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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


This priest allegedly assaulted 40 children during 30 years (while church leaders looked the other way)

For three decades, Father David Joseph Perrett worked in Catholic parishes in north-western New South Wales until he retired at age 58. In 2020 (aged 82) he was awaiting a criminal court trial, charged with committing sexual crimes against 40 children throughout his priestly career. That is, his alleged 30-year crime spree occurred under the noses of the church authorities (but eventually some of his victims reported Perrett's crimes to the police). On 2 July 2020, Perrett died in hospital and therefore the court will have to cancel his trial. This was not Father Perrett's first criminal court case -- his first conviction for child-sex crimes was in 1996. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 3 July 2020.)

The Marist Brothers kept inflicting this criminal Brother on more victims

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Marist Brothers allowed the sex-abuse criminal Brother Ross Francis Murrin to remain in their religious Order, thus giving him access to more child victims while he worked as a teacher in Catholic schools. There is evidence that his Marist superiors were aware many years ago about his criminal behaviour but they negligently allowed him to continue teaching, until some of Murrin's victims finally began speaking to police detectives. Murrin has been jailed three times (in 2008 and 2010 and 2018) regarding some of his victims; and in July 2020 he was convicted again after yet another of his victims spoke to police. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 July 2020.)

The church protected Father Paul Raymond Evans but victims have got him jailed, twice

A Catholic priest, Father Paul Raymond Evans, committed sexual crimes against vulnerable young teenagers while they were under his supervision at Boys Town (a residential institution for troubled youths) near Sydney between 1977 and 1988. At first, Evans' superiors ignored the abuse. After 1988, the church transferred Evans to suburban parishes, where he was permitted to associate with youth groups. Some Boys Town victims eventually reported Evans to the New South Wales Police, resulting in him being jailed in 2008. After twelve years in jail, Evans was due to be released in June 2020 but by then another victim from Boys Town contacted the police, and therefore in 2020 a court has ordered Evans to remain in jail to serve an additional sentence regarding this new victim. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 3 July 2020.)

Father Ridsdale's life of crime — and the church's cover-up

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Catholic Church shuffled a paedophile priest, Father Gerald Ridsdale, from parish to parish for three decades while he committed sexual crimes against children. Broken Rites has been researching Ridsdale since May 1993, when he went to court for his first sentencing, accompanied by a bishop as his support person. Broken Rites began supporting Ridsdale's victims, resulting in four more court cases for Ridsdale between 1994 and 2017. In court again on 14 May 2020, Ridsdale was sentenced to more time in jail after he pleaded guilty regarding four additional victims (from the 1970s). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 2 July 2020.)

Full story: The church harboured this pedophile Marist Brother but eventually he was jailed

This Broken Rites article reveals how the Catholic Church harboured a child-sex abuser, Marist Brother Gerard Joseph McNamara, teaching in Catholic schools, for four decades until eventually some of his victims began speaking (separately) to the Victoria Police child-protection detectives. When the police finally charged McNamara regarding the first batch of these victims, the Marists enthusiastically supported McNamara and ignored the victims. But Broken Rites supported the victims — and in 2004-2005 McNamara pleaded guilty to this first batch of victims and was convicted. This prompted more of McNamara's former students to contact the detectives. In 2016, McNamara pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two more of his victims, resulting in another conviction. For each of these convictions (to 2016), he was given a suspended sentence. Those court cases prompted more of his victims to contact the police; therefore, on 3 September 2018, McNamara was jailed after he pleaded guilty five more victims, and on 15 March 2020 (aged 82) he was given more jail time regarding five more of his victims. Meanwhile, despite his criminal convictions, the Marist organization still regards McNamara as a Marist Brother.(By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 15 May 2020.)

Paedophile priest Peter Searson worked under various bishops in Melbourne

Broken Rites has researched the career of pedophile priest Father Peter Searson who committed sexual crimes against children in the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese. For years, the church authorities knew about Searson's crimes but he was allowed to continue in parishes. The Victoria Police investigated Searson for sexual offences in parishes but found it difficult to extract evidence from "loyal" church people. Eventually, after his 35 years as a priest, the police managed to charge Searson with physical assault. Thus, Searson's abuse became public. The church authorities were forced to dump Searson from parish work. Hoping to protect the church's public image, the church also removed his name from the published list of retired priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher, background article updated 1 May 2020.)

