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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


A Christian Brother is facing a court trial on charges from 40 years ago

For several decades, Christian Brother Peter Nicholas Lennox worked in various Catholic schools in Sydney and in regional New South Wales. In 2018 (now aged 76), he is facing charges in court regarding sexual offences, allegedly committed against boys at two of those schools in the early 1970s. A church defence lawyer has previously claimed that Lennox is "not well enough" to undergo a trial. The court, however, has scheduled the trial to begin in October 2018. (Article updated 19 October 2018.)

A Catholic priest abused teenage boys at a parish in Sydney, police allege

A former Catholic priest, James Joseph Cunneen, aged 59, is facing a criminal trial in a New South Wales District Court in late 2018, charged with sexual offences which were allegedly committed thirty years ago against a number of teenage boys who were associated with the "Holy Name of Mary" Parish at Rydalmere in Sydney's north-west. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 19 October 2018)

Police allege a priest assaulted 30 children during 30 years (while church leaders looked the other way)

For 34 years until 1995, Father David Joseph Perrett was a Catholic priest in New South Wales. In 2018 (aged 81 and retired) he has been charged by police with committing sexual crimes against 30 children throughout his priestly career. That is, his alleged 30-year crime spree occurred under the noses of the church authorities. The charges against Perrett include buggery, carnal knowledge of a child under 10, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The prosecutor has previously told a court that some of Perrett's charges are so serious that he could perhaps spend the rest of his life in jail if convicted. On 17 October 2018, a court ordered that Perrett must remain in custody while prosecutors continue compiling the documentation for his charges. He will face court again in 2019. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 18 October 2018.)

The church protected Father John Farrell for 30 years but now he is in jail awaiting a further sentence in November 2018

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders remained silent for 30 years about the child-sex crimes of Father John Joseph Farrell (also known as "Father F"). In 1993, Broken Rites began researching the Farrell cover-up. In 2012, our research helped 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. Meanwhile, more of his victims began speaking to the detectives, and therefore in November 2018 Farrell (now aged 65) is being sentenced for these additional crimes. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 18 October 2018.)

The Jesuits covered up for a sexually abusive Brother and merely moved him to another school

Jesuit priests and brothers operate some of Australia's most prominent schools, with famous ex-students such as former prime minister Tony Abbott. After Brother Victor Higgs committed sexual offences against boys at one of these schools (St Ignatius College, Adelaide), the Jesuits kept Brother Higgs as a member of the Jesuit Order and moved him to their famous Sydney school (St Ignatius College Riverview), thus putting Sydney boys in danger. One of the Adelaide victims finally reported Brother Higgs to the South Australian police and, in 2016, Higgs was jailed for some of his Adelaide offences. Now, in October 2018, a Sydney court has found Higgs guilty of sexual offences also at the Sydney school. Higgs will be sentenced for his Sydney offences on 23 November 2018. Broken Rites is investigating the possibility that Brother Higgs also worked at the Jesuits' elite Xavier College in Melbourne. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 16 October 2018.)

A priest awaits sentencing in court for sexually assaulting boys in his parish house

A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 70, is listed for sentencing in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court on 30 October 2018. He has been found guilty after a jury trial in 2018 regarding sexual assaults committed against two boys in the 1980s. The assaults occurred when the boys stayed with Fr Casey at his residence in one of his earlier parishes (Mallanganee, near the city of Lismore), while he was based there in the mid-1980s. The allegations against Casey included performing oral sex on one of the boys, masturbating in the boy's presence, and digitally penetrating the other boy's anus. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 16 October 2018)

The church covered up for Father Paul David Ryan for many years, but Broken Rites supported the victims

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 16 October 2018.)

