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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


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.)

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.

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.

A bishop's deputy committed crimes against young girls

Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission has become interested in how the Catholic Church's "Towards Healing" process is handling (or mis-handling) complaints about a senior Australian cleric, the "Right Reverend" Monsignor Maurice Tully, who had a long career (until 1975) in northern New South Wales. Broken Rites research has found that Tully was an abuser of young girls, and these victims are now mature-age women who are still feeling hurt by the Catholic Church's protection of Tully (and by the church's evasive attitude towards the complaints by Tully's victims).

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

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 (to December 2015)

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 cases which have been researched by Broken Rites. We last updated this Black Collar Crime page in December 2015. The complete database of Broken Rites information is NOT available on the internet.

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.)

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.

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.

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.  

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.)

The Sydney Catholic hierarchy allowed a troublesome priest to roam free — and one victim later committed suicide

The Sydney Catholic hierarchy allowed a troublesome priest (Father Denis Daly) to roam free — and one victim later committed suicide.

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.)

Brother Gabriel Mount became Father Roger Mount.

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. The church has made payments to some former residents of those homes, in order to settle allegations about Roger Mount. (Article posted 17 October 2014.)

A former Catholic schoolboy speaks out

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).

The church apologises re this priest at a girls' school

Broken Rites Australia has prompted the Catholic Church to apologise to a Queensland woman who was sexually assaulted by a prominent priest when she was a schoolgirl in the early 1970s. (Article updated 6 July 2007.)

Priest dies while facing child-sex charges

On half a dozen occasions during 2013 and 2014, a Queensland magistrate granted an adjournment to a retired Catholic priest, Father Dermot Casey, who had been charged with sexual offences against ten children. The defence lawyers kept producing medical certificates saying that the priest (aged 78 in 2014) was not well enough to come to court.  Now Father Casey has died, thus defeating his victims. (Article updated  27 August 2014.)

How a victim (with police help) brought this priest to justice

From 1964 to 1994, Father Richard Cattell was a Catholic priest in parishes around Sydney. A boy who was sexually abused by Cattell in 1973 eventually told  police (twenty years later) about the abuse. This resulted in Cattell being jailed in 1994 after pleading guilty. This 1994 court case, researched by Broken Rites, demonstrates that church victims should report sexual crimes to the civil authorities, not to the offending organisation (the church). (Article updated 7 March 2014.)

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