NSW case includes offences committed at St Stanislaus College (a boys' boarding school in Bathurst). This school has become notorious because of a number of convicted pedophile clergy at this school. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 May 2018.)

This "celibate" priest (a supporter of George Pell) is facing further controversy after appearing at Australia's Royal Commission

During George Pell's rise from being a priest to a cardinal, one of his supporters has been Melbourne priest John Walshe. The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has confirmed that it paid a $75,000 settlement (the maximum amount available) to a former student (John Roach) who has alleged that, when he was 18, he was sexually targeted by Father Walshe. The archdiocese gave a written apology to John Roach for the "wrongs and hurt" he suffered at the hands of Father Walshe. By January 2017, a number of Father Walshe's parishioners (at Mentone-Parkdale in Melbourne's south-east) succeeded in getting Fr Walshe to resign from their parish. This Broken Rites article is based partly on evidence given by Father Walshe to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission, including a claim by Father Walshe that he supports the policy of priestly "celibacy". (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

This criminal priest, Monsignor John Day, was helped by the church's cover-up

Broken Rites has forced the Catholic Church to admit that it protected one of Australia's worst paedophile priests, Monsignor John Day, for many years while he was committing sexual crimes against children in western Victoria. One church leader — Bishop Ronald Mulkearns — spoke in defence of Monsignor Day. At one stage, Monsignor Day had another criminal priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale, working under him — two criminal priests in the one parish. And later a eulogy of Monsignor Day was published in the diocese's magazine (about this time, Father George Pell became editor of this magazine). A police officer, Detective Denis Ryan, began investigating Monsignor Day's crimes but this resulted in Detective Ryan losing his job in the police force. In 2018, the Victoria Police have finally apologized to Denis Ryan. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 May 2018.)

The church covered up a reverend Brother’s crimes but he was jailed again in 2018

When Frank Keating became a De La Salle Brother in his late teens, he was given the religious name "Brother Ibar", in honour of an ancient Irish saint. But Brother "Ibar" Keating was no saint — he was committing sexual crimes against his pupils. His superiors knew this but they allowed him to continue offending in Catholic schools around Australia for many years more. Eventually, some of Keating's victims reported him to the police, and he was jailed in 1998. Since his jailing, additional victims from the 1970s have spoken to police, and therefore Keating was jailed again on 20 April 2018, aged 75. This Broken Rites article gives the full story of the church's cover-up of Brother "Ibar" Keating. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 May 2018.)

The De La Salle Brothers had a sex-abuser to recruit new Brothers

For 25 years, the Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers had a sex-offender (Brother Fintan Dwyer) as their "vocations director", recruiting Australian teenagers to become trainee Brothers. His story is an interesting case-study in how the church came to have sex-offenders within its religious orders.

Part-time "celibacy": How Jane was left holding a priest's baby

The Catholic Church in Australia has supported a priest who abandoned his own child. The priest (let us call him Father "Basil") had a long-time relationship with a woman ("Jane"), resulting in the birth of a son. But the priest eventually left the relationship and refused to see his son again. The child was grieving over the loss of his father but the church refused to reveal the priest's whereabouts. In December 1999, when the son was twelve, the church made a very small financial settlement with the abandoned mother, freeing the church of any further liability. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A church report in 2002 contains allegations about George Pell abusing an altar boy in 1961-62

