Marist Brothers say sorry to these schoolchildren, many years later



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Broken Rites Australia helps victims of church-related
sex-abuse.


By a Broken Rites researcher

  • Article updated on 31 March 2012

In Australia in December 2011 the Catholic religious order of Marist Brothers finally agreed 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.

Broken Rites Australia helped these three ex-pupils to obtain their settlements.

Two males

The two males (let's call them "Paddy" and "Rupert" — not their real names) were born in the early 1950s. For their secondary education, they attended Red Bend Catholic College (situated on the Lachlan River at Forbes, 380 kilometres west of Sydney) in 1965-66 when Brother Kevin Hogan (originally known as "Brother Callixtus") was the principal. The school, then known as Marist Brothers College Forbes, took boys as boarders from a large rural region in western New South Wales.

Paddy and Rupert are not connected with each other and were not the same age — one was 12 and the other was 14 when they encountered Brother Callixtus Hogan.

In 2003 Rupert contacted the Catholic Church's Professional Standards Office ("Towards Healing") in Sydney, to complain about having been sexually abused at the school but (like many victims) he found Towards Healing evasive and unhelpful. As so often happens, Towards Healing and the Marist headquarters claimed that they had "no record of any previous complaints" about sexual abuse regarding Brothers at this school.

Therefore, in 2008, Rupert contacted Broken Rites, which continued to keep in touch with Rupert.

In early 2011, by co-incidence, Broken Rites was also contacted by Paddy. These two ex-pupils were acting separately — neither of them realised that any other ex-pupil from Red Bend Catholic College was contacting Broken Rites.

After hearing from Paddy, Broken Rites was able to inform Paddy and Rupert that each of them was not the only ex-pupil making a complaint.

One female

Meanwhile, in early 2011, Broken Rites was contacted by “Wendy” (not her real name) who encountered Br Callixtus Hogan in 1962, when she was aged 8 and living in Leeton, a rural town in southern NSW. Callixtus was not at Wendy’s school (a primary school in Leeton, staffed by nuns) but he used to visit her family’s house in Leeton.

More about Wendy later in this article.

Tackling the Marist Brothers

Broken Rites referred these three people — Paddy, Rupert and Wendy — to a solicitor who has had a lot of experience in extracting settlements from the Catholic Church authorities on behalf of victims. This solicitor completed the negotiations with the Marist Brothers in December 2011 — on behalf of the three ex-pupils.

The Marist Brothers then finally signed a settlement deed concerning Paddy, plus a separate settlement deed regarding Rupert and a separate deed regarding Wendy.

The settlements were extracted from the Southern Province of the Marist Brothers. This province, with headquarters in Melbourne, operated this school at Forbes in New South Wales, as well as schools in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. (A separate province, with headquarters in Sydney, operated Marist schools in New South Wales and Queensland.)

Brother Callixtus Hogan

Broken Rites research has ascertained that Brother Kevin Francis Hogan was born on 28 July 1924. As a child, he attended Marcellin College, Randwick, in Sydney, where he evidently began absorbing the Marist culture. He then joined the Marist Brothers and became "professed" as Marist on 7 February 1944, taking the "religious" alias Callixtus (in honour of a medieval "saint").

In the 1950s, Brother Callixtus Hogan taught at Drusilla junior seminary at Mount Macedon, north of Melbourne, preparing schoolboys to become Marist Brothers.

He then worked in various other Catholic schools, including these two:

  • In 1962-64 he was principal of St Francis de Sales College in Leeton, south-western New South Wales (this was when he used to visit the house of Wendy’s family in Leeton); and

  • In 1965-66 he was principal of Marist Brothers College, Red Bend, Forbes NSW (this was where Paddy and Rupert encountered him). In 1977 Marist Brothers' College Forbes was amalgamated with two Catholic schools for girls (Our Lady of Mercy College in Forbes and Our Lady of Mercy High School in Parkes) to form a co-educational school, now called Red Bend Catholic College, situated at the site of the former Marist Brothers' College, on the banks of the Lachlan River.

Eventually, Callixtus changed back to his real name, Brother Kevin Hogan. It is believed that another, older sibling from the Hogan family was also a Marist Brother.

Paddy

According to the settlement deed given to Paddy by the Marist Brothers, Paddy alleges that around 1965 he "was unlawfully assaulted by Brother Callixtus (Kevin Hogan) and he further alleges that, as a result of such unlawful acts, he sustained loss, damage and injuries and he may require specialist counselling and therapy..."

The deed also states: "The body corporate [that is the Southern Province of the Marist Brothers], on an ex-gratia basis and without any admission of liability on the part of any party, has agreed to pay a lump sum ... to [the former pupil], such payment being made in virtue of the fact that Brother Callixtus (Kevin Hogan) was a member of the [Marist Brothers] institute at all relevant times."

The deed says that the amount of the payout is confidential.

Taking advice from Broken Rites, Paddy also demanded (and received) a letter of apology from the Marists. The provincial of the Marists' Southern Province, Br Julian Casey, told "Paddy" in a letter dated 20 December 2011:

    "Thank you for talking with Br Alexis [Turton] last week. I was saddened by your description and I regret most sincerely that you were physically abused at a very young age by Br Calixtus whom you met in his capacity as a teacher at our college in Forbes....

    "Although I know that you have met with Br Alexis and accepted his apology on behalf of the Marist Brothers, I was keen to write to you in order to personally apologize and, on behalf of the Brothers, to express my sorrow for what has happened to you."

Rupert

Like Paddy, Rupert took the advice of Broken Rites and extracted a letter of apology from the Marist headquarters, as well as a settlement.

