Latest stories

Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


This bishop protected the church's "holy" image, instead of protecting children

Broken Rites research has discovered how an Australian Catholic leader (Bishop William Brennan) covered up allegations of clergy sex-abuse in his diocese. Police charged one of Brennan's priests (Father Bernard Connell) with allegedly abusing two boys in different parishes but Bishop Brennan hired an expert legal team to defeat the charges. One of these victims then asked Bishop Brennan for help but the bishop shunned him. The bishop's main aim was protecting the church's holy image, instead of protecting children. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

It is never too late to have a chat with the detectives, as this case proves

This court case is an example of how it is possible for victims of church child-abuse to get their perpetrator convicted many years after the abuse. In the 1970s, Marist Brother John Skehan had multiple victims in Catholic schools in New South Wales and Victoria. Forty years later, one victim got Brother Skehan convicted in a New South Wales court in 2010 and another victim scored a similar victory over Skehan (aged 75) in a Victorian court in 2014. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A young female victim defeats the church's lawyers, with help from Broken Rites

If a victim of clergy sexual abuse wishes to sue the Catholic Church for damages, the victim’s chances of success are much greater if he/she can demonstrate that the church knew previously that the offender was a sexual abuser. It is usually difficult for the victim to prove this. This Broken Rites article is an example of a case in which the church could not evade its liability. In early 2007, a 23-year-old woman ("Emily") won a victory over the Catholic Church’s lawyers. Emily forced the church to pay her a substantial civil settlement for having had her life damaged by a Catholic priest, Father Kevin Howarth, in Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A priest is charged regarding alleged incidents in Sydney in 1993

In 2019, New South Wales police have charged a Catholic priest (Father Ron Peters) with having indecently assaulted a schoolboy in Sydney in 1993 (this was before Ron Peters became a priest). Ronald Peters (born in 1958) has written about how he was originally a Brother in the Catholic teaching order of Patrician Brothers in NSW (in the 1980s and 1990s). Early in the 2000s, he was accepted by the Wollongong diocese (south of Sydney) as a trainee priest and, after training as a deacon in parishes, he was finally ordained as a priest for this diocese in 2005. The indecent-assault charge is due to have a preliminary mention in court in mid-2019. (Article updated 10 July 2019.)

The church keeps a priest after a payout to a victim

A former Australian Catholic bishop has confirmed that he appointed a priest (Father Guy Hartcher) to administer a parish after the church had paid a $40,000 settlement involving the priest. The payout went to a former pupil, on condition that he did not tell the police about the alleged abuse. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church covered up the crimes of Father Daniel Lyne

The Catholic religious order of Passionist priests covered up for a serious child-abuser, Father Daniel Lyne, while he committed sexual crimes against teenage boys who were aspiring to become a Catholic priest. In 2002, while Daniel Lyne was facing the likelihood of a criminal prosecution, he suddenly died — just in time, before court proceedings could begin. Thus, he evaded a possible jail sentence. Daniel Lyne's fellow-priests are remaining silent about his crimes. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The Marist Brothers harboured this criminal while he abused children

Brother Colgan Taylor had an exalted role as a "spiritual director" for the Catholic order of Marist Brothers in Australia while he was committing sexual crimes against young children. The reverend brother's Catholic status gave him access to children and it protected him from exposure until 2002, when police finally learned of sexual crimes that Taylor had committed, more than 20 years earlier, against two very young girls. It is possible that he also had male victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Fr Emanuel Spiteri left Australia but continued to be a priest 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. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Does the public have a right to know?

In court in late 2012, a Catholic religious Brother (Br Martin Harmata, of the Patrician Brothers order) was charged with sexually abusing children at a school in Sydney's west (Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown). The question arose about whether Brother Harmata could be granted a media-suppression order. (This would prevent the public — and any other victims — from learning Harmata's name and the name of the school.) However, the suppression order was removed. Thus, the people of Sydney have been allowed to learn about this case. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

These victims, now in their fifties, bring an offender to justice after 36 years

A former teacher, Kevin Wilmore Myers, now aged 73, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 11 June 2019, charged with having committed sexual offences against a number of boys at a Catholic secondary college in south-western Victoria in the early 1960s. Myers is pleading guilty. The magistrate placed a non-publication order on the name of the school in order to protect the privacy of the victims, who are now aged in their fifties. This order can be reviewed when Myers returns to court for sentencing. Former students allege that, in the 1960s, the school covered up the Myers problem. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 12 June 2019.)