Australia's Catholic Church hierarchy received a complaint in 2002 that a trainee priest (George Pell) had sexually abused a twelve-year-old altar boy (named Phil) in 1961-62 at a holiday camp for boys on Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. According to a church document, Phil has alleged that, on several occasions, the trainee priest George Pell (then about 20) thrust his hand down the inside of Phil's pants and got "a good handful" of the boy's penis and testicles; and, on other occasions, George Pell allegedly tried to guide the boy's hand into the front of Pell's pants. By the year 2000, when Phil was aged 50, he realised that the trainee priest George Pell had risen to become an Archbishop. Phil was shocked — "he did not think it right that someone who had behaved indecently towards children should lead the church," the church document says. So, beginning in 2000, Phil tried to alert the church authorities. Phil emphasised that he was not seeking compensation. And he was not reporting this matter to the police (therefore there is no police investigation into Phil's complaint). Rather, Phil was concerned about the safety of children in the church's care; and he merely wanted the church authorities to be aware of the offences that were allegedly committed upon him (Phil) at the altar boys' camp. In 2002, the hierarchy paid a senior barrister, Mr Alec Southwell QC, to examine (and report on) Phil's complaint. Archbishop George Pell (who was indeed at the altar boys' camp) denied committing any abuse. Mr Southwell's report concluded that the former altar boy "appeared to speak honestly from an actual recollection". Mr Southwell said he was not persuaded that the former altar boy was a liar as alleged by Pell. [The incident in 1960-1961 is not included in the criminal charges that Pell is facing in court in 2018 because the former altar boy Phil has not reported this matter to the police — and Phil says he does not want to re-open his 1960-1961 matter now because he is still feeling hurt by the manner in which he says Pell's defence team brutalised him when he tried to report it to the church authorities in 2002.]

Fr Michael Glennon and his life of crime

This Broken Rites article is a concise summary of the criminal career of Father Michael Charles Glennon, a priest in the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese, who was jailed for some (but not all) of his crimes. Thanks to Broken Rites and the Victoria Police, Glennon was facing more criminal charges when he died in jail on New Year's Day in 2014.

A vulnerable young woman became a victim

The Catholic Church in Australia has been forced to apologise to a woman ("Diana") who was sexually abused by a priest (Father Gerard Monaghan) immediately after the death of her husband. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Christian Brother is jailed at age 84, on a charge from 50-plus years ago

According to Broken Rites research, Christian Brother Brian Hamilton (also known as "Brother J.E. Hamilton") has had a long career teaching boys in Catholic schools in four states — Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. On 4 May 2018, at the age of 84, he was jailed regarding child sexual-abuse committed at one school in Western Australia 50 years ago. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 5 May 2018)

Background article: How the church protected Father Paul David Ryan for many years — and one victim died by suicide

This Broken Rites article reveals how Catholic Church authorities covered up the child-sex crimes of an Australian priest, Father Paul David Ryan, during his career in the state of Victoria (and also during seven visits by Ryan to the United States). This enabled Ryan to endanger more children in more parishes in TWO countries. Eventually, helped by Broken Rites, some victims began reporting Ryan to Victoria Police detectives, resulting in a jail sentence for Ryan in 2006. Now, Paul David Ryan is facing court again in 2018 after more of his alleged victims have spoken to the detectives. The 2018 case is referred to at the end of this article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 April 2018.)

Background article: The church's 50-year cover-up of Father Finian Egan's crimes

Irish-born Catholic priest Finian Egan was transferred to Australia in 1959, and he soon began committing sexual crimes against Australian children. The Catholic Church protected him in Australia for the next five decades until some of his victims (with help from Broken Rites) succeeded in getting him convicted. A Sydney court sentenced Egan to a minimum of four years in jail, and this sentence expired on 19 December 2017, when Egan was released, aged 82. According to church law, Father Egan still retains his priestly status (but is retired from parish work). In 2018, his Australian victims would like to see Father Egan deported back to Ireland but, so far, the Australian government has not succeeded in doing this. This Broken Rites article describes how the church covered up for Egan during his life of crime. (Article updated on 28 April 2018.)

The priest and the schoolgirl — and an abortion

Broken Rites is doing further research about a Sydney Catholic priest, Father Kevin Cox, who sexually abused vulnerable girls. For example, one victim (Broken Rites will refer to her as "Mandy") has revealed that Father Cox sexually abused her for six years from the age of eleven. Furthermore, the sexual abuse resulted in a pregnancy at age 17 — and then the priest paid for an abortion. But the church continued to protect Father Cox. Church leaders and fellow-priests continued to regard Father Cox as a church hero. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

We expose Ronald Conway, the church's "hands-on" psychologist

For thirty years a prominent Australian Catholic psychologist, Ronald Conway, had a part-time role in assessing and helping trainee priests in the church's Melbourne seminary. Conway also worked as a consulting psychologist in psychiatric hospitals and in private practice, and some of his male patients say that Conway touched them sexually when they consulted him for professional help. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 21 January 2018.)