Rupert stated that, in the year after his encounter with Brother Callixtus, he was sexually abused by a second Marist Brother.

And a year after this, he says, he was approached in his dormitory by a third Brother, who invited him to come to the third Brother's bedroom, explicitly to engage in sex-play, but this time (being older) Rupert was shrewd enough to evade the third Brother.

The second Brother and the third Brother later left the Marist Order.

Rupert explained to Broken Rites why he had to remain silent for so many years before finally revealing his abuse at Forbes Marist Brothers. He said:

    "I was from another town (not Forbes). Therefore, when my parents sent me to Forbes Marist Brothers, I had to be a boarder.

    "I was born into a very religious Catholic family, and my parents certainly would not have expected me to be sexually abused in a Catholic boarding school

    "After the sexual abuse, I did not feel that I could tell my parents, particularly as the offenders were Marist Brothers. I would not have known how to even begin such a conversation.

    "As the first instance of sexual abuse was perpetuated by the principal of the college, a figure of immense power and authority to me as a young boy, I could not report the matter to the Brothers at the college.

    "The systematic sexual abuse I suffered at Forbes, from THREE Marist Brothers, significantly changed my personality and approach to life in general, in particular with interrelationships and communication with authority figures during my later career in the workforce.

    "I harboured the secret of this sexual abuse until revelations occurred in the media about sexual abuse in Catholic religious orders.

    "In June 2003 I made a formal complaint under the Towards Healing system to the Professional Standards Office in Sydney but this process was unsatisfactory.

    "In November 2006 I received a letter from the Marist Provincial office in Melbourne, claiming that their records showed no other evidence of sexual abuse of students by Brothers at Forbes during my years at the college. This claim, if true, suggested that I may have been the only student to suffer sexual abuse at the college, and this caused me severe anguish.

    "These matters have weighed heavily on me during my life and have continually tormented me. As I have become older I have wanted to obtain some acknowledgement from the Catholic Church of the systematic wrongdoing of the Brothers at Forbes Marist Brothers. For some reason, this has become more important as I approach the end of my life. It remains constantly in my memory ... the immense shame of why they specifically targeted me who they knew to be from a deeply religious Catholic family.

    "More than ever, as the public revelations have continued about the sexual abuse issues in religious orders I have come to understand that what happened to me was not acceptable. Moreover I realise that the way the Catholic Church has dealt with these issues has been appalling.

    "Both my father and mother have passed away. Now I feel that perhaps I can progress the issues that occurred in my schooldays."

Rupert was particularly interested to learn, through Broken Rites, that he was not the only victim of sexual abuse at the Red Bend college (despite what the Marists and Towards Healing had originally claimed).

Wendy

In 1962, when she was eight, Wendy was attending St Joseph's parish primary school in Leeton, conducted by nuns.

Wendy told Broken Rites:

    "I was in a very Catholic family, which was very involved with Catholic priests, nuns and Marist Brothers.

    "A number of Marist Brothers from St Francis de SalesCollege, Leeton, were frequent visitors to my home, and one of these was Brother Callixtus. I encountered him on numerous occasions, in situations where I found myself alone with him, but I knew that I was not allowed to tell anyone about what happened on these occasions. Anyway, I expected that I would not be believed.

    "My family's trust in the Catholic Church was violated.

    "Many years later, after my parents died, I mentioned Br Callixtus to another girl (three years older than me) and she revealed to me that her experiences with Br Callixtus were similar to mine.

    "I am glad that I finally contacted Broken Rites, because I then learned that this did not happen just in Leeton but also in Forbes. And my experience demonstrates that it happened to girls as well as to boys. So it is a good thing for the former schoolchildren of both Forbes and Leeton that all this has now come out."

Like Paddy and Rupert, Wendy received a written apology from the Marist headquarters, as well as the settlement. The apology said the Marists now wished to assure Wendy that what happened to her at the age of eight was not her fault.

Other Marist Brothers

Despite the Marists' attempt to protect the public image of their schools, the Broken Rites website has articles about several Marist sex-offenders whose careers included a stint at what is now Red Bend College, Forbes. For example:

  • Brother "Malcolm" Hall (real name Philip Stanley Hall) was the principal of the Red Bend college, Forbes, in 1959-61, a few years before Brother Callixtus Hogan. In 1998, Victoria police charged Br Malcolm Hall with sexual offences against Victorian children but he died before the court date. A Broken Rites article about Brother Malcolm Hall includes a detailed complaint about him from a boy at the Red Bend college, Forbes, in 1959.

  • Br Gerard McNamara taught at the Red Bend college, Forbes, in 1968 (this is just after Brother Kevin Callixtus Hogan was the principal there). A Broken Rites article about Brother Gerard McNamara tells how McNamara was convicted in Victoria in 2005 for sexual offences against Victorian children. The Victorian court case was confined to offences committed in Victoria.

  • Brother John Desmond Dyson (born 21 March 1950) was a teacher at the Red Bend college, Forbes, in 1974-78. He was convicted in victoria in 1997 for sexual offences committed at a Victorian Marist school in the 1980s. The article on Dyson demonstrates how the Marist Brothers went into damage-control about this court case, seeking to protect the Marists' corporate image.

In March 2012 the website of Red Bend Catholic College referred proudly to "the great teaching traditions of the Marist Brothers". But is the college proud about Brothers Callixtus Hogan, Malcolm Hall, Gerard McNamara and John Dyson?

Broken Rites is continuing its research about the Marist Brothers at Red Bend Catholic College in Forbes and St Francis de Sales College in Leeton — and elsewhere.