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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


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 17 August 2018.)

The Jesuits covered up for an 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). 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 2018, Higgs is being prosecuted by New South Wales police regarding alleged offences by Brother Higgs while he was at the Sydney school. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 16 August 2018)

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 some more of his South Australian victims got him convicted again. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 August 2018.)

This priest abused 30 young children in NSW, police allege in a court case

For 34 years until 1995, Father David Joseph Perrett was a priest in the Armidale Catholic diocese, which covers a large region in northern New South Wales, extending up the New England Highway to the Queensland border. In 2018, Perrett (now aged in his eighties and no longer working as a priest) is awaiting court proceedings, charged with sexual offences allegedly committed against a number of young boys (and some girls) between 1970 and 1982 while he was working as a priest. So far, detectives have obtained evidence from 30 alleged victims, involving 92 alleged incidents. Police are continuing their investigation in 2018. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 August 2018.)

A New South Wales priest is listed for court proceedings

A Catholic priest in northern New South Wales, John Patrick Casey, 68, is listed for a hearing in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court regarding child-sex offences allegedly committed in New South Wales some years ago. The court's case number is 2015/00201591. John Patrick Casey is a priest of the Lismore diocese, which takes in the NSW north coast from the Queensland border to Camden Haven, south of Port Macquarie. The city of Lismore is where the diocese has its headquarters. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 14 August 2018)

Christian Brother Peter Lennox is awaiting 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. Now aged 76 (and retired), 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 claimed in court that Lennox is "too unfit" to undergo a trial. However, the court will merely grant a delay and therefore the trial (case number 2014/00331685) is being re-scheduled to go ahead on a future date. Meanwhile, the police investigators are still interested in any further information. (Article updated 10 August 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 is contesting 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 15 August 2018.)

Father Peter L. Comensoli was jailed but was allowed to remain "reverend"

This Broken Rites article gives another Australian example of a Catholic priest who was not laicized, even after being jailed for child-sex crimes. In 1989, the Wollongong Catholic diocese (south of Sydney) was warned that Father Peter Lewis Comensoli was sexually abusing boys in his parish, but the church authorities allowed him to continue in parish work. In 1993, a newspaper exposed this church scandal. Police then charged Comsensoli and he was jailed in 1994. But the church failed to laicize him and he was listed as "Reverend" for the next 16 years, until his name finally vanished from church directories in 2010 — 16 years after his conviction. As explained at the end of this article, this Father Peter Lewis Comensoli should not be mistaken for another Catholic clergyman — his cousin, Bishop Peter Andrew Comensoli who has been appointed (in 2018) as the new Archbishop of Melbourne. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 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 20 July 2018.)

The church knew about this priest's crimes but gave him further victims

Broken Rites is researching Father Kevin Wright, who spent many years in the Wagga diocese which covers a large region in southern New South Wales. There is evidence that the Catholic Church authorities knew about Wright's offending but they allowed him to continue in the priesthood, thus enabling him to assault more children in more parishes. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 8 August 2018)

Church paid huge sums to lawyers to defend a criminal priest, Father James Fletcher: Background article

The Catholic diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in New South Wales has admitted that it paid an expensive team of lawyers to defend a paedophile priest in a child-abuse court case. The priest, Father James Patrick Fletcher, pleaded not guilty in 2004 to multiple counts of anal and oral sexual penetration of an altar boy, Daniel Feenan. The offences began in 1990, when Daniel was 12. A jury found Fletcher guilty on all charges. Legal experts have told the media that Fletcher's legal costs for the 11-day trial exceeded $200,000. The church's defence team included a Queen's Counsel, plus a second barrister and a solicitor. Fletcher had various victims, most of whom were still remaining silent. This court case in 2004 was about one victim, Daniel. (Background article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

This "celibate" priest fathered two children, his colleagues say

The Catholic Church advertises its priests as being "celibate", but priests can have private relationships (either "gay" or "straight") if this is hidden from the public. For example, Father John O'Callaghan, of Melbourne, had a relationship with a woman, who gave birth to Father O'Callaghan's two daughters. These girls have grown up into adulthood, knowing that they are the offspring of Father John O'Callaghan. The private life of Fr John O' Callaghan is no secret among the Melbourne clergy of his generation but the public did not know about it. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church gave this Sydney paedophile priest a new parish, plus more children

In the early 1970s, a boy (this article will refer to him as "Boy A") complained to the Catholic Church about being sexually abused by a Sydney priest, but the church merely transferred the priest to a new parish, thus giving him easy access to more victims, a Sydney court has been told. Many years later, one of the later victims (we will call him "Dwayne", not his real name) contacted Broken Rites, which advised him to speak to police detectives, not to the church. Detectives then charged the priest, Father Robert Flaherty, who pleaded guilty in court in 2015 regarding two of his victims (Boy A and Boy B). A jury found Flaherty guilty of assaulting the third boy (Dwayne). In February 2016, Father Flaherty (then aged 72) was sentenced to jail regarding these three victims. The jailing of Flaherty has prompted more alleged victims of Flaherty to contact the detectives. And, with help from "Dwayne" and Broken Rites, the Nine Network's program "A Current Affair" ran a story on 24 July 2018 about how the church is still supporting Father Flaherty. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 August 2018.)

