These cases are currently before (or coming up in) Australian courts

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Broken Rites Australia helps victims of church-related

By Broken Rites researchers

This page was last updated on 30 July 2013.

  1. Armidale court, NSW, re an ex-priest

    A former Catholic priest (aged 60 in 2013), who used to work in parishes in the Armidale diocese in northern New South Wales, is involved in court proceedings in 2013, charged with having committed multiple sex crimes against a number of altar boys (from the Moree parish) and against a number of girls (from elsewhere in New South Wales). For legal reasons, the court has prohibited any publishing of the man's name but this order may be subject to review. See more from Broken Rites here.

  2. Fr Bill Baker, Melbourne

    Father Wilfred James Baker, Melbourne Catholic archdiocese, who was jailed in 1999 for offences against boys, has been ordered to appear in court again in Melbourne in 2013 on additional charges. See the Broken Rites background story here.

  3. Bathurst court, New South Wales

    A 51-year-old man, who has previously been through the courts charged with sexually assaulting children at Bathurst NSW, was arrested again on 6 May 2013 and was charged with four additional child-sex offences. The man, who was formerly associated with a church boarding school, has been bailed to appear before a magistrate at Bathurst Local Court in mid-2013 for preliminary proceedings. Detectives from Strike Force Belle in Bathurst are continuing their investigations.

  4. Beenleigh court, Queensland, re a Brisbane priest

    A Catholic priest from the Brisbane archdiocese (now aged 77 and retired) is facing 57 charges of indecent treatment of children while he was working in parishes between 1977 and 1988. The case, involving more than a dozen children (of both genders, including some children from Beenleigh and some from Salisbury), came up for a brief mention in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on 12 March and 13 May in 2013. The court has adjourned the case for a committal mention on a later date. The case was prepared by detectives from the Child Safety and Sexual Crime Group at the Queensland Police State Crime Operations Command. See more here.

  5. Marist Brother Romuald Cable

    A member of the Catholic religious order of Marist Brothers — Brother Francis William Cable, 80, known as "Brother Romuald" — has been charged in Newcastle Local Court, New South Wales, in 2013, with two counts of buggery and 44 counts of indecent assault, allegedly committed against students of Marist Brothers schools at Hamilton and Maitland, NSW, in the 1960s and 1970s. The case (prepared by the Lake Macquarie Detectives Office at Charlestown, NSW) is scheduled to come before the court again soon. See more here.

  6. Brian Dennis Cairns

    After beginning in the early 1970s as a Christian Brother, Brian Cairns worked as a lay teacher ("Mister" Cairns) in Catholic schools in Queensland. In 1985 he was jailed for sex-crimes against boys. In October 2012, after more of his former male pupils contacted police, the Brisbane Magistrates Court ordered that Brian Cairns must face a judge in the Brisbane District Court (in 2013) on multiple charges involving alleged offences against these additional boys.

  7. Fr John Denham

    Father John Sidney Denham (of the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese, New South Wales), who is in jail for child-sex crimes, is scheduled to be charged again in Newcastle Court in early 2013 with offences against more boys. See a background article by Broken Rites here.

  8. Fr Finian Egan

    This Catholic priest, who belongs to the Broken Bay diocese in Sydney's north, appeared in court in 2012, charged with multiple sexual offences against young persons, allegedly committed in the 1970s and 1980s. Further court proceedings are sheduled for 2013. See more here.

  9. Fr Edward Evans, Canberra

    Father Edward Evans, 83, a priest of the Canberra-Goulburn diocese (and chaplain for Canberra's German-speaking community), appeared in the Canberra Magistrates Court on 7 June 2013, charged with indecently touching a girl on three occasions between 1994 and 1997 when the girl was aged 11 to 13. He pleaded not guilty. The next step in the court process is scheduled for a later date.

  10. Fr Lewis Fenton

    A retired priest, Father Lewis Fenton, aged 81 (from the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, New South Wales), has become the second Catholic clergyman in Australia charged with concealing someone else's child-sex crimes. On 4 January 2013, Fr Fenton was ordered to appear in a magistrates court on a later date. See more here.

