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Written by a Broken Rites Australia researcher.


A new Melbourne priest was abusing children from Day One, now he is being brought to justice

Father Paul Pavlou is a relatively recent recruit to Australia's Catholic priesthood. He was originally a school-teacher but, in his thirties, he began studying to become a;priest. Later, in his forties, he was elevated to the priesthood and began ministering in parishes of the Melbourne archdiocese. He has admitted in court that he was committing sexual offences against children before and after becoming a priest; and in recent years he has been convicted and sentenced regarding those victims. Now, in 2019, he is awaiting another sentencing regarding an additional victim. Pavlou's story raises questions about how the church selects its priests. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 25 March 2019.)

The church covered up for Father Paul David Ryan for many years, but Broken Rites supported the victims

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 a twelve-months jail sentence for Ryan in 2006. Since the 2006 jailing, the detectives have received further information about Ryan's priestly career in Victoria. On 19 March 2019, Ryan pleaded guilty regarding three more of his victims, and the judge ordered him to go into custody to await his sentencing later in 2019. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 19 March 2019.)

A church report in 2002 contains allegations about George Pell abusing an altar boy in 1961-62

Australia's Catholic Church hierarchy received a complaint in 2002 that a trainee priest (George Pell) had sexually abused a twelve-year-old altar boy (named Phil) in 1961-1962 at a holiday camp for boys on Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. According to a church document, Phil has alleged that, on several occasions, the trainee priest George Pell (then aged about 20) thrust his hand down the inside of Phil's pants and got "a good handful" of the boy's penis and testicles; and, on other occasions, George Pell allegedly tried to guide the boy's hand into the front of Pell's pants. By the year 2000, when Phil was aged 50, he realised that the trainee priest George Pell had risen to become an Archbishop. Phil was shocked — "he did not think it right that someone who had behaved indecently towards children should lead the church," the church document says. So, beginning in 2000, Phil tried to alert the church authorities. Phil emphasised that he was not seeking compensation. And he was not reporting this matter to the police (therefore there is no police investigation into Phil's complaint). Rather, Phil was concerned about the safety of children in the church's care; and he merely wanted the church authorities to be aware of the offences that were allegedly committed upon him (Phil) at the altar boys' camp. In 2002, the hierarchy paid a senior barrister, Mr Alec Southwell QC, to examine (and report on) Phil's complaint. Archbishop George Pell (who was indeed at the altar boys' camp) denied committing any abuse. Mr Southwell's report concluded that the former altar boy "appeared to speak honestly from an actual recollection". Mr Southwell said he was not persuaded that the former altar boy was a liar as alleged by Pell. [The incident in 1960-1961 is not included in the criminal charges that Pell faced in court in 2018 because the former altar boy Phil has not reported this matter to the police — and Phil says he does not want to re-open his 1960-1961 matter now because he is still feeling hurt by the manner in which he says Pell's defence team brutalised him when he tried to report it to the church authorities in 2002.]

This "celibate" priest (a supporter of George Pell) is facing controversy

During George Pell's rise from being a priest to a cardinal, one of his supporters has been Melbourne priest John Walshe. The Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has confirmed that it paid a $75,000 settlement (the maximum amount available) to a former student (John Roach) who has alleged that, when he was 18, he was sexually targeted by Father Walshe. The archdiocese gave a written apology to John Roach for the "wrongs and hurt" he suffered at the hands of Father Walshe. By January 2017, 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 is based partly on evidence given by Father Walshe to Australia's national child-abuse Royal Commission, including a claim by Father Walshe that he supports the policy of priestly "celibacy". (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Broken Rites helped victims of Father John Denham to gain justice, and now Denham is in jail awaiting a further sentence in 2019

Broken Rites has helped to obtain justice for victims 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, with advice from Broken Rites, some victims began to contact the police, and therefore Denham was convicted in court in the year 2000 and again in 2010 and 2015 and 2018. The sentencing judges made scathing comments about how this criminal priest had been protected by the Catholic Church. Denham is already serving a minimum 19 years and five months' jail sentence for crimes against 56 boys after his previous trials. In 2019 he is awaiting an additional sentencing for the 2018 conviction.. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 14 March 2019)

Marist Brother 'Romuald' Cable, already jailed, is given more jail time regarding more of his crimes

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 court in March 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 14 March 2019.)

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

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, with help from Broken Rites, some of his victims managed to expose Klep and the Salesians during three court cases. Now he is in jail. In a fourth court case in October 2018, Klep has pleaded guilty regarding three more of his victims, and the court began pre-sentence proceedings on 7 March 2019. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article 10 March 2019.)

