A Jesuit priest is jailed for child-porn but still gets church support

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 20 March 2015)

Father Stanislaus Hogan, a senior Jesuit priest who has been based at some of Australia's most prominent Catholic schools, was sentenced on 20 March 2015 to at least 10 months jail after he admitted accessing and possessing child pornography. His schools have included Xavier College in Melbourne, St Aloysius College in Sydney and St Ignatius College in Adelaide. A church spokesman has indicated that, after finishing his jail sentence, Hogan will be welcome to live in retirement in a Jesuit community in Australia, and the Jesuits will continue to give him financial support.

The case began on 6 March 2014, when Father Stanislaus John Hogan, 69, appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to one count of using a carriage service to access child pornography and one aggravated count of possessing child pornography.

The offences happened at Athelstone (the Adelaide suburb where the St Ignatius College is located) between April 2012 and August 2013.

St Ignatius College is a school of the Catholic religious order of Jesuit priests (officially called "the Society of Jesus"), and Father Stanislaus Hogan, SJ, is a member of that order.

A St Ignatius school magazine, dated winter 2013, listed Hogan as the school’s rector. There was a similar listing in the mid-2013 edition of the annual Australian Catholic Directory.

In a statement to the media after the March 2014 charges, St Ignatius College admitted that Father Stan Hogan was a member of staff at the time when police arrested him in August 2013. 

A publication by the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide said Father Stanislaus Hogan was ordained in 1976.

Broken Rites examined some old editions of the annual Australian Catholic Directory. For example, the 1979 edition listed Fr Stanislaus Hogan at St Ignatius College, Adelaide. The 1988 edition listed him at another Australian Jesuit school - St Aloysius College in Milsons Point, Sydney. The 1994 edition listed him at the Jesuits' Xavier College in Kew, Melbourne, where he became the rector.

Letter to parents

In a letter to parents and guardians of students at the Adelaide college after the March 2014 court appearance, the head of the Jesuits in Australia (Father Stephen Curtin) said that Hogan had asked to be released from his priestly ministry. Father Curtin said that the Jesuits would “continue to provide support for (Hogan’s) welfare into the future”.

When questioned by a reporter from the Adelaide Advertiser, Fr Curtin said that Hogan would be welcome to live in retirement in a Jesuit community in Australia. The Jesuit Order would provide him with "board and lodging, plus reasonable cost-of-living expenses."

[Broken Rites understands that, in addition to receiving such accommodation and cost-of-living expenses, retired Catholic priests commonly also expect to receive the Commonwealth age pension.]

Jailed in 2015

Hogan remained on bail until he appeared in Adelaide District Court on 20 March for sentencing.

In sentencing, Judge Peter Brebner detailed some of the horrific child exploitation material police found during a police raid of Hogan’s St Ignatius College residence at Athelstone in 2012.

The judge said Hogan’s offending had came about as he struggled to understand his sexuality.

“You struggled for years to reconcile your ethical, religious, spiritual and philosophical beliefs with your sexuality and your prurient interests in child pornography,” the judge said.

Judge Brebner also said Hogan was found with three books in his possession, one of which described the “graphic and repugnant” rape of an underage boy.

The judge said Hogan intends to remain working at the church’s Sevenhill centre in Adelaide as a volunteer.

Judge Brebner sentenced Hogan to two years and six months’ jail, with the right to apply for parole after ten months. He said Hogan’s crimes were simply “too serious” for him to consider suspending that sentence.