The church harboured this pedophile Marist Brother and now he admits more of his crimes

This Broken Rites article reveals how the Catholic Church harboured a child-sex abuser, Marist Brother Gerard Joseph McNamara, teaching in Catholic schools, for four decades until some of his victims began speaking (separately) to the Victoria Police child-protection detectives. When the police charged McNamara regarding the first batch of these victims, the Marists enthusiastically supported McNamara and ignored the victims. But Broken Rites supported the victims — and in 2004-2005 McNamara finally pleaded guilty and was convicted. This prompted more of McNamara's former students to contact the detectives. In 2016, McNamara pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two more of his victims, resulting in another conviction. On 19 March 2018, McNamara appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to sexual offences against five more of his former schoolboys. He is currently awaiting sentence. The 2018 court proceedings are reported at the end of this Broken Rites article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 April 2018.)

Father Vincent Kiss and his life of crime

An Australian Catholic priest, Father Vincent Kiss, has admitted that he committed sexual crimes on boys while he was working as the Director of Youth for his diocese. He plied the boys with alcohol, drove them around in fast cars and took them on holidays, where he sexually abused them. Later he became prominent in Australian social circles. Broken Rites is doing further research about Vincent Kiss and his priestly mates.

The church hid the crimes of Brother Ted Dowlan (alias Ted Bales) — but Broken Rites helped to expose this cover-up

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Christian Brothers organisation concealed the crimes of Brother Edward Dowlan (now known as Ted Bales). From the start, the Christian Brothers knew that Dowlan was committing criminal sexual assaults against Australian schoolchildren but, instead of dismissing him, the Christian Brothers kept transferring him to more schools, thus giving him access to more victims. His victims were usually aged about 11 or 12 but some were as young as 8 or 9. In the 1990s, when some victims finally reported him to the police, the Christian Brothers supported Dowlan and tried to defeat the victims. The victims eventually won by getting him jailed in 1996 and again in 2015. Prosecutors considered Dowlan's 2015 jail sentence to be inadequate, so they lodged an appeal and gained a longer jail term. Many of Brother Dowlan's victims have had their lives damaged by the church's cover-up — and several of his victims ended up in suicide. Some other Dowlan victims have not yet contacted the detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Background article: The church protected Father John Joseph Farrell

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders remained silent for 30 years about Father John Joseph Farrell's sex-crimes against children. In 1993, Broken Rites began researching the Farrell cover-up. In 2012, our research helped to make a "Four Corners" television program about the Farrell cover-up, thus bringing this cover-up to nationwide attention. And this has helped to encourage the Federal Government to establish its national child-abuse Royal Commission. Gradually, Broken Rites (but not the church officials) encouraged some of Farrell's victims to talk with child-protection police, resulting in the jailing of Farrell in 2016, when he was aged 63. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 March 2018.)

Background article: Father David O'Hearn is in jail and now he faces more charges

During the 1980s and 1890s, Father David Anthony O’Hearn worked in parishes in the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese, north of Sydney. Now he is in jail where he is serving a minimum nine years’ jail for sexual offences against young boys. On 6 March 2018, police visited the jail to charge O'Hearn (now aged 56) with additional offences after one more alleged victim had spoken to detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 March 2018).