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. On 16 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. On 17 October 2018, he was sentenced again to more jail time for more of his crimes. 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 12 March 2019)

The church sheltered this criminal while he damaged some vulnerable young lives

Broken Rites is doing further research about how the Catholic order of Christian Brothers enabled Brother William Peter ("Dave") Standen to commit sexual crimes against boys in a New South Wales boarding school between 1977 and 1981. The boys (aged 10, 11 12) were feeling isolated and homesick in their first year as boarders, away from their rural families. Overwhelmed by the church's "holy" image, the boys were forced to remain silent about the crimes for many years. Thirty years later, one of these victims spoke to a NSW Police detective, who then located some more of Brother Standen's victims from this school. These victims have each told how the church's culture of cover-up damaged their later lives, ending up in family break-ups and/or life-long struggles with drug and/or alcohol abuse and disrupted careers. Meanwhile, Brother Standen rose to senior positions in the Christian Brothers, including as the principal of St Mary’s Cathedral College in Sydney while George Pell was Sydney's archbishop. In 2016, a judge sentenced Brother Standen to jail, and now his victims are still trying to repair their lives. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 March 2019.)

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 4 March 2019.)

The church concealed the crimes of Father Vincent Ryan. Now he faces more charges in 2019

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, he is facing a further court case regarding some additional alleged victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 5 March 2019.)

An ex-priest, 75, is charged with raping a 10-year-old boy in a public toilet during a picnic more than 50 years ago

In the 1960s, Brian Spillane began training towards a career in the Catholic priesthood. In 2019, he is in jail in New South Wales for sexual crimes which he committed against boys (and also some girls) during his religious career. While he is in jail, police have investigated some additional allegations about Spillane. Now, in 2019 (aged 75), he is awaiting another court appearance, where he is to charged with having raped a ten-year-old boy in Sydney in 1964. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article 5 March 2019.)

The church covered up a reverend Brother’s crimes but now he is in jail with more charges still to come

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 was 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, and he was jailed in Victoria in 1998. Since his jailing, additional victims from the 1970s have spoken to police, and therefore Keating was jailed again in Victoria on 20 April 2018, aged 75. Now, since late 2018, he is being prosecuted again by Queensland police. 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 12 March 2019.)

The church gave this paedophile priest a new parish, putting more children in danger

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 of his 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. Since then, two additional alleged victims have contacted police and, as a result, Claffey (still in jail) faced court again in 2018 (with a trial to be held on a later date) regarding these new charges. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 March 2019.)

It is never too late to have a chat with the detectives, as this case proves

This court case is an example of how it is possible for victims of church child-abuse to get their perpetrator convicted many years after the abuse. In the 1970s, Marist Brother John Skehan had multiple victims in Catholic schools in New South Wales and Victoria. Forty years later, one victim got Brother Skehan convicted in a New South Wales court in 2010 and another victim scored a similar victory over Skehan (aged 75) in a Victorian court in 2014. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The church protected Father John Farrell for 30 years but now he is in jail, and his jail time is being increased

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, Broken Rites (but not the church officials) encouraged some of Farrell's victims to talk with child-protection police, resulting in the jailing of Farrell in 2016. Meanwhile, more of his victims were speaking to the detectives, and therefore on 2 November 2018 Farrell (then aged 65) was sentenced to more time in jail for these additional crimes. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

How Broken Rites helped to reveal the church's cover-up of Father Kevin O'Donnell

One of Australia's most notorious paedophile priests, Father Kevin O'Donnell, committed sexual crimes against children throughout his 50-year career in Melbourne Catholic parishes while his superiors and colleagues looked the other way. Eventually some of O'Donnell's victims (with help from Broken Rites) contacted the police and got O'Donnell convicted and jailed. Later, more people came forward with complaints about Father O'Donnell (including Anthony and Chrissie Foster, whose two young daughters encountered O'Donnell in his final parish). (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.)

Background article: Disabled boys were abused in a Catholic institution in NSW

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. This Broken Rites article is about Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath, who committed crimes against disabled victims in Australia and New Zealand. McGrath has already served jail terms in both countries, and in 2018 (aged 70) he was given another jail sentence for more of his Australian crimes. He will be aged 88 before his earliest release date in 2035. Meanwhile, he is listed for another court appearance in Sydney in early 2019 regarding some more alleged victims. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 6 February 2019.)

