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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


Pell's lawyer admits being tough on the alleged victims in court

In the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 17 April 2018, the prosecutors and the defence made their final submissions at Cardinal George Pell's pre-trial hearing (in which Pell is charged with committing multiple offences in the state of Victoria). In summing up his defence, Pell's chief lawyer (Robert Richter QC) admitted that he had been tough on Pell's alleged victims while cross-examining each of them in early March in the closed court (the media are never allowed into court during sex-abuse victims' evidence). Some parts of Richter's final submission (in open court) on April 17 were widely reported but the website of The Australian newspaper on April 17 added this interesting paragraph: He [Richter] also said his cross-examination of alleged victims could be considered "brutality” but it was necessary to expose perjury. “While I apologise for the manner, I do not apologise for the content,” he said. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 21 April 2018.)

The church covered up a reverend Brother’s crimes but he was jailed again in April 2018

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 1998. Since his jailing, additional victims from the 1970s have spoken to police, and therefore Keating was jailed again on 20 April 2018, aged 75. 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 22 April 2018.)

BACKGROUND: How Archbishop Philip Wilson was put in charge of managing the church's response to child-abuse crimes

A prominent Australian Catholic Church leader, Archbishop Philip Wilson, has stated that, during his rise from junior priest to church administrator, he "knew nothing" about the sexually-abusive behaviour of several fellow-priests — even though he lived or worked with some of these criminals. Despite this lack of knowledge, Wilson rose to the top of the Australian church hierarchy. His senior roles eventually included the managing of the church's response to clergy sexual abuse, as well as being appointed as the archbishop of Adelaide. In 2018, Archbishop Wilson is facing a court, charged by police with having concealed child sex abuse allegedly committed by one priest (Fr James Fletcher) during the 1970s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article first written in 2010 and updated on 14 April 2018.)

Background article: How the church protected Father Paul David Ryan for many years — and one victim died by suicide

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 11 April 2018.)

The church harboured this pedophile Marist Brother and now he admits more of his crimes

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 some of his victims began speaking (separately) to the Victoria Police child-protection detectives. When the police 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 finally pleaded guilty 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. On 19 March 2018, McNamara appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to sexual offences against five more of his former schoolboys. He is currently awaiting sentence. The 2018 court proceedings are reported at the end of this Broken Rites article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 April 2018.)

George Pell returns to Australia: Some background

Between 2012 and 2016, Cardinal George Pell was among numerous community leaders who were interviewed by the Australian government's Royal Commission, which was holding public hearings about the general issue of child sexual abuse in organisations such as churches. Pell claimed that, earlier in his career, he had known very little about clergy child-sexual abuse ("only rumours") and, furthermore, that he personally finds such abuse "abhorrent". Pell's claims are disputed by a number of persons who have spoken (separately) to police, each claiming to be a victim of sexual abuse allegedly committed by George Pell, years ago, during their childhood. Meanwhile, in 2014, Pell moved from Australia to Rome to take up a senior role in the Vatican. He became reluctant to re-visit Australia but in mid-2017 he finally agreed to return to Australia, where police charged him with "multiple" sexual offences allegedly committed some years ago in the state of Victoria, involving "multiple" complainants. Pell denies these charges. In Melbourne in March 2018, a magistrate held a four-weeks preliminary hearing to assess the evidence. On 1 May 2018, the magistrate is expected to announce whether the evidence is sufficient for Pell to be ordered to undergo a criminal trial with a judge in a higher court. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 18 April 2018.)

A church report contains allegations about George Pell abusing an altar boy in 1961-62

Australia's Catholic Church hierarchy received a complaint in 2002 that a trainee priest (George Pell) had sexually abused a twelve-year-old altar boy (named Phil) in 1961-62 at a holiday camp for boys on Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. According to a church document, Phil has alleged that, on several occasions, the trainee priest George Pell (then about 20) thrust his hand down the inside of Phil's pants and got "a good handful" of the boy's penis and testicles; and, on other occasions, George Pell allegedly tried to guide the boy's hand into the front of Pell's pants. By the year 2000, when Phil was aged 50, he realised that the trainee priest George Pell had risen to become an Archbishop. Phil was shocked — "he did not think it right that someone who had behaved indecently towards children should lead the church," the church document says. So, beginning in 2000, Phil tried to alert the church authorities. Phil emphasised that he was not seeking compensation. And he was not reporting this matter to the police (therefore there is no police investigation into Phil's complaint). Rather, Phil was concerned about the safety of children in the church's care; and he merely wanted the church authorities to be aware of the offences that were allegedly committed upon him (Phil) at the altar boys' camp. In 2002, the hierarchy paid a senior barrister, Mr Alec Southwell QC, to examine (and report on) Phil's complaint. Archbishop George Pell (who was indeed at the altar boys' camp) denied committing any abuse. Mr Southwell's report concluded that the former altar boy "appeared to speak honestly from an actual recollection". Mr Southwell said he was not persuaded that the former altar boy was a liar as alleged by Pell.