The church hid the crimes of Christian Brother Edward Dowlan

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Christian Brothers organisation concealed the crimes of Brother Edward Dowlan (now known as "Mister Ted Bales"). From the start, the Christian Brothers knew that Dowlan was committing criminal sexual assaults against Australian schoolchildren but, instead of dismissing him, the Christian Brothers kept transferring him to more schools, thus giving him access to more victims. His victims were usually aged about 11 or 12 but some were as young as 8 or 9. In the 1990s, when some victims finally reported him to the police, the Christian Brothers supported Dowlan and tried to defeat the victims. The victims eventually won by getting him jailed in 1996 and again in 2015. Many of Brother Dowlan's victims have had their lives damaged by the church's cover-up — and several of his victims ended up in suicide. Some other Dowlan victims have not yet contacted the detectives. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church covered up the crimes of Father Billy Baker

For many years, the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Wilfred ("Billy") Baker was committing crimes against children but it allowed him to continue in the priesthood, thereby helping him to commit more crimes against more children in more parishes. Broken Rites began advising some of his victims to report Bakers' crimes to the police, and therefore in mid-1997 the archdiocese was forced to send Baker on "administrative leave" to protect the image of the church. Baker was jailed. Thus, the cover-up was finally exposed by Broken Rites. After he finished this jail term, more of his earlier victims contacted Broken Rites and/or the police but, in February 2014, Baker died before the courts could sentence him again. (Article written by a Broken Rites researcher.)

The interesting career (wink, wink) of a Melbourne priest, Fr John Walshe

The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has admitted that (in 2012) it paid a settlement to a former student (John Roach) who alleged that, when he was 18, he was sexually targeted by a Melbourne priest, Father John Walshe. The archdiocese gave a written apology to John Roach for the "wrongs and hurt" he suffered at the hands of Father Walshe. In 2016, after this matter became public, a number of Father Walshe's parishioners (at Mentone-Parkdale in Melbourne's south-east) succeeded in getting Fr Walshe to resign from their parish. This Broken Rites article gives some background about Fr Walshe, based on evidence which he gave to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 4 May 2020.)

Father John Denham's life of crime (while church leaders covered up for him): Background article

Broken Rites has researched the cover-up of one of Australia's most notorious Catholic priests, Father John Sidney Denham. Father Denham's superiors and colleagues knew about his child-sex crimes but this information was concealed from the police. Finally, some of his victims gradually began to contact the police. As a result, Denham has been convicted in court several times since 2000. He has been in jail since 2008, and his jail time has been increased as more of his victims gradually contacted the police. In 2019, Denham (aged 76) was sentenced to additional jail time for his 59th victim. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 May 2020)

Fr Robert Claffey (already in jail) gets additional time behind bars

This Broken Rites article gives some background about how a Catholic priest, Father Robert Claffey, committed sexual offences against children (mostly boys) while the Catholic Church transferred him around parishes in western Victoria for 14 years between 1969 and 1992. Some of Claffey's victims began contacting Broken Rites in 1993, and Broken Rites gave each victim a Victoria Police phone number where the victim could have a chat with child-protection detectives. In 1998, Claffey was convicted regarding two of his victims, and in 2016 he was jailed regarding 12 more victims (Claffey's offences included buggery, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child). The 2016 court case brought the court's total to 14 children. Afterwards, two more victims contacted police and, as a result, in 2019 Claffey (still in jail and aged 76) was sentenced in 2019 to additional time in jail. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 May 2020.)