  11. Fr Robert Flaherty

    A Catholic priest of the Sydney archdiocese, Father Robert Flaherty, 70, appeared in Penrith Local Court on 29 July 2013, charged with five counts of indecent assault offences against children dating back to the 1970s. The alleged victims, who were aged between 11 and 15, lived in several parishes in which Father Flaherty worked in western Sydney. The police investigation is continuing. See more here.

  12. Fr Julian Fox

    In the Melbourne Magistrates Court, Father Julian Benedict Fox (born 20 July 1945, a Catholic priest of the Salesian Fathers religious order) is facing ten charges (including buggery, indecent assault and common law assault), allegedly committed against four boys. Police allege that the incidents occurred between 1976 and 1985 when Father Fox was associated with two Melbourne Catholic schools — Salesian College "Rupertswood" (in Sunbury) and St Joseph's College (Ferntree Gully). See more here.

  13. Br John Gaven

    Brother John Francis Gaven, a member of the Catholic Church's Vincentian order, is scheduled to appear in Sydney District Court on a future date.

  14. Br Martin Harmata

    This 59-year-old member of the Catholic order of Patrician Brothers is awaiting sentence in Sydney's Parramatta District Court after he pleaded guilty to eight child-sex offences committed against three boys who were under his authority while he was working at Patrician Brothers College in Blacktown, western Sydney. See more from Broken Rites here.

  15. Br Bill Houston, Victoria

    In the 1960s, Christian Brother William Stuart Houston worked at St Augustine's orphanage, Geelong, Victoria. In 2010, he appeared in the Geelong Magistrates Court and was ordered to stand trial at the Victorian County Court regarding incidents of buggery and indecent assault, allegedly committed while he was at St Augustine's in the 1960s. The County Court process (indictment number Y.03305021) has not yet been completed. See more from Broken Rites here.

  16. Fr Jim Jennings

    James Patrick Jennings was once a Catholic priest in the Vincentian order. A magistrate has ordered Jennings to stand trial in the Victorian County Court (scheduled for later in 2013) on child-sex charges relating to when Jennings was a priest working at St Vincent's College (a boys' boarding school) in Bendigo, Victoria, in the 1960s. Police investigations (under Senior Sergeant Grant Morris, of Bendigo Police) are continuing. See more Victorian material from Broken Rites here, plus some New South Wales background here.

  17. Fr Frank Klep

    Father Frank Gerard Klep, of the Catholic Salesian order, who was jailed in 2005 for offences against boys, has been ordered to appear in court again in Melbourne in 2013 on additional charges. See the Broken Rites background story here.

  18. Brother Bernard McGrath

    On 11 June 2013, a New Zealand judge ordered that a former Catholic Brother, Bernard Kevin McGrath, 66, is to be extradited from New Zealand to Australia to face 252 charges, relating to offences allegedly committed on 35 young boys in church-run institutions in Australia between 1977 and 1986. For legal reasons, the media is prohibited from reporting any further details about this McGrath matter until the Australian court proceedings occur.

  19. Rick McPhillamy, Catholic layman

    Richard John McPhillamy (aged 52, formerly an acolyte at the Bathurst Catholic Cathedral and formerly an assistant dormitory master at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst) appeared in Bathurst Local Court, New South Wales, on 17 June 2013. He was charged with: aggravated sexual assault (victim under authority); aggravated sexual assault (victim under authority); and aggravated indecency (victim under 16 and under authority). He was bailed and was ordered to face court again on a later date.

  20. Melbourne priest

    On 26 June 2013 a Melbourne magistrates court ordered an 87-year-old retired priest (in the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese) to stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy more than 40 years ago. See more here.

  21. Fr David O'Hearn

    Legal proceedings are scheduled in the New South Wales District Court for Father David Anthony O'Hearn, of the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese in New South Wales, who is charged with child-sex offences. See more from Broken Rites here.

  22. Queensland Catholic Brother

    A Catholic religious Brother (occupying a senior position in a Catholic school in regional Queensland) appeared in a Queensland magistrates court on 3 June 2013, charged with a sexual assault. The alleged victim was not a student or a child. The Brother, whose name cannot be published at this stage, indicated that he intends to contest the allegation. The court process will continue on a future date. See more here.

