A cover-up is revealed, after 50 years

By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 11 October 2013.

In 2013 an Australian court heard how the Catholic order of Marist Brothers kept quiet about a child-molesting Brother (John Patrick Gleeson), in order to protect the Marist brand-name from "scandal". The Marists did not report this Brother's crimes to the police. Instead, the Marists arranged for Gleeson to quietly leave the Marist Order, and they also pacified at least one victim by waiving this victim's school fees. Gleeson was one of several Marists who were known as Brother "Dominic".

Gleeson's abuse occurred fifty years ago, in 1962, and it was successfully concealed for those fifty years until one of his victims contacted a specialist police unit in 2012. Detectives began an investigation and they soon found two more victims of Gleeson from the same year, 1962.

In Newcastle Local Court (north of Sydney) on 14 August 2013, John Patrick Gleeson (born on 6 May 1929) pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecently assaulting three boys when he was a Marist Brother at Marist Brothers High School, Hamilton,  in the Newcastle area (in New South Wales), in 1962.

The charges were laid by detectives from Strike Force Georgiana at Charlestown police station (near Newcastle) who are investigating historic child sex offences in the region around Newcastle.

During his nine years in the Marist Order, Gleeson was known as "Brother Dominic" (the name of a medieval saint). Brother Dominic Gleeson is not to be confused with any other Brother using the name Dominic.

A statement of facts, tendered in court, said that Gleeson had sexually mauled  the boys on separate occasions in front of unsuspecting classmates by using his Marist religious robes to hide his hands.

The boys did not complain  to the school about Gleeson's offending because they didn't think anyone would believe them, but one of the mothers heard about it and she complained to the school.

The school's principal (a senior Marist Brother) later summoned one of the victims to his office and apologised. This victim also had his school fees "dropped", the statement said.

After the complaint, Gleeson admitted the abuse. He wrote a letter on a school letterhead offering to leave the Marist Brothers "at a time when it would be less noticed and avoids scandal".

The Marists arranged for Gleeson to leave the Marist Order, as he was "completely incapable of bearing the yoke of religious life any longer because of inability to keep the vow of chastity".

A Brother Quentin wrote to Gleeson saying that he was sorry to hear of his "news" and suggesting that Gleeson might benefit from a "residence" at a church property in Sydney.

In a letter from Brother Quentin to his superiors about Gleeson leaving the Order, Brother Quentin wrote: "Because of the possible danger of scandal and the implication of the institute I am presuming the necessary authority to allow Brother to leave today."

The letter concludes: "I suppose while we have human nature with us this will come up from time to time. It is not easy when it does come. Still, 'angels are bright still, though the brightest fell'."

In Newcastle District Court on 11 October 2013, Judge Peter Maiden convicted Gleeson and placed him on a good-behaviour bond for a year.

As well as his time at the Hamilton school, Gleeson taught at Maitland (NSW), Camberwell (Victoria), Cairns (Queensland) and Sydney.