The church concealed Christian Brother Neil Richards' crimes from the police but more victims now are speaking to police

Catholic Church authorities knew for years about Christian Brother Desmond Eric ("Neil") Richards' sexual crimes against schoolboys in New South Wales but the crimes were concealed from the police (and from the public). Eventually, Richards was transferred to Rome (away from the NSW police) but NSW detectives arrested him when he returned to Australia in 2013. Richards was jailed in Sydney in 2014 for some of his crimes. In December 2016 (aged in his mid-seventies), he was sentenced to additional time in jail after more of his victims contacted the NSW detectives. Richards pleaded guilty regarding all these victims. In October 2018, he was sentenced again to more jail time for more of his crimes. In 2020, he is facing further charges in court regarding yet another boy. Other victims of Richards have remained silent but it is still possible for them to speak to the detectives; therefore, the investigation will continue. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 17 April 2020.)

A Catholic priest in court in 2020 regarding children at a NSW boarding school

A Catholic priest, Father Anthony Caruana, aged 77, is listed for a New South Wales magistrates court during 2020, charged with indecently assaulting a number of boys, aged 12 to 15, in the 1980s when Father Caruana was on the staff of Chevalier College, a Catholic boarding school at Burradoo (near Bowral) in the NSW Southern Highlands. Chevalier College was established by a Catholic religious order of priests, known as the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. On 8 April 2020 the case had another mention in court, stating that Caruana is being charged with additional offences – bringing the total number of child sex offences to 43. (Article updated 9 April 2020.)

The church protected "Father F" for 30 years but now he is in jail

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders remained silent for 30 years about the child-sex crimes of Father John Joseph Farrell (also known as "Father F"). In 1993, Broken Rites began researching the Farrell cover-up. In 2012, our research helped to create a "Four Corners" television program about the Farrell cover-up, thus bringing this cover-up to nationwide attention. And this helped to encourage the Federal Government to establish its national child-abuse Royal Commission. Gradually, some of Farrell's victims spoke (separately) to child-protection police, resulting in the jailing of Farrell. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church covered up the crimes of Brother John Laidlaw, transferring him to schools around Australia

The leaders of the Catholic order of Christian Brothers knew that Brother John Laidlaw was committing sex crimes against boys in Catholic schools but he was allowed to continue his life-long career, teaching at various schools in four Australian states (including at Melbourne's elite St Kevin's College Toorak). In 2019, a judge jailed Brother Laidlaw for crimes committed at a number of Catholic schools in Melbourne and regional Victoria. Broken Rites has researched Brother Laidlaw in the archives of Australia's child-abuse Royal Commission (see later in this article). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 April 2020)

The church covered up Father Vincent Ryan's child-sex crimes, thus giving him access to more victims

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how Catholic Church leaders knowingly protected a pedophile priest, Father Vincent Gerard Ryan. Ryan's superiors (in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese in New South Wales) knew that he was sexually assaulting boys in his parishes. But the church concealed Ryan's crimes from the police and kept him in the ministry for twenty years, giving him access to new victims. He has already been jailed for some of his crimes. In 2019, a court sentenced Ryan (aged 81) to additional jail time for two more of his victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 April 2020.)

Brother Bernard McGrath could be in jail until aged 97 (for crimes against damaged boys)

One of Australia’s Catholic religious orders – the St John of God Brothers – has specialised in accommodating boys who have an educational (or intellectual) disability. One of these institutions was the "Kendall Grange" boys' home in Morriset, near Newcastle in New South Wales. For many years, Broken Rites has been researching Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath, who committed sexual crimes against many of these disabled victims. McGrath has already served several jail terms regarding some of his victims. In 2019, McGrath (aged 72) was sentenced to additional time in jail regarding some more of his victims, and (according to this sentence) McGrath would be aged 97 before his earliest release date. For many years, Broken Rites has been regularly updating this McGrath article. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 April 2020.)

The Marist Brothers sheltered this pedophile, helping him to commit crimes against young boys

For many years, Marist Brother Francis William Cable (also known as "Brother Romuald") was committing sexual crimes against Catholic schoolboys in New South Wales. His Marist colleagues and superiors looked the other way, protecting him from the police and giving him access to more victims. Eventually, some of his victims (acting separately) began to contact Broken Rites and/or the New South Wales Police, instead of merely telling Romuald Cable's church colleagues. NSW Police detectives then found some more of his victims. As a result, "Rom" Cable was jailed in 2015 regarding 19 of his victims. The police investigation continued. In 2019, Romuald Cable was sentenced to more jail time after pleading guilty regarding five more of his victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 28 February 2020.)