Broken Rites helped victims of Father John Denham to gain justice, and now Denham is in jail awaiting a further sentence

Broken Rites has helped to obtain justice for victims of one of Australia's most notorious Catholic priests, Father John Sidney Denham. Father Denham's 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 in 2015 made scathing comments about how this criminal priest had been protected by the Catholic Church. Now, in October 2018, Denham has been convicted again, after another of his victims contacted the police. He will be sentenced in early 2019. Meanwhile, he remains in jail. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 October 2018)

This priest became the deputy to a bishop, then was jailed and now is being charged again

In the 1970s and 1980s, Father Richard Cattell was a Catholic priest in western Sydney. In the early 1990s, the Catholic Church promoted Cattell to become the Vicar-General of the Parramatta diocese, supervising 48 parishes in western Sydney on behalf of the bishop. In 2015, Cattell was jailed for sexual crimes committed against boys during his time in western Sydney. Since then, detectives have received additional information about Cattell's career. Therefore, in 2018, he is facing additional charges, which are currently being filed by police in the Penrith Local Court, with a preliminary mention listed for the court for 2 November 2018. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 24 September 2018.)

An ex-Marist Brother became a lay teacher and then a priest — now he is facing court charges in 2018

A Catholic priest (Father Carl Stafford, now aged 79) is listed for proceedings in the New South Wales District Court soon, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed earlier in his working career. Bishop Peter A Comensoli (formerly of the Broken Bay diocese, in Sydney's north) stated publicly in 2017: "Originally a Marist Brother, Fr Stafford left this Order [the Marists] and took up a lay teaching position with St Gregory’s College Campbelltown before entering the seminary in 1989. Ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Broken Bay in 1994, Fr Stafford held appointments in Mona Vale, Gosford, Toukley/Lake Munmorah and Kincumber parishes." (According to church sources, Father Carl Stafford is still a priest and he is merely retired from parish appointments.) (Article updated on 10 October 2018.)

A Christian Brother is jailed for raping a boy at a Catholic school

Christian Brother John Francis Tyrrell has had a long career as a Brother in Catholic schools in Melbourne and regional Victoria. in February 2016, the Christian Brothers celebrated the 60th anniversary of Tyrrell's consecration as a Brother. Two years later, in April 2018, Brother Tyrrell (then aged 79) was sentenced by a court to a minimum of six and a half years in jail for repeatedly raping a boy at St Joseph's College in Geelong, Victoria, in the 1960s. This victim says the school covered up the abuse at the time. The cover-up has caused lasting damage to the victim's life but eventually the victim (now aged in his sixties) spoke to child-abuse detectives in the Victoria Police. Thus, this victim has managed to obtain justice for himself. Brother Tyrrell also worked at other prominent schools, including being in charge of the junior school at St Kevin's College in Toorak, Melbourne. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 6 October 2018.)

The church covered up a reverend Brother’s crimes but in 2018 he is jail with more charges still to come

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 Victoria in 1998. Since his jailing, additional victims from the 1970s have spoken to police, and therefore Keating was jailed again in Victoria on 20 April 2018, aged 75. Now, in late 2018, he is being prosecuted again by Queensland police. 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 October 2018.)

An ex-priest, 75, is charged with raping a 10-year-old boy in a public toilet during a picnic more than 50 years ago

In the 1960s, Brian Spillane began training towards a career in the Catholic priesthood. In 2018, he is in jail in New South Wales for sexual crimes which he committed against boys (and also some girls) during his religious career. While he is in jail, police have investigated some additional allegations about Spillane. Now, in late 2018, he is being charged in court (aged 75) with having raped a ten-year-old boy in Sydney in 1964. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 October 2018.)

A Catholic Brother facing court regarding Monivae College, western Victoria

Police detectives have charged an elderly Catholic religious Brother (John David Frith) with offences allegedly committed some years ago against boys at a Catholic secondary school — Monivae College, situated at Hamilton in western Victoria, 290 kilometres from Melbourne. The case had its first mention in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 14 September 2018, and it is scheduled to have its next step in court early in 2019.

A senior priest covered up other priests' crimes — and he, too, abused children

In 2009, a senior clergyman in the Australian Catholic diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Father Thomas Brennan, was convicted of making a false written statement, saying that he could not remember a series of child sex-abuse complaints (in the 1970s) about other clergy. Brennan was the Vicar-General of the diocese (that is, the second-highest ranking clergyman in the diocese) from 2005 until he was charged in August 2008. Bishop Michael Malone told the media in August 2008: "As the Vicar-General, he's my right-hand man and is very close to me. He's the bishop when I'm away." And now in 2018 the Maitland-Newcastle diocese has admitted that, as well as covering up other clergymen's crimes, Father Brennan himself committed child-sex offences. (Article updated on 20 September 2018.)