This "celibate" priest (a supporter of George Pell) is facing further controversy after appearing at Australia's Royal Commission

During George Pell's rise from being a priest to a cardinal, one of his supporters has been Melbourne priest John Walshe. The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has confirmed that it paid a $75,000 settlement (the maximum amount available) to a former student (John Roach) who has alleged that, when he was 18, he was sexually targeted by Father Walshe. The archdiocese gave a written apology to John Roach for the "wrongs and hurt" he suffered at the hands of Father Walshe. By January 2017, a number of Father Walshe's parishioners (at Mentone-Parkdale in Melbourne's south-east) succeeded in getting Fr Walshe to resign from their parish. This Broken Rites article is based partly on evidence given by Father Walshe to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission, including a claim by Father Walshe that he supports the policy of priestly "celibacy". (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church kept this abusive priest, so some victims got him charged by the police

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 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 in court again in Perth, charged with additional child-sex offences from 40 years ago.

Marist Brother Christopher Wade is facing jail and he is appealing the conviction

A senior Marist Brother, William Henry Wade (known as "Brother Christopher"), now aged 82, has worked in Marist schools in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and Canberra. On 3 November 2017, he was sentenced to a minimum of nine months' jail after being found guilty of indecently assaulting two schoolboys in New South Wales schools. The alleged incidents occurred 40 years ago. In 2018, Wade (currently on bail) is appealing against the conviction. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 April 2018.)

How Father John Farrell's crimes (and the church's cover-up) were exposed in court — and he faces more charges in 2018

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 2018, Farrell is facing a further trial in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court (with Judge S Norrish) regarding several more children from the 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 March 2018.).

Background article: The church protected Father John Joseph Farrell

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders remained silent for 30 years about Father John Joseph Farrell's sex-crimes against children. In 1993, Broken Rites began researching the Farrell cover-up. In 2012, our research helped to make 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, when he was aged 63. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 March 2018.)

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

A retired Catholic priest (now aged 78) is listed to appear in a magistrates court in 2018, charged with child-sex offences allegedly committed in New South Wales earlier in his working career. The Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay (in Sydney's north) has announced that the retired priest is Father Carl Stafford. And Broken Bay bishop Peter A Comensoli has stated publicly: "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 is still a priest and he is merely retired from parish appointments.] (Article updated on 11 March 2018.)

A religious Brother is in court at age 84, facing charges from 50-plus years ago

Christian Brother Brian Hamilton has had a long career teaching boys in Catholic schools in four states — Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. In 2018, just a few weeks before his 84th birthday, he is facing court regarding child sexual-abuse allegedly committed in the early 1960s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 12 March 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. Pell's legal victory in 2007 (known as the "Ellis defence") now forces church-victims to accept a discounted in-house "Towards Healing" settlement instead of suing for proper compensation, the Commission was told. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 March 2018.)

Background article: Father David O'Hearn is in jail and now he faces more charges

During the 1980s and 1890s, Father David Anthony O’Hearn worked in parishes in the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese, north of Sydney. Now he is in jail where he is serving a minimum nine years’ jail for sexual offences against young boys. On 6 March 2018, police visited the jail to charge O'Hearn (now aged 56) with additional offences after one more alleged victim had spoken to detectives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 7 March 2018).

A child sex-abuse commissioner hits out at lawyers who attack victim credibility

As shown by Broken Rites research, children who have experienced church sexual abuse have often found it too difficult to tell their parents about it at the time and therefore the abuse remains hidden for many years until the victim reaches adulthood. If a victim reports these crimes to the police many years later, the church's defence lawyer is likely to attack the credibilty of the victim in court. The church lawyer might claim that the victim has only recently invented the complaint. Therefore, it is interesting to read a comment made by Mr Robert Fitzgerald, one of the six commissioners who conducted Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission. Speaking in Sydney on 2 March 2018, he criticised defence lawyers who “mischievously” attack the credibility of abuse victims in court. (Article posted by a Broken Rites researcher, 5 March 2018.)

How the church gave this priest easy access to young victims, and some of them got him jailed

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about a pedophile priest, Father Charles Alfred Barnett, who was harboured by the Catholic Church for twenty years in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. In 2010, some of his South Australian victims finally got him jailed. And in 2018 he is currently awaiting sentence in court for crimes against more of his South Australian victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 March 2018.)