George Pell's lawyer admits being tough on the alleged victims in court

In the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 17 April 2018, the prosecutors and the defence made their final submissions at Cardinal George Pell's pre-trial hearing (in which Pell is charged with committing multiple offences in the state of Victoria). In summing up his defence, Pell's chief lawyer (Robert Richter QC) admitted that he had been tough on Pell's alleged victims while cross-examining each of them in early March in the closed court (the media are never allowed into court during sex-abuse victims' evidence). Some parts of Richter's final submission (in open court) on April 17 were widely reported but the website of The Australian newspaper on April 17 added this interesting paragraph: He [Richter] also said his cross-examination of alleged victims could be considered "brutality” but it was necessary to expose perjury. “While I apologise for the manner, I do not apologise for the content,” he said. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 April 2018.)

This Catholic school was staffed by child-sex criminals

Christian Brother Stephen Francis Farrell was one of the child-abusers who committed sexual crimes against young boys at Australia's now-notorious St Alipius parish school in Ballarat in the 1970s. Church leaders ignored the activities of these criminals. Later, Farrell left his religious order and was rewarded with a job as a teacher in other Catholic schools (as "Mister" Farrell). He married three times. Meanwhile, the Catholic culture forced Farrell's victims to remain silent about his crimes. Eventually, his damaged victims began to report their experience to Victoria Police detectives. Thus, in 1997 and again in 2013, Farrell was convicted in court regarding these particular victims. On 22 February 2018, Farrell (now aged 66) was convicted again regarding more of his victims and was ordered to spend a part of this sentence behind bars. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 March 2018.)

The Christian Brothers sheltered Brother Dave Standen while he damaged these vulnerable young lives

Broken Rites is doing further research about how the Catholic order of Christian Brothers enabled Brother William Peter ("Dave") Standen to commit sexual crimes against boys in a southern New South Wales boarding school between 1977 and 1981. The boys (aged 10, 11 12) were feeling isolated and homesick in their first year as boarders, away from their rural families. Overwhelmed by the church's "holy" image, the boys were forced to remain silent about the crimes for many years. Thirty years later, one of these victims spoke to a NSW Police detective, who then located some more of Brother Standen's victims from this school. These victims have each told how the church's culture of cover-up damaged their later lives, ending up in family break-ups and/or life-long struggles with drug and/or alcohol abuse and disrupted careers. Meanwhile, Brother Standen rose to senior positions in the Christian Brothers, including as a school principal in Sydney. In 2016, a judge sentenced Brother Standen to jail, and now his victims are still trying to repair their lives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 February 2018.)

The church versus Anthony and Chrissie Foster: Some background

One of Australia's most notorious paedophile priests, Father Kevin O'Donnell, committed sexual crimes against children throughout his 50-year career in Melbourne Catholic parishes while his superiors and colleagues looked the other way. In his final years, he even received public praise from one of his superiors, Bishop (later Cardinal) George Pell (see further down in this article, under the sub-heading "Praise from George Pell"). Eventually some of O'Donnell's victims (with help from Broken Rites) contacted the police and got O'Donnell convicted and jailed. Later, more people came forward with complaints about Father O'Donnell (including Anthony and Chrissie Foster, whose two young daughters encountered O'Donnell in his final parish). After all this exposure about Father O'Donnell, Archbishop George Pell hired a public relations firm to paint Pell as a pioneer in "helping" victims. Therefore, Anthony and Chrissie Foster asked Pell to grant proper compensation to help their two damaged daughters, but Pell's lawyers tried to defeat the Fosters (instead of "helping" them). The story of the Fosters is told in the second half of this Broken Rites article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 12  December 2017.)

How the church concealed Father Terry Pidoto's life of crime: FULL STORY

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church protected Father Terry Pidoto for 25 years while he committed crimes against boys in his parishes. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

This "celibate" priest fathered two children, his colleagues say

The Catholic Church advertises its priests as being "celibate", but priests can have private relationships (either "gay" or "straight") if this is hidden from the public. For example, Father John O'Callaghan, of Melbourne, had a relationship with a woman, who gave birth to Father O'Callaghan's two daughters. These girls have grown up into adulthood, knowing that they are the offspring of Father John O'Callaghan. The private life of Fr John O' Callaghan is no secret among the Melbourne clergy of his generation but the public did not know about it. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 10 January 2018.)

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Top Stories