Yet another "celibate" priest has pleaded guilty to child-sex crimes

Paul Chris Pavlou, of Melbourne, was originally a school-teacher but, in his thirties, he began studying to become a Catholic priest. In 2004, aged in his forties, he was elevated to the priesthood and began ministering in parishes of the Melbourne archdiocese. Now he has admitted in court that he was committing sexual offences against children before and after becoming a priest. Pavlou's story raises questions about how the church selects its priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 15 September 2018.)

The Confessional can enable a priest to abuse a young child

After being silent for eighty years, an elderly Australian woman ('Pamela") has revealed how the Catholic ritual of Confession enabled a priest to indecently assault her in 1938 when she was aged eight. Pamela contacted Broken Rites in 2018 after noticing media reports about Catholic bishops who were defending the secrecy pf the Catholic ritual of Confession. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 15 September 2018.)

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. After Pell's legal victory in 2007 (known as the "Ellis defence"), the church could force its victims to accept a discounted in-house "Towards Healing" settlement instead of suing for proper compensation, the Commission was told. In 2018, some of Australia's state governments say they will legislate to prevent the church from using the Ellis defence. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Full story: The church harboured this pedophile Marist Brother and now in 2018 he is finally jailed

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 eventually some of his victims began speaking (separately) to the Victoria Police child-protection detectives. When the police finally 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 pleaded guilty to this first batch of victims 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. For each of these convictions (to 2016), he was given a suspended sentence. But on 3 September 2018, McNamara (aged 80) was jailed after he pleaded guilty to sexual offences against five more of his former schoolboys. The 2018 court case is reported towards the end of this Broken Rites article. Meanwhile, after his life of crime, McNamara is officially still a Marist Brother, even while he is in jail. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 September 2018.)

Pedophile priest Finian Egan is fighting deportation — and he has support from Archbishop Peter Comensoli

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, the Australian immigration authorities tried to deport Father Egan back to Ireland but Egan contested this order with support from church sources, including support from his previous superior in Sydney, Bishop Peter Comensoli. In 2018, Bishop Comensoli has become the new archbishop of Melbourne. (Article updated on 4 September 2018.)

BACKGROUND: This is why Archbishop Philip Wilson was dumped from his top job

This Broken Rites article gives some important background about Australia's Archbishop Philip Wilson, who covered up Father James Fletcher's indecent assault of a ten-year-old boy (Peter Creigh). Police allege that, when they were investigating Father Fletcher in 2003-2004 regarding a different victim (Daniel Feenan), Archbishop Wilson possessed information (about the abuse of Peter) which might help the case against Fletcher but Wilson concealed this information, thus protecting the criminal Fletcher. A court convicted Archbishop Wilson regarding his concealment of Peter's abuse but he defiantly refused to resign as the Archbishop of Adelaide — until a public outcry forced his resignation. However, Wilson will continue to have the title of a bishop (without a territory to administer) — a criminal bishop. Wilson's crime of concealment carries a 12-months jail sentence but (because of Wilson's bad health) the court is allowing him to serve this jail sentence by going into home-detention at a relative's house on the NSW central coast, instead of going behind bars. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 13 September 2018.)

Two people complain about abuse by a priest in the 1960s and 1980s

Fr Brian Morrison (born in Melbourne, 1933) was originally a Catholic priest in the Blessed Sacrament Fathers but he left this order and went to Western Australia, doing some parish work in the Perth and Bunbury dioceses. He finally established the "Father Brian Crisis Care Centre" in Perth, raising money for disaster relief (East Timor etc). The church has received complaints about Father Morrison sexually abusing young people (a girl aged 14 in Melbourne in 1968 and a boy aged 14 in Perth in 1984). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 17 September 2018.)