This Catholic school was staffed by child-sex criminals

Christian Brother Stephen Francis Farrell was one of the child-abusers who committed sexual crimes against young boys at Australia's now-notorious St Alipius parish school in Ballarat in the 1970s. Church leaders ignored the activities of these criminals. Later, Farrell left his religious order and was rewarded with a job as a teacher in other Catholic schools (as "Mister" Farrell). He married three times. Meanwhile, the Catholic culture forced Farrell's victims to remain silent about his crimes. Eventually, his damaged victims began to report their experience to Victoria Police detectives. Thus, in 1997 and again in 2013, Farrell was convicted in court regarding these particular victims. On 22 February 2018, Farrell (now aged 66) was convicted again regarding more of his victims and was ordered to spend a part of this sentence behind bars. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 March 2018.)

A "priest without a parish" is facing a criminal court trial on child-sex charges

For 25 years, Father Peter Maurice Waters ministered in a series of parishes of the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese. In 1999, when he was aged in his fifties, the archdiocese removed him from parish work. Since 1999, according to church law, Peter Waters has retained his priestly qualification — but without a parish (and without any other official role in the church). In 2017, when Waters was aged 72, police charged him with child-sex offices relating to his time in parishes. In early 2018, Waters underwent a four-day committal (i.e., preliminary) hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. After hearing the evidence, the magistrate has ordered Waters to undergo a trial with a judge in a higher court, the Victorian County Court. (Article updated on 16 February 2018.)

The Christian Brothers sheltered Brother Dave Standen while he damaged these 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 southern 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 a school principal in Sydney. 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 14 February 2018.)

Three victims finally got this Jesuit convicted, 50 years after the crimes

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father David Rankin, a Catholic priest in the Jesuit religious order, who was jailed in 2014 after pleading guilty to acts of indecency committed against three young boys in Sydney. These particular offences occurred in the 1960s when Rankin was a school teacher (by 1970, he was ordained as a Jesuit priest). These three boys are not Rankin's only victims during his 50-year career; they are merely three who took the opportunity to speak with a New South Wales Police detective. This shows that, even after 50 years, it is never too late to report a child-abuse crime to the child-protection police.(Article updated 11 February 2018.)

The church tells these victims "Oops, sorry, folks" — but the apology is 30 years too late

A Catholic bishop has had to apologise “unreservedly” to former pupils of a school in Sydney's south-west who were sexually abused by a Marist Brother thirty years ago. In a public statement on 5 February 2018, Bishop Peter Ingham admitted that Philip Slattery (a Marist Brother who was the principal of Mary Immaculate Catholic Parish Primary School at Eaglevale between 1986 and 1992) pleaded guilty in a court in December 2017 to committing child-sex offences while he was the principal at the school and he is now serving a prison sentence. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 11 February 2018.)

The priest and the schoolgirl — and an abortion

Broken Rites is doing further research about a Sydney Catholic priest, Father Kevin Cox, who sexually abused vulnerable girls. For example, one victim (Broken Rites will refer to her as "Mandy") has revealed that Father Cox sexually abused her for six years from the age of eleven. Furthermore, the sexual abuse resulted in a pregnancy at age 17 — and then the priest paid for an abortion. But the church continued to protect Father Cox. Church leaders and fellow-priests continued to regard Father Cox as a church hero. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

A priest raped a boy, then ordered the boy to "confess" the rape & conceal it

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about a Melbourne Catholic priest, Father James Scannell, who has been jailed for raping 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 silence damaged the victim's life and it took him forty years to bring the priest to justice — in 2014.

We expose Ronald Conway, the church's "hands-on" psychologist

For thirty years a prominent Australian Catholic psychologist, Ronald Conway, had a part-time role in assessing and helping trainee priests in the church's Melbourne seminary. Conway also worked as a consulting psychologist in psychiatric hospitals and in private practice, and some of his male patients say that Conway touched them sexually when they consulted him for professional help. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 21 January 2018.)

Background article: The church's 50-year cover-up of Father Finian Egan's crimes

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, his Australian victims would like to see Father Egan deported back to Ireland but, so far, the Australian government has not succeeded in doing this. This Broken Rites article describes how the church covered up for Egan during his life of crime. (Article updated on 1 February 2018.)

The Marist Brothers covered up Brother Gerard Rush's crimes but some victims got him convicted

Broken Rites is doing further research about how the Marist Brothers leadership in Australia covered up for Brother Gerard Rush who committed sexual offences against young boys in Catholic boarding schools. For many years, these crimes were successfully concealed from the police but eventually a former student exercised his right to speak to police detectives who soon found more of Brother Rush's victims. On 2 December 2016, Brother Rush was jailed (at the age of 76) after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting seven boys (aged between 11 and 14) while they were boarders at two prominent Catholic schools in regional Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 February 2018.)

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.)

Broken Rites helped Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission

On 14 December 2017, Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse concluded its five-year-long inquiry for the Australian government. The Commission investigated how organisations, such as churches, have handled the issue of child sexual abuse. The Commission has made recommendations about how Australia could improve child safety. Many community bodies, including Broken Rites, have supported and helped the Commission's work. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 1 February 2018)

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