Marist Brother "Dominic" O'Sullivan is jailed in New South Wales

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 5 October 2016)

A Marist Brother, Darcy John O'Sullivan (also known as "Brother Dominic"), was jailed in September 2016 after he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting boys while he was teaching in Catholic schools in northern New South Wales in the 1970s and '80s. He was a teacher at Marist Brothers in Hamilton (Newcastle) and was later a principal at St Mary's High School in Casino (on the NSW north coast). Meanwhile, Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission held a public hearing in Newcastle in early September 2016 to examine how the Marist Brothers organisation harboured offenders such as O'Sullivan.

Before going to jail, Brother "Dominic" O'Sullivan (date of birth 16 April 1938) had been living in retirement at a Marist Brothers facility in Queensland.

First charges, in 2013

The court proceedings began on 17 July 2013 when Brother O'Sullivan appeared in Newcastle Local Court in NSW on eight charges regarding four boys who were students at Marist Brothers Hamilton (in Newcastle) in 1971 and 1972. At the time of these alleged incidents, Brother O'Sullivan was aged in his thirties.

He was charged under his birth name, Darcy John O'Sullivan. ("Dominic" is the religious name that he adopted when he joined the Marist Brothers.)

At a committal hearing in February 2014, the court received written statements, signed by the former students alleging that they were indecently handled by Brother Dominic while in class, and they allegedly saw him placing his hands into other students’ shorts.

The statement from one student alleged that Brother Dominic put his hand up the boy’s shorts and squeezed the boy's penis. The boy stated that he yelled at Brother Dominic: ‘‘F--- off and leave me alone’’.

The student stated that he ran from the classroom and told the school principal. The principal allegedly told the boy that Brother Dominic was just being friendly and he was sure it was an accident, and instructed the boy to return to class, according to the police statement.

‘‘I was scared of telling my parents as I felt ashamed,’’ the ex-student told police. ‘‘I was scared if my father found out he would be put in jail as I’m certain my father would have killed him.’’

Another former student said that he first met Brother Dominic after Brother Dominic had played Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring [by J.S. Bach] on the organ at Sacred Heart Church.

‘‘I remember hearing it and I thought it was fantastic and I went up and asked him about it,’’ the former student told police. ‘‘He spoke to me about the piece and he was clearly happy I was asking about it.’’

He alleged that some time later Brother Dominic approached him at the back of a technical drawing class and put his hand up the student’s shorts.

‘‘He was just talking calmly and softly. There was no reason that I would have been concerned,’’ the student said in his statement.

One ex-student who alleged Brother Dominic indecently assaulted him for nearly two years told police that he remembered the technical drawing classroom as a ‘‘dark and foreboding place’’.

‘‘I never told my parents what was happening and I don’t think it ever occurred to me back then to tell them,’’ he said in his police statement. ‘‘It just didn’t seem to be an option back then.’’

The magistrate ordered Brother O'Sullivan to stand trial (on these 2013 charges) with a judge in the New South Wales District Court.

Investigators from the Newcastle Detectives Office are continuing their inquiries.

Additional charges, in 2014

News items about O'Sullivan's 2013 court appearance caught the attention of other former students. On 24 July 2014, Brother Darcy John O'Sullivan appeared again in Newcastle Local Court on fresh charges of indecently assaulting a boy. These offences are alleged to have occurred at Casino on the NSW north coast in the early 1980s. At the time of these alleged incidents at Casino, Brother O'Sullivan was aged in his forties and was teaching at a Catholic school at Casino called St Mary's. The Casino matters had been investigated by the Casino Detectives Office.

The Casino charges were included with the Hamilton charges, and all these charges went to the District Court where Brother O'Sullivan pleaded guilty on 14 March 2016.

Some more background

Brother Dominic O'Sullivan also worked in Lismore, on the New South Wales north coast.

On 31 January 1997, when New South Wales police were investigating Brother Gregory Sutton at Lismore, the police obtained a written statement from Brother Anthony Hunt (formerly known as "Brother Irenaeus"), who was the Brother Superior of the Marist Brothers community in Lismore in the mid-1980s. Hunt's statement gave a list of Marists who worked in Lismore in the mid-1980s, teaching at either a primary school which is now called St Carthage's or a secondary school (then called St Joseph's) which is now called Trinity Catholic College. Hunt said that, apart from Br Gregory Sutton, the Marists who spent some time in Lismore in the mid-1980s included:

Br Kenneth Eaton,
Br Francis Fahey,
Br David Lawrence,
Br Lawrence McCane,
Br Dominic O'Sullivan,
Br Michael Procajlo and
Br Paul Turner.