The church protected Father Paul Raymond Evans - but now his victims force the church to apologise

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father Paul Raymond Evans who molested vulnerable young teenagers while they were under his supervision at Boys Town (a residential institution for troubled youths) near Sydney between 1977 and 1988. At first, according to allegations by victims, the school administration ignored the abuse. After 1988, the church transferred Evans to suburban parishes, where he was permitted to associate with youth groups, a court has been told. Evans's new parishioners were not told about his problematic past. The full story came out when Evans was finally jailed in October 2008. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church harboured this pedophile Marist Brother and now in 2018 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 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 finally 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. In 2018, McNamara (aged 80) has pleaded guilty to sexual offences against five more of his former schoolboys. In July 2018, he is currently awaiting sentence in the Melbourne County Court regarding these five boys. 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. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 August 2018.)

This "saintly" Marist Brother has finally been brought to justice

When John Aloysius Littler became a Marist Brother, he was given the religious name of "Brother Nestor", in remembrance of an ancient saint. But Brother Nestor was no saint. He soon committed sexual crimes against boys in a Catholic orphanage in Sydney, and the Marist Brothers (as usual) harboured him during his subsequent long career as a Brother, including at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, in Sydney — one of the most elite Catholic schools in Australia. Some of the orphanage victims eventually got Brother Nestor charged by the police. And another victim has forced the Marist Brothers to apologise for sexual abuse committed by Brother Nestor at a school in Maitland, New South Wales. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

A Sydney priest has been jailed for at least five years for child-sex crimes

Broken Rites is doing further research about Father Robert James Hickman, who became a Catholic priest in Sydney in the 1970s. As well as working in parishes, he was also a chaplain for Sydney's deaf community. In Sydney's Parramatta District Court on 9 December 2016, Hickman (then aged 71) was jailed for a minimum of five years for child-sex offences. (Article updated 17 July 2018.)

Yet another priest is jailed for child-sex crimes at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst NSW

Father Glenn Humphreys, a priest in the Australia-wide Catholic order of Vincentian Fathers, has had a long career ministering in three Australian states. From the outset, at his first postings in New South Wales and Western Australia, Humphreys committed sexual offences against boys. He later became the priest in charge of the Townsville cathedral in North Queensland. Eventually some of his earlier victims spoke to police, resulting in Humphreys being convicted in two states: in 2014 he was jailed in Western Australia; and on 21 June 2018 he was jailed in New South Wales. His NSW case includes offences committed at St Stanislaus College (a boys' boarding school in Bathurst). This school has become notorious because of a number of convicted pedophile clergy at this school. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 July  2018.)

The church concealed Christian Brother Neil Richards' crimes but more victims are speaking to police

Catholic Church authorities knew for years about Christian Brother Desmond Eric ("Neil") Richards' sexual crimes against schoolboys in New South Wales but the crimes were concealed from the police (and from the public). Eventually, Richards was transferred to Rome (away from the NSW police) but NSW detectives arrested him when he returned to Australia in 2013. Richards was jailed in Sydney in 2014 for some of his crimes. On 16 December 2016 (aged in his mid-seventies), he was sentenced to additional time in jail after more of his victims contacted the NSW detectives. Richards pleaded guilty regarding all these victims. Other victims of Richards have remained silent but it is still possible for them to speak to the detectives; therefore, the investigation is continuing in 2018. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

The church helped Father Brian Spillane in his life of crime: Background article

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about the paedophile priest Brian Joseph Spillane — and how the Catholic Church enabled him to commit his sexual crimes against children. Father Spillane's victims were mostly boys who were assaulted while he ministered at St Stanislaus College — a Catholic day and boarding secondary school for boys, in Bathurst, New South Wales. And he assaulted girls in parishes elsewhere. Spillane has recently completed a series of separate criminal trials, resulting in multiple convictions. !t is possible that more of Spillane's victims may obtain justice later. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 July 2018.)

