The church accepts an altar boy's complaint about Fr Ray Whitehouse

After action by Broken Rites Australia, the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has accepted a complaint from a former altar boy ("Stephen") who served under Father Raymond Whitehouse at St Peter's parish, Bentleigh East (in Melbourne's south-east) in 1974.

The complaint was that Whitehouse sexually assaulted Stephen (then aged eleven) after the late-morning Mass on several Sundays. The sexual assaults occurred in the sacristy — the room (not far from the altar) where vestments and sacred vessels were stored.

Whitehouse allegedly intimidated the boy into remaining silent about the sexual abuse. And the boy's strict parents were "loyal" Catholics who did not want to hear any negative story (or "lies", as they called it) about a priest. So the boy remained silent and (he says) became a grumpy teenager. This disrupted his relationship with his parents, making him the "black sheep" of the family and alienating him from all authority. Subsequently, he had many behavioural and relationship problems, extending into his adult years.

Broken Rites research

Raymond William Whitehouse was born about 1945. He was ordained a priest for the Melbourne archdiocese on 19 May 1973. He served as assistant priest in parishes at: East Bentleigh (in the mid-1970s); Essendon (late 1970s and early '80s); Dandenong, Bennettswood and Deepdene (1980s); and as Parish Priest in charge at Lilydale from January 1989 until his early retirement in February 1998, aged 53.

Fr Ray Whitehouse was a friend of three other priests in Victoria — Fr Graham Redfern, Fr Raymond Deal and Fr John Leslie Treacy — each of whom became the subject of a complaint from a young male.