Father Michael Endicott is convicted and sentenced

An Australian Catholic priest — Father Michael Ambrose Endicott — has been given a one-year jail sentence (wholly suspended) after he admitted taking nude photos of a schoolboy.

Father Endicott (born in 1944) is a member of the Catholic order of Augustinian priests in Australia.

On 24 June 2010 he appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court in Queensland and pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent treatment of a child.

In the late 1970s he was working as a priest and teacher at Villanova College (a boys-only Catholic school which catered for pupils in years 5 to 12) in Brisbane's south.

The court was told of two occasions on which Father Endicott told the boy to take off his clothes before photographing him.

  • On one occasion in 1977 Father Endicott took the boy out of class and took him to bushland for photographing.
  • On another occasion in 1978 Father Endicott took the boy to the school's bell tower for photographing.

On 25 June 2010, Chief Magistrate Brendan Butler announced Father Endicott's sentencing details. As well as imposing a one-year jail sentence (which was wholly suspended), the magistrate ordered that Michael Ambrose Endicott was to be placed on the national register of sex offenders.

How the case began

The allegations against Father Endicott were aired by two television programs (Channel Seven News and ABC's Lateline) on 18 July 2008 while Father Endicott was attending the Catholic Church's World Youth Day celebrations in Sydney. The Channel Seven report (by journalist Chris Reason) showed footage of Father Endicottt taking photographs of World Youth Day "pilgrims".

In 2009, Queensland Police charged Father Endicott, and he appeared in court in Brisbane for the case's preliminary mention. On 18 November 2009, Seven News showed footage of Father Endicott walking from the court.

Research by Broken Rites

Brisbane's Villanova Catholic College was established by the Augustinian Fathers in 1948 and has been situated on its present site in Coorparoo since 1954. The college expanded its facilities in the 1960s and '70s with help from government funds.

Research by Broken Rites indicates that Michael Endicott was born in Queensland. He was a pupil at St Joachim's primary at Holland Park and Villanova secondary. In 1962 he entered the Augustinian novitiate at Rochester, Victoria, to train for the priesthood.

The Augustinan Order then arranged for him to do further studies in the United States. He studied at Villanova University, Pennsylvania, from 1963 to 1965 where he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1968 after two years at the Augustinian College in Washington DC, he graduated with a Master of Arts in Theology. He was ordained by Bishop G. McDevitt at St Denis's Chapel in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, on 7 September 1968.

In the 1979 directory of directory of the National Council of Priests of Australia, Father Michael Endicott was one of nine Augustinian priests listed at Brisbane's Villanova College.

In the 1988 edition of the Australian Catholic directory, he was listed at St Augustine's College (a boys-only school) in Brookvale, in Sydney's north.

In the 2003 directory Father Michael Endicott was listed in Brisbane in the Goodna/Springfield parish (St Francis Xavier's), which the Augustinians were staffing for the Brisbane archdiocese. In that district in 2003, a new primary and secondary college was opened, called St Augustine's College. An Augustinian website stated:

  • "Fr Michael Endicott O.S.A. is the priest within the Goodna Parish who is assigned to concentrate on the Springfield district. He was a foundation member of the college's local steering committee that in mid-1999 joined in planning the college. At the Foundation Day ceremony, Fr Endicott was called to bless the religious artifacts that adorn the classrooms, the staff, the students and the families involved with the college."

In the Catholic directories from 2007 to 2009 (including the period of the World Youth Day celebrations), Fr Michael Endicott was listed at St Augustine's Priory in Sydney's Brookvale (the priory is situated in the same street as St Augustine's boys' school).

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