Marist Brother 'Romuald' Cable, already jailed, is facing more charges

A few years ago, Broken Rites helped to obtain justice for schoolboys who were sexually assaulted by Marist Brother Francis William Cable (also known as "Brother Romuald") in Catholic schools in New South Wales. During Brother Romuald's life of crime, his Marist colleagues and superiors looked the other way, protecting him from the police and giving him access to more victims. Eventually, some of his victims (acting separately) began to contact Broken Rites and/or the New South Wales Police, instead of merely telling Romuald Cable's church colleagues. NSW Police detectives then found some more of his victims. As a result, "Rom" Cable was jailed regarding 19 of his victims. Snce then, he has appeared in court again (by video-link from jail), charged with 16 additional offences (indecent assault) committed against five more victims, aged 13-14, between 1971 and 1974. These charges were scheduled to have a hearing in Newcastle Local Court while Cable remains in jail. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 10 July 2018.)

COVER-UP: The abuse by Brother William Stanley Irwin was in a file marked as 'strictly confidential'

Broken Rites Australia has researched a Catholic religious Brother, William Stanley Irwin, who sexually abused a teenage male to whom he was providing "counselling". Despite this breach of pastoral ethics, the church authorities protected Irwin and later ordained him as a priest. The victim eventually contacted the police. Finally, in 2011, Irwin was convicted by a Sydney jury and was sentenced. Irwin was a member of the Vincentian religious order of priests and brothers. The abuse occurred at St Stanislaus College boys' boarding school, in Bathurst, New South Wales. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Brother John Gaven worked at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst NSW

Brother John Francis Gaven has had a long career working as a Brother in the Catholic order of Vincentian priests and brothers in Australia, including at St Stanislaus College boys' boarding school in Bathurst, New South Wales. In recent years, he has been involved in proceedings in the New South Wales District Court. The court has not yet released the details of those proceedings.

This "chaplain" committed sexual offences in a girls’ orphanage (and his crimes were helped by the Catholic ritual of Confession)

Broken Rites is doing further research about a Catholic priest, Father Bernard Maxwell Day, who was living at a girls' orphanage in Victoria in the early 1960s. Father Day was one of a series of "chaplains" who occupied a flat at the orphanage. His "duties" including hearing each girl's Confession; this sacred ritual enabled a priest to talk to a girl about sex. A senior nun got Father Day removed after allegations that he was molesting girls at the orphanage. In a submission to a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry in 2013, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese admitted that Fr Day committed sexual offences against children. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 July 2018.)

Christian Brother Steve McLaughlin

A Catholic website (CathNews) reported in July 2002 (quoting the Brisbane Courier Mail) that Brother Stephen David McLaughlin, then aged 50 (a former head of the Christian Brothers order in Queensland), had been ordered by a Brisbane magistrate (at a committal hearing in 2002) to stand trial in the District Court on child-sex charges. However, the case did not proceed to a trial.

The church helped a pedophile Marist Brother to get easy access to young victims

Broken Rites is doing research about a senior Marist Brother (Brother Kevin Hopson, also known as Brother "Crispin" Hopson) who taught (sometimes as the head Brother) in Marist schools in New South Wales and Canberra. Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission has been told that, at one of Hopson's schools, he harboured a paedophile Brother (Gregory Sutton) who was committing sex-crimes against young students. And now Broken Rites has learned that Brother "Crispin" Hopson himself was committing sexual crimes against young boys. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 18 July 2018.)

A Marist Brother committed child-sex crimes at a "top" Sydney school — and there are also complaints about him in Queensland

For years, the Marist Brothers tolerated a child-abuser (Brother John Dennis Maguire) as a teacher and dormitory master at their high-profile St Joseph's College boys' boarding school in Hunters Hill, Sydney. Maguire allegedly would target the youngest boarders (perhaps eleven years old) who were homesick – comforting them and then sexually assaulting them. In 2002,  police charged Maguire with assaulting six of these boys but the Marist Brothers defeated each of these charges. In 2014, after a total of nine jury trials, a seventh ex-student succeeded in getting Maguire convicted in court. Finally, on 20 March 2015, Maguire (then aged 71) was sentenced to at least 21 months in prison. There have also been complaints about Maguire in Queensland, which would need to be handled by the Queensland police. Maguire was a danger to girls as well as boys. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

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.)

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

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 — in 2014. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 18 June 2018.)

The church gave this paedophile priest a new parish, putting more children in danger

This Broken Rites article gives some background about how a Catholic priest, Father Robert Claffey, committed sexual offences against children (mostly boys) while the Catholic Church transferred him around parishes in western Victoria for 14 years between 1969 and 1992. Some of Claffey's victims began contacting Broken Rites in 1993, and Broken Rites gave each victim a Victoria Police phone number where the victim could have a chat with child-protection detectives. In 1998, Claffey was convicted regarding two of his victims, and in October 2016 he was jailed regarding 12 more of his victims (Claffey's offences included buggery, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child). The 2016 court case brought the court's total to 14 children. Since then, two additional alleged victims have contacted police and, as a result, Claffey (still in jail) faced court again on 28 June 2018 (with a trial to be held on a later date) regarding these new charges. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 10 July 2018.)

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