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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


The church concealed the crimes of Father Paul David Ryan, now he faces more charges

Research by Broken Rites Australia has revealed how the Catholic Church authorities continually harboured a criminal priest, Father Paul David Ryan, thus enabling him to commit more crimes on more children in more parishes. The church authorities continually concealed Ryan's crimes from the police. Under Australian criminal law, this concealment can itself be a crime — and perhaps, some day, certain powerful people in the church could be prosecuted by the police for this cover-up. Meanwhile, in July 2017, police are preparing to charge Paul David Ryan in a Melbourne court with more offences allegedly committed during Father Ryan's priestly career in the State of Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 July 2017.)

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

A senior Catholic priest from western Sydney, Father Richard Cattell, committed sexual crimes against boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Later, in the early 1990s, the Catholic Church promoted this priest to become the Vicar-General of his diocese, supervising 48 parishes in western Sydney on behalf of the bishop. In 1994, Cattell was jailed regarding one of his victims (from the 1970s). In 2015 he was jailed again regarding another victim (from the 1980s). In 2016, police charged Cattell regarding another 1970s victim (case number 2016/00101011), for which Cattell is awaiting sentence. Meanwhile, in 2017, yet another Cattell case (number 2017/00073102) has begun its preliminary procedures. This Broken Rites article gives some background about the priestly career of Father Cattell. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 20 July 2017.)

George Pell and Denis Hart became archbishops but Father Tony Bongiorno didn't

According to Broken Rites research, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has finally been forced to admit that Father Anthony Bongiorno committed sexual crimes against children during his 30 years working in Melbourne parishes. Anthony Salvatore Bongiorno began training for the priesthood about 1960, aged 25, in the same trainee group as George Pell and Denis Hart, both of whom eventually became archbishops of Melbourne. In 1994, Pell (then an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne) officiated at a requiem mass for Bongiorno's brother Sam. Anthony Bongiorno's child-sex crimes were covered up until some were exposed in the mid-1990s. The total number of Bongiorno's victims is unknown. For example, in 1980, a woman (named Maria James) learned that her son (aged 11) was a Bongiorno victim but this woman was murdered before she could expose Bongiorno about her son's abuse. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

Church finally admits the crimes of Fr Thomas O'Keeffe

After action by Broken Rites, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has been forced to admit that children were sexually abused by Father Thomas O'Keeffe. Broken Rites is doing further research on O'Keeffe — and how the church sheltered him during his life of crime. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

George Pell's court case: Some background

Since he moved from Australia to Rome in 2014 for a senior role in the Vatican, Cardinal George Pell has been reluctant to re-visit Australia. When he was asked to appear at Australia's national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, he preferred to appear from Rome only by video-link. In 2015 he said health problems were preventing him from travelling to Australia. Now, in mid-2017, Victoria Police have charged him with "multiple" sexual offences allegedly committed by Pell some years ago in the state of Victoria, involving "multiple" complainants. Therefore, Pell has been granted leave from the Vatican by Pope Francis, while Pell and his lawyers fight the criminal charges in Australia. This Broken Rites article gives some background about Pell's travels in the years 2014 to 2017, based on our research into the public hearings of the Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites Australia researcher, article updated 20 July 2017.)

Background article: Father Farrell's crimes and the church's cover-up

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 (now aged 63) in 2016. Meanwhile, some more of his alleged victims have contacted the police, and Farrell is scheduled to face these new charges in court in 2018, while he is still in jail. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 23 July 2017.)

Cardinal George Pell instructed his lawyers to crush this victim, the Royal Commission has been told

Cardinal George Pell is claiming now that he has "helped" the Catholic Church's sex-abuse victims. Therefore, let's look  at how Pell 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. And this Broken Rites article demonstrates that John Ellis was not the only victim of his abuser, Sydney priest Father Aidan Duggan. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Marist Brothers admit suicides by ex-pupils

Research by Broken Rites Australia has discovered that two former pupils, from a prestigious Catholic boys' school, have taken their own lives. Before dying, both men revealed that they had been sexually abused during their school years by a long-serving religious Brother, who is named in this article. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

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 (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 allegedly tried to guide the boy's hand into the front of George Pell's pants. By the year 2000, when Phil was aged 50, he realised (from television news footage) that the trainee priest George 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 Alex 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.)

Victims of Fr Paul "Rex" Brown were re-abused by Towards Healing

Broken Rites is researching how the Catholic Church harboured a paedophile priest, Father Paul "Rex" Brown, allowing him to commit sexual crimes against boys and girls in northern New South Wales. 

