Church acknowledges abuse at St Augustine's orphanage, Geelong

By a Broken Rites researcher

The Catholic order of Christian Brothers has made settlements with sex-abuse victims of Brother Donald Pascal Alford at St Augustine's boys' home, Geelong, Victoria.

Donald Alford (born 23 September 1938) was himself an ex-inmate of Catholic orphanages including (in his teens) St Augustine's. At St Augustine's, he received little formal education and became an apprentice boot repairman before leaving to join the workforce. In his late teens, he decided to join the Christian Brothers and went back to school for more secondary schooling to Year 10 level. At age 21, he was professed as a Christian Brother and took the religious name of Brother Pascal Alford, in honour of an older member of the order. After an initial appointment at the Christian Brothers school at Bundoora in Melbourne, he worked at St Augustine's from 1970 to 1978. He took charge of one of the dormitories and also acted as a general rouse-about.

In 1993, Brother Alford moved to the USA where he worked for ten years at Mount Saint John, a Catholic home and school for boys in Deep River Connecticut.

In 2001-3, several ex-inmates of St Augustine's each told Broken Rites, separately, that Brother Pascal Alford sexually abused them at that institution in the 1970s. These ex-inmates were not associated with each other. They were of different ages, having been born between 1959 and 1965. On the advice of Broken Rites, at least two of these ex-inmates took out-of-court civil action against the Christian Brothers, demanding a settlement.  Consequently, the Christian Brothers made out-of-court settlements with both these victims in return for them not suing the Christian Brothers in the civil courts.

Brother Alford died on 14 April 2004.

The name Pascal Alford has sometimes been spelt as Paschal Alford.