The church harboured this sex-abuser in Catholic schools for 50 years — and one victim has died by suicide

  • By a Broken Rites researcher

Brother Pius Bernard” (real name Raymond Hugh Logan) was originally a member of the Catholic order of De La Salle Brothers, teaching in Catholic boys' schools around Australia and committing sexual offences against his pupils. Eventually, one of his victims reported him to the police. Therefore, Brother Pius Bernard left the De La Salle order but, despite his previous offences, he was allowed to spend the rest of his career working in Christian Brothers schools as a lay teacher, known as “Mister Logan", still committing more crimes against boys. After his 50 years as a Catholic teacher, three of his victims (from separate schools) got him convicted in court for his crimes. Logan is deceased now but his victims still feel hurt and damaged by the abuse and by the church's cover-up. One damaged victim (let us call him "William") died in 2017 by suicide, as explained later in this article.

At Liverpool District Court, New South Wales, on 4 February 2000, Judge Tupman sentenced Logan to three years jail. The jail sentence was to be served by way of 2 years 3 months periodic weekend detention in prison, after which he would be eligible for parole.

Logan had pleaded guilty to multiple counts of indecent assault against three boys. One of the charges was “indecent assault with intent to commit buggery”.

One victim in this prosecution was a pupil at Bankstown De La Salle College in Sydney in 1965. A second boy ("William", aged 12, was a pupil at St John’s De La Salle College, Lakemba (Sydney), in 1966-7. A third boy was attending another Sydney Catholic school in 1975-7. These were not Logan’s only victims – just those who were found by New South Wales police in time for this prosecution.

During the investigation, police seized papers from the De Le Salle head offices in Sydney. These papers were damning not just towards Logan but also his superiors. Broken Rites has inspected a copy of these papers.

According to these papers, Logan’s De La Salle superiors discovered, early in his career as a Brother, that he was a sex-offender. Yet they protected him and merely transferred him from school to school. They did not dismiss him from the order until he after he had come to the attention of police, for a second time, in 1968.

The seized papers also raise the question of how Logan was able to get employment in Christian Brothers schools after being dismissed from the De La Salle order as a sex-offender. In checking job references, did the Christian Brothers schools ask De La Salle headquarters about Logan’s record? Did De La Salle headquarters tell the Christian Brothers the truth about Logan or did they conceal it? Or, if the Christian Brothers administration knew about his sex-offending, why did they go ahead with employing him?

The remainder of this article is based on the seized papers, plus court documents and legal records.

First teaching posts, in NSW

Born on 23 January 1925, Ray Logan grew up in rural New South Wales. His education was minimal. After leaving school early, he worked in the railways before becoming a trainee De La Salle Brother in 1943, aged 18. As “Brother Pius Bernard”, in De La Salle schools in New South Wales in 1946-55 at Haberfield, Orange, Cootamundra, Katoomba, Dubbo, and Orange.

Offences in Western Australia

In 1956-63, Brother Pius Bernard taught at a small, new De La Salle school at Midland in Western Australia, where there were complaints by 1963 about him sexually abusing boys. According to the seized papers, the abuse included fondling the genitals of pupils in his class.

On 19 April 1963, the parish priest at Midland wrote to DLS headquarters in Sydney, warning about Br Pius Bernard’s sexual abuse. The priest added: “As yet, we have no publicity but it could blow open easily.” The parish priest was keen to avoid media exposure.

In a letter dated 17 May 1963, Logan’s superior in Sydney (Brother Baptist) ordered Br Pius Bernard to leave W.A. immediately. Brother Baptist wrote: "Any good work you could hope to do in Midland, would be jeopardized by your past imprudences with several boys. Unfortunately, your imprudent advances have been talked about amongst a section of the boys, and inevitably it has gone further."

Br Pius Bernard was transferred to St Joseph’s De La Salle primary school in Malvern, Victoria, for the remainder of 1963, but the reason for the transfer was covered up. According to the seized papers, the Malvern community was merely told that Br Bernard’s arrival was “because the school needed a senior teacher” to replace one who was going overseas.

Br Baptist’s letter advised Br Bernard: “Be resolved in future to keep your hands off the boys.” But parents were not told about this.

More offences in Sydney

Br Pius Bernard taught in Bankstown NSW in 1964-5 and at St John's De La Salle College at Lakemba in Sydney in 1966-7. He continued to sexually abuse boys at these schools, as shown by his guilty plea in 2000.

A NSW Police document (among the seized papers) says that, about 10.30am on Friday 14 January 1966, detectives were patrolling sand dunes at Green Hills beach near Sydney, investigating a crime of violence. They noticed Br Pius Bernard indecently exposing his genitals and masturbating in public. The police report was given to De La Salle headquarters. Alarmed about possible publicity, Br Pius Bernard’s superiors gave him a written warning about this behaviour. But similar trouble occurred again in January 1968, so Logan left the De La Salle order in 1968.

After 1968, he taught in Christian Brothers schools as a lay teacher – “Mister” Logan – and he continued to offend in those schools, as shown by his guilty plea in 2000 relating to crimes in 1975-7.