The church provided a perfect cover for child-abuser Father Kevin Glover

This Broken Rites article reveals how the Catholic Church a harboured a paedophile priest (Father Kevin Glover) for many years, in parishes around Australia, while he committed sexual crimes against children. When his crimes became known in one parish, the church merely transferred him to another parish. Now, in 2017, lawyers are preparing to tackle the Catholic Church authorities for compensation on behalf of three people who say they were sexually abused by Father Glover in Western Australia in the 1960s and 1970s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 19 Jully 2017.)

George Pell versus Anthony and Chrissie Foster: Some background

One of Australia's most notorious paedophile priests, Father Kevin O'Donnell, committed sexual crimes against children throughout his 50-year career in Melbourne Catholic parishes while his superiors and colleagues looked the other way. In his final years, he even received public praise from one of his superiors, Bishop (later Cardinal) George Pell (see further down in this article, under the sub-heading "Praise from George Pell"). Eventually some of O'Donnell's victims (with help from Broken Rites) contacted the police and got O'Donnell convicted and jailed. Later, more people came forward with complaints about Father O'Donnell (including Anthony and Chrissie Foster, whose two young daughters encountered O'Donnell in his final parish). After all this exposure about Father O'Donnell, Archbishop George Pell hired a public relations firm to paint Pell as a pioneer in "helping" victims. Therefore, Anthony and Chrissie Foster asked Pell to grant proper compensation to help their two damaged daughters, but Pell's lawyers tried to defeat the Fosters (instead of "helping" them). The story of the Fosters is told in the second half of this Broken Rites article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 July 2017.)

How the church helped this criminal priest, Father Ron Pickering

The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese protected Father Ronald Pickering for many years while he committed crimes against children in his parishes. Eventually he fled from Australia, evading justice. The Melbourne archdiocese then began sending retirement payments to Pickering at his new address in England. The Pickering cover-up was eventually exposed in the media by Broken Rites. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

Catholic clergy (including George Pell) looked the other way during Father Ridsdale's life of crime: Background article

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church harboured this child-abuse criminal — Father Gerald Francis Ridsdale — for 30 years in western Victoria while his superiors and fellow-priests remained silent to protect the church's public image. In 1982, when Father Ridsdale had been abusing children for 20 years, a clergy committee (of which Father George Pell was a member) noted that Ridsdale was being transferred away from Victoria. Eventually, some of Ridsdale's victims began to report his crimes to the Victoria Police, instead of merely to the offending organisation (the church). So, in 1993, Victorian detectives charged Ridsdale in court. He was accompanied to court by his support person, George Pell, who had become an assistant bishop in Melbourne. However, no bishop accompanied the victims. Encouraged by Broken Rites, more victims later spoke to the detectives. In his four court cases between 1993 and 2014, Ridsdale was jailed for a minimum of 24 years for assaulting 54 of his victims. In April 2017, after eleven more of his victims spoke to the detectives, Ridsdale pleaded guilty again on a fifth batch of charges, including rape, buggery and indecent assault; his pre-sentence proceedings are to begin in August 2017. (Background article, by a Broken Rites researcher, updated on 23 July 2017.)

The church protected Father John Stockdale, thus putting children at risk

The Catholic Church sheltered Father John Stockdale for 31 years in parishes in northern Victoria, Australia, while he committed sexual crimes against boys. Parishioners complained about Father Stockdale being a danger to children but these warnings were ignored. The church "just didn't want to know" about Stockdale, victims say. Publicly, Father Stockdale upheld the strict morality which the church imposed on all lay Catholics. Privately, Father Stockdale was going to a gay club to have casual sex. On New Year's Eve in 1995, Fr Stockdale was found dead in a sex cubicle at the "Club 80" gay venue in Melbourne. The church then gave him a pious funeral, but (with help from Broken Rites) the church's hypocrisy about Stockdale was soon exposed. In 2017, Broken Rites is doing some further research on Stockdale. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 16 July 2017.)

The church was finally forced to apologise to victims of Monsignor Penn Jones

After action by Broken Rites, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has accepted two complaints about a prominent Australian Catholic clergyman, Monsignor Penn Jones. The archdiocese gave a written apology to two men who demonstrated that they were still feeling harmed after being sexually abused by Monsignor Jones in their school days. Broken Rites is continuing its research about Monsignor Penn Jones. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Part-time "celibacy": How Jane was left holding a priest's baby

The Catholic Church in Australia has supported a priest who abandoned his own child. The priest (let us call him Father "Basil") had a long-time relationship with a woman ("Jane"), resulting in the birth of a son. But the priest eventually left the relationship and refused to see his son again. The child was grieving over the loss of his father but the church refused to reveal the priest's whereabouts. In December 1999, when the son was twelve, the church made a very small financial settlement with the abandoned mother, freeing the church of any further liability. (By s Broken Rites researcher.)