How Father John Farrell's crimes (and the church's cover-up) were exposed in court

This Broken Rites article summarises the court proceedings against John Joseph Farrell (also known as "Father F"). Father Farrell targeted numerous children (mostly boys, plus some girls) in northern New South Wales in the 1980s (and later in western Sydney until 1992). On 2 May 2016 he was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years jail for 62 of his crimes, committed against 12 of his victims. A further 17 incidents were taken into account at sentencing, making a total of 79 incidents. In November 2018, Farrell is being sentenced in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court for more of his child-sex offences from the 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 12 October 2018.).

The Virgin Mary was not allowed to witness these child-abuse crimes

Broken Rites is continuing its research about a Catholic religious order — the Patrician Brothers — who have been prominent in Catholic boys' schools in western Sydney. One of the Patrician Brothers' most senior members in Australia (Thomas William Grealy, known as "Brother Augustine") has admitted in court that, as a school principal, he indecently assaulted young boys, either in his office or in the classroom. In his office, according to court evidence, he would cover a statue of the Virgin Mary with a coat to hide his shame before assaulting a pupil. Grealy served a jail sentence but, after leaving jail, he was still accepted as a member of the Patrician Brothers. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 15 September 2018.)

A "celibate" priest was jailed for internet child-sex offences

This Broken Rites article is an interesting case-study in the Catholic Church's notion of priestly "celibacy". A Sydney priest, Father Robert Fuller, was jailed on 24 February 2010 (then aged 54) after he admitted seeking a 13-year-old girl, through the internet, for sexual purposes. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 September 2018.).

The ritual of "Confession" helped a priest to abuse a young girl

An Australian woman, who allegedly suffered sexual abuse by a Catholic priest when she was just six years old, has finally broken her silence after 50 years. At the age of 56, Gina Swannell finally exercised her right to have a private interview with Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. She has told how the priest's tactics included using the sacrament of Confession. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 September 2015)

Secrets of the Confessional (wink, wink): A priest raped a boy, then used Confession to conceal the crime

In Australia in 2018, the Catholic Church is publicly defending the "secrecy of the Confessional". This Broken Rites article is about a Melbourne priest, Father James Scannell, who raped a 12-year-old boy. After the rape (in the early 1970s), the priest subjected the boy to the Catholic ritual of "Confession" and ordered the boy never to tell anybody about what had happened. Intimidated by the church's authority, the boy obediently kept this "secret of the Confessional". The church's code of secrecv damaged the victim's life and it took him forty years to bring the priest to justice. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 September 2018.)

Marist Brothers admit they harbored this criminal Brother

The Marist Brothers have been forced to acknowledge that yet another one of their members — Brother Thomas Joseph Butler (known as "Brother Patrick") — committed sexual offences against children. Former students, from several Marist schools in New South Wales and Queensland, have told Broken Rites that the Marists knew about Butler's offences but the Marists allowed him to continue teaching —  and offending — throughout his long career. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 27 August 2018.)

This priest, convicted in 2014, is facing more charges in 2018 relating to his earlier parishes 40-plus years ago

On 24 July 2014 a Catholic priest, Father Patrick Holmes (then aged 79), was jailed for sexually abusing two young girls in Western Australia many years ago (one girl in 1969 and the other girl about 1981). The first victim eventually reported Father Holmes to the church authorities in 2000, but (according to Broken Rites research) the church continued to list "Reverend Patrick Holmes" as a priest in the annual editions of the Australian Catholic Directory. In 2014 this victim finally spoke to police, who immediately charged Holmes. In 2018, Patrick Holmes (now aged 83) is facing court again in Perth, charged with additional child-sex offences from 40 years ago. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 30 August 2018.)

This child-abuser had a long career as a Marist Brother, including at a "top" Sydney school

For 67 years, the Australian Marist Brothers harboured this pedophile — Brother William BENINATI (known as Brother "Vales", in honour of an ancient Saint Vales). He committed sexual offences against boys in Marist Brothers schools in New South Wales and Queensland. His victims included boys at the Marist Brothers' "flagship" school in Sydney (St. Joseph's College Hunters Hill). Broken Rites is doing further research about Beninati. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 21 August 2018.)

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