  23. Fr David Rapson, Salesian Fathers

    David Edwin Rapson (born 30 July 1953), who used to be a Catholic priest (in the Salesian religious order), appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in November 2012, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed when Fr Rapson was a teacher at Salesian College "Rupertswood", in Sunbury (in Melbourne's north-west). A magistrate ordered Rapson to face a trial in the Victorian County Court (in 2013). The Victoria Police investigation is continuing (being conducted by detectives of the Sexual Crimes Squad, Flinders Street, Melbourne). See more from Broken Rites here.

  24. Gerald Ridsdale

    In the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 21 June 2013, detectives (from Taskforce Sano in the Victoria Police sex crime squad) filed 72 sex-crime charges against Gerald Francis Ridsdale, aged 79, alleging assaults on seven young males and three young females. The court remanded Ridsdale in custody until the case comes up for mention again on a future date. The court prohibited publication of Ridsdale's former occupation, the locations where the offences occurred and his current residential address.

  25. Fr Brian Spillane

    In the 1970s and 1980s Father Brian Joseph Spillane was a priest in the Vincentian Fathers religious order in New South Wales and Queensland. In the Sydney District Court in 2012, Spillane (then aged 69) was sentenced to nine years jail (with a non-parole period of five years) for indecently assaulting three girls aged between six and seventeen. He is currently scheduled for court proceedings regarding offences against boys. See more here.

Some recent court cases

  1. Fr Charlie Barnett

    A member of the Catholic Vincentian religious order, Father Charles Alfred Barnett ministered in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland for 20 years until the mid-1990s. He was sentenced in South Australia in August 2010 to at least four years for sexual offences against boys in that state. He is also facing complaints in other Australian states. See more from Broken Rites here.

  2. Br Robert Best

  3. Christian Brother Robert Charles Best (also known as Brother Bob Best) was convicted on 8 August 2011 for multiple offences against schoolboys. He was sentenced (at the age of 70) to 14 years and nine months (eligible for parole after serving 11 years and three months). See the Broken Rites story here.

  4. Fr Tom Brennan

    In Newcastle Local Court in New South Wales, Father Thomas Brennan was convicted of making a false written statement to police (the statement claimed that he could not remember receiving child sex-abuse complaints about another priest who was under his supervision). See more from Broken Rites here. Later, police charged Brennan with a more serious crime (failing to report the crimes of the other priest) but Brennan died before this charge reached court. See more from Broken Rites here.

  5. Fr Neil Byrne, Brisbane

    In Brisbane on 7 March 2012, the Very Rev Dr Neil Joseph Byrne was sentenced to nine months in jail (suspended for two years) after he pleaded guilty to possessing and making child-exploitation material. As a lecturer in a seminary, Byrne has been involved in the training of Australian Catholic priests. See more from Broken Rites here.

  6. Gerard Vincent Byrnes

    Gerard Byrnes (born in 1948) originally trained as a Christian Brother before becoming a lay teacher in Catholic schools in Queensland and New South Wales. On 4 October 2010, he was jailed for 8-10 years after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting girls at a Catholic primary school in Toowoomba, Queensland. He was the school's designated "child protection officer". See more from Broken Rites here.

  7. Fr Dennis Corrigan

    On 9 February 2012 Father Dennis John Corrigan, 68, who worked in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, north of Sydney, was acquitted in the New South Wales District Court on charges of indecent assault on a boy. See more from Broken Rites here.

  8. Br John Coswello

  9. Christian Brother John Francis Coswello was sentenced to jail after a jury found him guilty of committing sexual offences against a 12-year-old boy in a Melbourne orphanage. Later, the Victorian Court of Appeal granted him a re-trial, at which another jury found him not guilty. See more here.

  10. Fr Michael Endicott

    In Brisbane, Father Michael Ambrose Endicott has been given a one-year jail sentence (which was wholly suspended) after pleading guilty to two counts of indecent treatment of a schoolboy in the late 1970s. See more from Broken Rites here.

  11. Fr Rob Fuller

    Father Robert Macgregor Fuller, a priest at All Saints Catholic Church in Liverpool, in Sydney's southwest, has been jailed for seeking to procure a child under the age of 16 via internet chat sites. See more from Broken Rites here.

  12. Fr Des Gannon

    Father Desmond Gannon, who had been jailed previously for sexually abusing boys in the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese, was jailed again after another of his many victims contacted the police. See a comprehensive Broken Rites article about Gannon's many court appearances here.