The Catholic Church fails to enforce its ban on Father Patrick Maye

Broken Rites has confirmed that a Catholic priest — Padraic (Patrick) Maye — conducted church services in Queensland after the church had promised to remove him from the ministry in Victoria. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

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

Catholic church leaders have recently defended the church's ban on married priests, and emphasizing the public image of priestly "celibacy". 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. (By a Broken Rites researcher)

A Brisbane priest is charged with a sexual offence

A Queensland Catholic priest, Fr Michael  McKeaten, had a preliminary mention in a Brisbane magistrates court on 31 May 2017 about an alleged sexual offence believed to have occurred in the 1990s. McKeaten was not required to attend court on that day, and was represented by a lawyer. McKeaten has been charged by police with one count of procuring a sexual act by false pretence, allegedly involving a male victim. The court process will continue during 2017. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 1 June 2017 )

A legal firm is tackling the Christian Brothers re Brother J.G. Gladwin

An Australian legal firm is taking civil action against the Christian Brothers. The lawyers are acting on behalf of a former student who alleges that he was sexually abused by Christian Brother J.G. Gladwin in a Catholic school in Queensland in the 1970s. (By a Broken Rites researcher.).

Paedophile priest Peter Searson worked under various bishops, including George Pell

For years, the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Peter Searson was committing sexual offences against boys, girls and women but he was allowed to continue in parishes, including at the Doveton parish (in Melbourne's south-east), where he survived for years under the supervision of the regional bishop for the south-eastern suburbs, Auxiliary Bishop George Pell. The Victoria Police investigated Searson for sexual offences in parishes but found it difficult to extract evidence from "loyal" church people. Eventually, after 35 years as a priest, the police managed to charge Searson with physical assault. Thus, Searson's abuse thus became public. The church authorities were forced to dump Searson from parish work. Hoping to protect the church's public image, the church also removed his name from the published list of retired priests. (Background article, by a Broken Rites researcher.)

A Christian Brother is convicted by a Sydney jury

After a jury trial in May 2017, Christian Brother Roger King was found guilty in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court of a number of sexual offences committed against boys at St Patrick's College, Strathfield, in Sydney's inner-west, in the 1970s and 1980s. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted 29 May 2017.)

Fr Damian Colbourne is jailed for abusing a schoolgirl, aged 8

Fr Anthony Francis Colbourne (also known by his "religious" name, Father "Damian" Colbourne) has spent many years as a priest in the Catholic order of Capuchin Franciscan Friars. In Brisbane District Court on 23 May 2017, Colbourne was jailed for sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl who was attending a Brisbane Catholic school. Father Colbourne, now aged 75, committed the assaults in 1974 when he was in his thirties. Colbourne was charged by police in 2016 after the victim reported him to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. In court, Colbourne pleaded guilty. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 24 May 2017.)

Church leaders protected this criminal priest, Father Gerard Mulvale, resulting in a victim's suicide

The Catholic Church harboured a paedophile priest (Gerard Mulvale) in a Melbourne parish, enabling him to sexually target the parish's youth group. This church-abuse (and the church's culture of cover-up) disrupted the lives of these youngsters, driving one of them (Stephanie Piper) to die by suicide. In 2017 (23 years after the suicide), Stephanie's mother Eileen Piper (now aged 92) is speaking publicly (through the media), demanding an apology from church leaders for having inflicted this paedophile priest on these youngsters and for putting them in danger. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

This pedophile 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). (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 1 May 2017.)

A Christian Brother, in court in NSW, is facing additional charges

Christian Brother David Curtin, who appeared in court in New South Wales in early 2017, charged with offences against boys at a boarding school thirty years ago, was in court again on 10 May 2017 facing additional charges. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 12 May 2017.)

A Marist Brother has been convicted three times and is facing more charges

Australian Marist Brother David Austin Christian (born in 1942) joined the Marist order when he was 18) and has remained in the Order since then. Charged with child-sex offences (committed in the early 1980s), he has been convicted three times — first in 1995 and then again in 2004 and early 2017 after more of his victims spoke to child-protection detectives. The 2017 conviction resulted in him being jailed. And, later in 2017, while in jail, he is due to appear in court again regarding another victim. How many more victims did this Brother have? (By a Broken Rites researcher, article posted on 4 May 2017.)

NSW police lay charges re child-abuse allegedly committed by a priest many years ago

For 34 years until 1995, Father David Joseph Perrett was a priest in the Armidale Catholic diocese, which covers a large area in northern New South Wales. On 5 May 2017, Perrett (now aged 79 and no longer working as a priest) was charged by NSW police with nine counts of indecent assault, allegedly committed on four young boys between 1970 and 1983 while he was working as a priest. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 9 May 2017.)

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