Paedophile priest Peter Searson worked under various bishops in Melbourne

For years, the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese knew that Father Peter Searson was committing sexual offences against boys, girls and women 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 35 years as a priest, the police managed to charge Searson with physical assault. Thus, Searson's abuse thus 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. (Background article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

Marist Brothers admit suicides by sex-abuse victims

Broken Rites Australia is doing research about adults who have suffered a premature death while still feeling damaged by church child-abuse (and by the church's cover-up). For example, Broken Rites has discovered that two former pupils, from a prestigious Marist Brothers school, have died by suicide. Before dying, both men revealed that they had been sexually abused during their childhood by a long-serving teacher, Brother Aubrey Tobin. (By a Broken Rites researcher, updated 1 February 2019.)

A Marist Brother has been jailed for some of his victims, and another victim has died by suicide

Australian Marist Brother David Austin Christian was recruited by the Marist Brothers at the age of 15 and became a fully-fledged Brother at 18. During his career (including as a school principal), he was sexually abusing young boys. Years later, some of these victims began to speak (as adults) to child-protection detectives in the state police force. This resulted in David Christian being jailed when he was in his seventies. But how many other victims of Brother David Christian have NOT spoken to the police? For example, one of Brother David Christian's ex-students died by suicide at the age of 21, leaving a suicide note about how his life had been damaged by Brother David Christian. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 1 February 2019.)

The church re-abused this victim of Marist Brother Raymond Foster

An Australian sex-abuse victim has stated that he was made to feel like he was robbing the Catholic Church when he applied for compensation for his damaged life. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The Marist Brothers recycled an offender to a new position of trust

The Catholic order of Marist Brothers has kept a Brother (Brother John Desmond Dyson) as a member after he was convicted of indecently assaulting vulnerable boys in a Catholic school. The Marist Brothers have continued to list "Brother" John Dyson as being concerned with "the education and welfare of school-aged children". (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

The priest and the schoolgirl — and an abortion

Broken Rites is doing further research about a Sydney Catholic priest, Father Kevin Cox, who sexually abused vulnerable girls. For example, one victim (Broken Rites will refer to her as "Mandy") has revealed that Father Cox sexually abused her for six years from the age of eleven. Furthermore, the sexual abuse resulted in a pregnancy at age 17 — and then the priest paid for an abortion. But the church continued to protect Father Cox. Church leaders and fellow-priests continued to regard Father Cox as a church hero. (Article by a Broken Rites researcher.)

These victims obtained justice, supported by Broken Rites

Research by Broken Rites has revealed that a former trainee Catholic priest (Gregory Vincent Coffey) was sentenced in South Australia for a child-sex crime and then, despite this, he was given a senior teaching position in a Melbourne Catholic school, enabling him to commit sex crimes against more children. In court proceedings in Melbourne in 1994 and 1997, Coffey pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting boys who were in his custody at a Marist Brothers secondary school in Melbourne in the 1970s. The Melbourne court did not know about Coffey's earlier conviction in South Australia. Broken Rites was present in the Melbourne court, supporting the victims and taking notes. Broken Rites also conducted its own research into Gregory Coffey's past. During this research, Broken Rites discovered Coffey's earlier South Australian conviction. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Father David O'Hearn is in jail, facing more charges in 2019

During the 1980s and 1890s, Father David Anthony O’Hearn worked in parishes in the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese, north of Sydney. Now he is in jail where he is serving a minimum nine years’ jail for sexual offences against young boys. In March 2018, police visited the jail to charge O'Hearn (then aged 56) with additional offences after one more alleged victim had spoken to detectives. In 2019, while still a prisoner, O'Hearn is due to face a trial in the NSW District Court on these new charges. He will then continue to serve his current jail sentence. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 January 2019).

Police allege a priest assaulted 30 children during 30 years. He awaits court in 2019

For 34 years until 1995, Father David Joseph Perrett was a Catholic priest in New South Wales. In 2019 (aged 81 and retired) he is awaiting a court case, charged with committing sexual crimes against 30 children throughout his priestly career. That is, his alleged 30-year crime spree occurred under the noses of the church authorities. The charges against Perrett include buggery, carnal knowledge of a child under 10, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The prosecutor has told a court that some of Perrett's charges are so serious that he could perhaps spend the rest of his life in jail if convicted. (By a Broken Rites researcher, article updated 11 January 2019.)

Why did Father Daniel Lyne vanish from the Catholic priesthood?

A victim has made a submission to Australia's national Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, telling how the Catholic religious order of Passionist priests covered up for a serious child-abuser, Father Daniel Lyne. (By a Broken Rites researcher.)

Full story: 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 famously walked to court for his first sentencing. Broken Rites began supporting Ridsdale's victims, resulting in four more court cases for Ridsdale between 1994 and 2017. (Background article, by a Broken Rites researcher.)

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