  13. Fr John Houston, visiting New South Wales

    A Catholic priest, John Charles Houston (born 3 March 1955) has appeared in a court near Newcastle in New South Wales, accused of filming boys showering during a surf lifesaving carnival. The magistrate ordered that Houston be supervised by mental health workers, continue to take his medication and not loiter near public pools or beaches. See more here.

  14. Fr Bill Irwin

    William Stanley Irwin was originally a Brother (and then a priest) in the Catholic Vincentian order. A Sydney court heard how the church authorities protected Irwin, concealing his criminal behaviour in a church file marked "Strictly Confidential". A jury found Irwin guilty of two incidents of gross indecency against a youth whom he was "counselling". The judge imposed two six-months jail sentences, which were suspended upon Irwin undertaking a six-months good-behaviour bond. See more here.

  15. Ex-Brother Edward Mamo

    On 22 February 2013 a Catholic former religious Brother, Edward Mamo, aged 68, was jailed in Victoria after he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting seven boys (aged as young as eleven) at Monivae College, a Catholic secondary school, at Hamilton, 290 kilometres west of Melbourne, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. See more from Broken Rites here.

  16. Rick McPhillamy, Cathedral acolyte

    Richard John McPhillamy (who has been an acolyte at the Bathurst Catholic Cathedral and who is a former assistant dormitory master at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst) was sentenced to a minimum of 12 months jail after he was found guilty of sexual offences against two boys while he was working as an assistant housemaster at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst in the mid-1980s. See more here.

  17. Fr Murray Moffat

    Father Murray Alexander Moffat, of Brisbane, has been sentenced to 18 months jail, with the first three months to be spent behind bars and the remainder suspended for three years. He pleaded guilty to indecent treatment of a 12-year-old girl at Ipswich, Queensland, between 1977 and 1981. See the Broken Rites story here.

  18. Fr Hugh Edward Murray

    This Catholic priest (from the Vincentian order) appeared in court in Sydney, charged with indecently assaulting boys in the 1960s and '70s. A judge granted Murray a permanent stay because of his advanced age (in his eighties) and health problems. See more here.

  19. Br Ross Murrin

    Marist Brother Ross Francis Murrin has received additional jail time after pleading guilty to more child-sex offences at a second school in New South Wales. He is also the subject of complaints to police about a third school, in Queensland. See a comprehensive article from Broken Rites here.

  20. Fr Paul Pavlou

    Father Paul Pavlou, of the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese, has been convicted in the Melbourne Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to committing an indecent act against a 14-year-old boy and possessing child pornography. See more here.

  21. Fr Kevin Phillips

    In the Sydney District Court, Father Kevin Francis Phillips has been sentenced to jail for committing acts of gross indecency involving a 16-year-old boy at St Stanislaus boys' boarding school, Bathurst, New South Wales. See more here.

  22. Fr Kelvin Sharkey

  23. Father Kelvin Gerald Sharkey (a priest of the Wollongong Catholic Diocese in New South Wales) has been sentenced to a minimum 15 months in jail after pleading guilty to buggery and indecent assault of an altar boy. See the Broken Rites story here here.

  24. Paul Van Ruth, a former Brother

  25. Peter Paul VAN RUTH, of Adelaide, was jailed after he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two boys in 1969 while he was a religious Brother at Salesian College, "Rupertswood", Sunbury, Victoria. See the Broken Rites story here.

  26. Br Lambert Wise, Adelaide

    A South Australian court ruled that an elderly former Christian Brother, Francis Lambert Wise, was medically unfit to stand trial on alleged incidents of child-sexual abuse, dating back to 1964 and 1965. However, a judge held special hearings, enabling two of Wise's former pupils to have their allegations aired in court. Thus, the South Australian public was able to learn of the allegations. See more from Broken Rites here.

Previous court cases

  • Since 1993, Broken Rites Australia has advised each church victim how he/she is entitled to have a confidential chat with a specialist police officer to discuss whether it is possible for the police to prosecute the perpetrator. Some victims take this opportunity, often resulting in the offender being arrested and charged. These prosecutions, since 1993, are shown in the Broken Rites archives on our "Black Collar Crime" page. In addition, on the bottom half of the "Black Collar Crime" page, there some examples of out-of-court civil cases in which Broken Rites has had an involvement. See the Broken Rites "Black Collar Crime" page here.