A guilty priest dies while waiting to be sentenced, but the jury's guilty verdict still stands

Father James Joseph Cunneen committed sexual crimes against boys in two parishes of the Parramatta Catholic Diocese (in Sydney's western suburbs) in the 1980s. His priestly status gave him access to young people. Prosecutors regard Cunneen's crimes as serious. In 2019, a jury found him guilty regarding six of his victims (four from one parish and two from an earlier parish). Cunneen, aged 60, was remanded in custody to await a pre-sentence hearing (scheduled for 14 February 2020) when the judge would hear submissions about what kind of sentence should be imposed. Each victim intended to tell the court (at the pre-sentence hearing) how these church-crimes had impacted this victim's life. But on 28 December 2019 Cunneen died in hospital as the result of a heart condition; and evidently his body was cremated. Therefore, when the case came up in court on 14 February 2020, the judge was unable to sentence Cunneen; and now the judge will seek a formal statement from police confirming that Cunneen is dead. Meanwhile, the jury's guilty verdict still stands. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 15 February 2020)

The Jesuits covered up for a criminal Brother and merely moved him to more victims in another school

Jesuit priests and brothers operate some of Australia's most prominent schools, with famous ex-students such as former prime minister Tony Abbott. After Brother Victor Higgs committed sexual offences against boys at one of these schools (St Ignatius College, Adelaide), the Jesuits kept Brother Higgs as a member of the Jesuit Order and moved him to other schools, including their famous Sydney school (St Ignatius College Riverview), thus putting Sydney boys in danger. One of the Adelaide victims finally reported Brother Higgs to the South Australian police and, in 2016, Higgs was jailed for some of his Adelaide offences. In November 2018 a Sydney court jailed Higgs (aged 81) for seven and a half years for sexual offences at the Sydney school. Since then, Broken Rites has learned that Brother Higgs later worked at the Jesuits' elite Melbourne school, Xavier College, where the Jesuits used him as a "spiritual director" (wink-wink) of young boys and as a boarding-house supervisor. Australia's Jesuit administration has asked retired Victorian Supreme Court chief justice Marilyn Warren to write a review about Higgs and other Jesuit offenders, and her printed report was submitted to the Jesuits in February 2020. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated on 6 February 2020.)

The church covered up for Father Frank Klep but failed, now he is spending more time in jail

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the large Catholic order of Salesian Fathers harboured an Australian paedophile priest, Father Frank Klep, for many years — allowing him to commit sexual crimes against defenceless boys. Gradually, some of his victims managed to expose Klep and the Salesians, resulting in the jailing of Klep. In 2019, Klep (aged 75) had his jail time increased after he admitted abusing more youngsters including a four-year-old. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 February 2020.)

Church victims should report church crimes to the police detectives, as shown in the Father Gannon case

This article explains why Broken Rites Australia advises church-abuse victims to have a chat with child-protection detectives in the state police force. The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese ignored the child-sex crimes of Father Desmond Gannon throughout his long career. This cover-up ended in 1993 when the newly-formed Broken Rites began encouraging church-victims to consult the child-protection detectives. In 1995 this resulted in a jail sentence for Gannon. Altogether, Gannon has been sentenced five times (in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2009) for sexual crimes against children. But the Catholic Church did not totally strip Gannon of his priestly status until 2012, when the church hierarchy became alarmed about the launching of Victoria's parliamentary investigation into church-related child sex-abuse. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 April 2020.)