Marist Brother Malcolm Hall died during prosecution for child-sex crimes

In the 1950s and 1960s, prominent Marist Brother Malcolm Hall was sexually abusing boys and girls in four country towns around Australia. Today, half a century later, his victims still feel hurt by the offences and by the Catholic Church's cover-up. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A priest is convicted in 2019 for a crime committed 54 years ago

A 2019 court case has proved that, under Australian law, it is never to late for any child-assault victim to report the crime to the child-protection police.  In 1965, Catholic priest Allan John Mithen (then aged 25) twice indecently assaulted an Aboriginal girl while he was in charge of a West Australian institution for Aboriginal children who had been taken from their families. In the West Australian District Court on 15 January 2019, Father Mithen (by then aged 80) pleaded guilty to these two assaults and was convicted. Mithen had also worked as a priest in Sydney and Melbourne and possibly elsewhere. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 29 July 2019.)

Christian Brother Peter Toomey pleads guilty regarding child-sex offences

Brother Peter John Toomey has been a member of the Christian Brothers Order since joining it in 1967 at the age of 18. He began a long career, teaching boys in various Catholic schools in Melbourne and regional towns. Many years later, after they became adults, some of these former students reported Toomey to the Victoria Police sex-crime detectives for committing indecent assaults. In 2005, Toomey was jailed regarding ten of his victims. In 2017, Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission received further complaints from Toomey's former students; and the Royal Commission advised these victims to speak to the detectives. In May 2019, Toomey was convicted again after pleading guilty regarding two more of his victims. . (Article by a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 8 May 2019)

The crimes of this Franciscan Brother were covered up

The Australian headquarters of the Franciscans (the Order of Friars Minor) have been forced to acknowledge that Brother Paschal Bartlett was a child-abuser. This Brother joined the Franciscan Order in the 1920s, moving through parishes in Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand and Sydney. He supervised altar boys for almost 50 years in these parishes, exploiting his position of authority to sexually abuse them. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Inside story: Broken Rites knew about these two abusive priests

In 1993, Broken Rites Australia began researching sexually-abusive Catholic priests, including Fr Ronald Pickering and Fr John Stockdale. Eighteen years later, in September 2011, another clergyman (Archbishop John Hepworth) revealed in the media that Pickering and Stockdale were among three priests who sexually abused him, beginning in 1960 when he was aged 15. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

A classic cover-up, putting more children in danger

Research by Broken Rites Australia has found how the Catholic Church covered up sexual abuse by a religious Brother at a church school in Queensland. The cover-up enabled the offender to attack more victims.

The Christian Brothers pay a settlement to an ex-pupil in Sydney

The Christian Brothers organisation in Australia has signed a civil settlement with a former pupil of Christian Brothers College at Manly (in Sydney), who attended this school as a 13-year-old boy about 1973.  According to the settlement deed, this ex-pupil alleged that he was “unlawfully assaulted by Brother Peter N. Lennox, the principal of the school".

The church has made payments to settle these complaints about abuse of disadvantaged boys

The Catholic Church has paid settlements to men who allege that they were abused many years ago by Father Roger Mount while he was a Brother in the Catholic St John of God Order, running children's homes (for disadvantaged boys) in Australia. The church allowed Father Mount to continue ministering as priest for many years in Papua New Guinea until the Australian media published articles about him in 2014. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 June 2019.)

Ex-students complain about Catholic clergy at this Salesian college

Former students of a Catholic boys' school in South Australia (Salesian College, Brooklyn Park, Adelaide) have complained that at least three senior priests at this school between the 1960s and the 1980s were child abusers. The abuse happened under the noses of the Melbourne-based national headquarters of this Catholic religious order, the "Salesians of Don Bosco". (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Victims of this priest obtained justice after 36 years

Victims of this priest were intimidated into silence but now they obtain justice after 36 years. Father Gregory Laurence Ferguson, of the Marist Fathers, who was jailed on 15 May 2007 for offences against two boys aged 13 at a Tasmanian boarding school, was given an additional jail sentence on 13 December 2007 for offences against a third boy. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 April 2019.)

A priest, now 84, is jailed for two years for crimes committed 50 years ago

Two former schoolboys (both now aged in their sixties) have finally brought a Catholic priest to justice in Australia for crimes that he committed on them more than 50 years ago. On 19 December 2018, Father Thomas Fulcher (now aged 84) was jailed for a minimum of two years after pleading guilty to these crimes. After committing a sexual assault, Father Fulcher would even force a child to undergo the sacred ritual of Confession, in which the child would be committed to "secrecy" regarding the incident. Father Fulcher, who is still officially a priest (in retirement), is a member of a Catholic religious order (the Society of Mary) which has branches around Australia. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

These three victims have extracted a settlement from the Marist Brothers

The Catholic religious order of Marist Brothers in Australia have been forced to make out-of-court settlements with three former Catholic schoolchildren (two males and one female) who encountered a senior Marist Brother (Brother Kevin Callixtus Hogan) in the 1960s. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

This priest committed child-abuse at Melbourne's Xavier College but he went on to have a long career as a priest

A former student from Melbourne's Xavier College (we will refer to him as "Boris") has finally complained to the church authorities that in 1972, aged about 13, he was sexually abused by a Jesuit priest, Father Peter Quin. Boris could not complain during his childhood because he knew that this revelation would hurt his "loyal Catholic" family. Boris had to suffer in silence until he was in his fifties. Then the Jesuits made a settlement with Boris, thus protecting the public image of this elite Jesuit school. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 8 April 2019.)