Logan retired from full-time teaching about 1985 but kept teaching religious studies on a casual basis at various schools in Sydney, as well as playing organ at a local church for many years. In the late 1990s, he was back at Lakemba De La Salle again, teaching religious studies on a voluntary basis.

By 1995, after various Catholic sex-abuse scandals in Australia (largely exposed by Broken Rites), several of Logan’s victims contacted police. In the prosecution of 2000, he was charged only with offences committed in NSW, although there are also allegations against him in Western Australia.

Even after he completed his jail sentence in 2002, more allegations arose in New South Wales. In 2002 on ex- pupil (“David”) complained to the Catholic Church’s NSW Professional Standards Group (PSRG) that he was indecently assaulted by Mr Raymond Logan at Christian Brothers College, Burwood, NSW, in 1977, when he was 15. David said that, at the end of 1977, he wanted to leave school and his father asked him to get a reference from the school about his progress. On the last day at school, the only teacher he could find was Logan. Logan told him: “I will be happy to provide the note if you masturbate me.” David did what he asked and Logan then wrote the note for him. David said that, while at that school in 1975-7, he was also sexually assaulted by four Christian Brothers. The church’s PSRG (and also the Christian Brothers headquarters) dismissed David’s complaint about all five men, claiming that there was “a lack of evidence”.

One of Logan’s West Australian pupils of 1961-3 (“Carl”) contacted the Perth archdiocesan Professional Standards committee in 1995, reporting how Br Pius Bernard had indecently assaulted boys at the W.A. school. The committee’s Father Walter Black forwarded this complaint to De La Salle headquarters in Sydney. A handwritten note, on the file, by the De La Salle provincial superior in 1995, admits that “Carl” has a legitimate grievance about Pius Bernard in Western Australia.

Father Black’s letter of 26 June 1995 said that Carl felt guilty about not reporting Br Pius Bernard back in 1961-3. Carl thought his silence might have caused more pupils to be abused.

Father Black wrote: “He [Carl] explained to me that, back in those years, a Brother or Priest could do no wrong. He felt it would have been futile to complain to his parents or to school authorities what was going on.”

By 1999, Logan was facing the charges for which he was eventually convicted. The seized notes include a “character references” from a Sydney parish priest, saying that Logan attends Mass daily and that “he trust himself completely to Divine Providence.”

Justice finally arrived for Logan in his conviction on 4 February 2000.

Logan, who never married, died on 3 August 2004, aged 79. It is therefore too late now to institute any further criminal proceedings against him but civil proceedings against the church authorities are still possible.

Logan’s behaviour severely disrupted the lives of his victims. Some of his victims have instituted civil proceedings against his schools and against the relevant Catholic Church authorities, claiming damages for personal injury.

A victim's suicide

One of Logan's victims (let us call him "William") told Broken Rites in 2005: “I was sexually abused by Logan when he was teaching (as Brother Pius Bernard) in Sydney in the 1960s, when I was aged 12. Because of Logan, I have been diagnosed as suffering from excessive severe post-traumatic stress disorder and associated symptoms. I have had to be admitted to mental hospitals for help and respite, as well as taking numerous tablet medications for over 38 years with no good news in the distant future.”

In 2017, William died by suicide.

Another offender at the same school

Raymond Logan’s conviction in 2000 included offences at St John’s De La Salle College, Lakemba (now called Holy Spirit College). This was not the first time this school had come under scrutiny. In 1998, a lay teacher, Allan Thomas Walters, 62, pleaded guilty to homosexual intercourse with a 14-year-old boy at the same school. Walters and Logan both went before the same court (Bankstown Local Court) for their preliminary hearing --- Walters on 1 May 1998 and Logan 13 days later.

Later, in Sydney’s Downing Centre court, Judge Greg Woods sentenced Walters to three years jail.

According to a report in the Bankstown Express, the court was told that St John's College covered up Walters’ crimes. Judge Woods said the offence, committed in 1985, was reported to the school authorities but they did not notify the police, so Walters was not charged.

When the boy later developed behaviour difficulties, the school gave him no help but merely transferred him to another school. The victim finally made a police statement in 1997, aged 26.

Walters joined St John's College in 1984 while still serving a good-behaviour bond, imposed in 1983 for sexually assaulting boys at a Queensland school. It is not clear how St John’s College managed to employ a convicted child-abuser.

In 2013, a victim of Allan Walters told Broken Rites that he has extracted a settlement from the church authorities for Walters' abuse. This settlement was achieved through a Canberra solicitor.

Physical cruelty

In 2001, another ex-pupil of St John’s College Lakemba, Dr Paul Hogan, sued St John’s College and a lay teacher for pain, injuries and income lost as a result of being strapped repeatedly on the hand in 1984 when he was aged 13. Dr Hogan claimed he had suffered permanent damage to his hand. A court awarded Dr Hogan a settlement of $2.5 million. The church appealed against this and got the amount reduced.