How the church pays LESS compensation to victims by using the "Ellis Defence" tactic

Any Australian victim of church child-sex abuse can demand compensation from the church for any damage that has been done to the victim's later life. To gain a proper amount of compensation, the victim would threaten to sue the church in a civil-court action but the Catholic Church would try to evade this compensation by using a legal strategy (known as the "Ellis Defence"), with the church then offering a much smaller settlement (through the church's in-house "Towards Healing" strategy). The "Ellis Defence" originated when the Catholic Church fought a former altar boy (John Ellis) who was seeking proper compensation for his damaged life. This article is based on statements and documents presented to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission in 2013-2015. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

How Christian Brother Daniel McMahon became "Father" Daniel McMahon

Broken Rites has discovered that the Catholic Church has made settlements with several former pupils who encountered Brother Daniel John Virgil McMahon while he was teaching with the Christian Brothers in Catholic boys' schools in Western Australia (from the 1960s to the 1980s). In the early 1990s, the church elevated Brother McMahon to the rank of "Father" McMahon and allowed him to minister as a priest in parishes on the other side of Australia — in Tasmania, 3500 kilometres away.

A priest (previously jailed regarding three boys) is in court again re a fourth boy

In the early 1970s, a boy complained to the Catholic Church about being sexually abused by a Sydney priest (Father Robert Flaherty) but the church merely transferred the priest to a new parish, thus giving him easy access to more children, a Sydney court has been told. This victim then reported Flaherty to the police. Years later, another victim contacted the police, followed later by a third boy (all from different parishes). In court in 2016, Father Flaherty was jailed regarding these three boys. This prompted another boy to speak to the police and therefore on 28 November 2019, Flaherty (aged 76) appeared in court again, charged regarding the fourth boy (this new case will continue in court on a later date). (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 February 2020.)

A Catholic religious Brother, now 81, is jailed for a rape committed 45 years ago

In November 2019, a Sydney court jailed a retired Catholic religious Brother (Brother Peter Higgins, now aged 81) for committing sexual offences (including buggery) on an 11-year-old schoolboy in the mid-1970s. The offences occurred on several days (after school had finished for the day) at Patrician Brothers Catholic School (formerly called St Mary's school, now called All Saints) in Liverpool, a suburb in Sydney's south-west. Higgins will remain in jail until at least November 2022. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 December 2019.)

How the church enabled Fr Michael Glennon's life of crime

Broken Rites is continuing its research about how the Catholic Church enabled the paedophile priest Father Michael Charles Glennon to commit sexual crimes against children in Melbourne. Years later, many of his victims (and their families) are still feeling the impact of the church's negligence. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church has been forced to admit the crimes of Fr Patrick Cusack

Broken Rites is continuing its research about Father Patrick Cusack, a "highly respected" priest who committed sexual crimes against primary school girls in the Canberra-Goulburn archdiocese during many years. During his priestly career, Cusack was protected by the church's code of silence about clergy sexual abuse. But, after his death, so many Cusack victims came forward that the church finally had to acknowledge the priest's crimes. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 15 December 2019.)

This reverend Brother (already in jail in Victoria) now pleads guilty to more crimes in Queensland

When Frank Keating became a De La Salle Brother in his late teens, he was given the religious name "Brother Ibar", in honour of an ancient Irish saint. But Brother "Ibar" Keating was no saint — he began committing sexual crimes against his pupils. His superiors knew this but they allowed him to continue offending in Catholic schools around Australia for many years more. Eventually, some of Keating's victims reported him to the police in two states — Victoria and Queensland. As a result, he is now in jail in Victoria; and on 13 September 2019 (aged 77) he pleaded guilty in a Brisbane court to a number of Queensland offences. He will be sentenced on these Queensland charges on a later date. This Broken Rites article gives the full story of the church's cover-up of Brother "Ibar" Keating. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 November 2019.)

The church covered up for Father Paul David Ryan for many years but now he is jailed again

This Broken Rites article reveals how Catholic Church authorities covered up the child-sex crimes of an Australian priest, Father Paul David Ryan, during his career in the state of Victoria (and also during seven visits by Ryan to the United States). This enabled Ryan to endanger more children in more parishes in TWO countries. Eventually, helped by Broken Rites, some victims began reporting Ryan to Victoria Police detectives, resulting in Ryan being jailed in 2006. Since then, the detectives have received further information about Ryan's priestly career in Victoria. In 2019, after Ryan (aged 70) pleaded guilty regarding three more of his victims, he was jailed again. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 8 November 2019.)

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