The church selected this child-rape criminal to become a priest, thus giving him more victims

This Broken Rites article is about Father Paul Pavlou, who was recruited in his forties to become a trainee priest for the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese. During his priestly training, he committed child-sex crimes. Later, as a priest in parishes, he committed more of these crimes. In recent years he has been convicted (with a non-custodial sentence) regarding some of his crimes, and on 1 April 2019 he was jailed for the sexual penetration of another victim. Father Pavlou's story raises questions about how the church selects its priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 April 2019.)

This priest was committing indecent acts against children from Day One, a court is told

A Catholic priest, Father Bryan Desmond Coffey, was indecently touching young children immediately after being ordained, an Australian court has been told. During Coffey's 37 years in the priesthood, church leaders kept hearing about his criminal behaviour but they always concealed this information from the police, thus protecting the church's holy image of priestly "celibacy". Finally, one victim reported Father Coffey crimes to the police, instead of merely to the church. Coffey was convicted in court, and the media publicity forced the church authorities to realise that they could no longer merely transfer Coffey to another parish. He continued to be a priest, but a priest without a parish. Broken Rites has researched the court transcript to compile the following account of how the church covered up the crimes of Father Bryan Coffey. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The Marist Brothers covered up the crimes of Brother "Kostka" Chute — for 40 years

This Broken Rites article tells how the Marist Brothers harboured a child-sex offender (Brother John William Chute) throughout his long career, giving him wide access to Australian Catholic schoolchildren. Broken Rites has ascertained that the Marist Brothers appointed Chute (whose religious name is "Brother Kostka") to at least 12 Catholic schools in Australia between 1952 and 1993, ranging from Lismore in northern New South Wales to Marcellin College in Randwick, Sydney, as well as at least one school in Queensland. His final school was Marist College in Canberra, and it was some Canberra pupils who finally got him convicted and jailed in 2008. However, this Canberra court case was confined to crimes committed within the Australian Capital Territory. Since then, more of Chute's former Canberra students have spoken to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission (and also to the A.C.T. police), alleging more offences by "Kostka" Chute in Canberra; but in 2019 the Marists' lawyers are claiming that Brother Chute (now aged 86) is too unfit to undergo a trial on these new charges. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 27 March 2019.)

A Jesuit priest was jailed for child-porn but still gets church support

Father Stanislaus Hogan, a senior Jesuit priest who has been based at some of Australia's most prominent Catholic schools, was sentenced in 2015 to at least 10 months jail after he admitted accessing and possessing child pornography. His schools have included Xavier College in Melbourne, St Aloysius College in Sydney and St Ignatius College in Adelaide. A church spokesman indicated that, after finishing his jail sentence, Hogan would be welcome to live in retirement in a Jesuit community in Australia, and the Jesuits would continue to give him financial support.

The church sheltered this criminal while he damaged some 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 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 the principal of St Mary’s Cathedral College in Sydney while George Pell was Sydney's archbishop. 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 6 March 2019.)

The church protected Fr Len Monk while he committed sexual crimes against boys

Elderly men have told Broken Rites that Catholic Church inflicted a paedophile priest, Father Leonard Monk, on them when they were young boys in western Victoria in the 1940s, 1950s;and 1960s. The church authorities covered up for Monk and protected him, thereby turning him loose on additional victims. The victims told Broken Rites that the church's "holy" image intimidated them into not reporting Monk's crimes. Thus, they had to suffer in silence until they finally revealed their story in their old age.

The church inficted this pedophile priest on victims in two states

Broken Rites has researched the career of Catholic priest Father Adrian van Klooster. He started his priestly career in New South Wales but, after offending there, he was transferred across the continent to work in parishes in Western Australia. He was jailed in 2003 for sexual crimes against W.A. children. After van Klooster's bad publicity, the Catholic Church chose not to appoint him to any more parishes. On 8 September 2017, Van Klooster was jailed again in W.A. for recent child pornography offences. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 June 2018)

Pages

Subscribe to Broken Rites Australia RSS