Our top stories
Black Collar Crime
Current court cases
Broken Rites Australia helps victims of church-related
By a Broken Rites researcher
Richard John McPhillamy has been a prominent layman in Catholic Church affairs in the diocese of Bathurst, in central-west New South Wales. In 2008, for example, Mr Rick McPhillamy was listed as being in charge of particular activities at Bathurst's Cathedral of St Michael and St John.
Also, he had worked as an assistant housemaster at St Stanislaus College — a Bathurst boarding school for boys, conducted by the Catholic order of Vincentian priests and brothers. While working at this school in the 1980s, Mr Rick McPhillamy had his own room in the "priests corridor", located near the Year Seven dormitory.
In December 2008, Bathurst police charged McPhillamy with having committed child-sex offences at St Stanislaus College in the mid-1980s. In 2010, he faced jury proceedings in the New South Wales District Court.
McPhillamy pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and five of indecent assault, allegedly committed against two boys, aged 12 to 13,in the mid-1980s while he was working at the school.
The jury verdict was "Guilty" (this was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald website on 11 Oct 2010). In 2011 McPhillamy was sentenced to a minimum of 12 months jail.
Boy #1During the jury proceedings, the court was told that the first complainant was upset at becoming a boarder when he was only 12. McPhillamy "comforted" the boy and allowed him to sit on McPhillamy's bed.to relax.
McPhillamy allegedly gave the boy a hug, using one hand to reach down and stroke the boy's genitals, the court heard.
The boy allegedly left the room, telling McPhillamy not to touch him and to leave him alone.
When the boy was 13, McPhillamy allegedly touched the naked boy who was drying himself in the shower block. The boy moved away and said: "F--k off, you dirty f--king perv, leave me alone."
A week later, the boy was hauled to the headmaster's office and was told that swearing at staff members ''wasn't tolerated'' at the school. The boy wanted to tell the headmaster the reason for the swearing but he was not given the opportunity. Instead, the boy was reprimanded for swearing at the staff member and was sent to be caned.
Boy #2The second pupil, an "extremely homesick" 13-year-old, was upset and did not want to return to the school following a weekend with his parents. McPhillamy allegedly took the boy to his private room and said he could make him feel better by giving him a massage. After massaging him on the neck and shoulders Mr McPhillamy allegedly worked his hands down the boy's back to his private parts.
Three charges related to McPhillamy allegedly straddling the boy to massage him before pushing his hands underneath him to touch the boy's genitals.
The court was also told that McPhillamy would talk to the boy about sex and masturbation.
On another occasion, when the boy fell asleep during a massage, he woke to find his penis being sucked by McPhillamy. The boy jumped up and left the room, and thereafter he avoided McPhillamy.
Further evidenceAs the year progressed the behaviour of both boys at school began to deteriorate and they were disciplined for it, the court was told.
The court heard that when police searched McPhillamy's home in December 2008, they found photographs of the two victims.
On McPhillamy's computer, the police found four images of child pornography. The prosecution argued that these images indicated McPhillamy's sexual interest in young boys.
JailedFor sentencing purposes, the court dealt with the six charges in two batches:
FootnoteWhen Richard John McPhillamy was charged in December 2008, the website of the Cathedral Parish of St Michael and St John in Bathurst was displaying a list of active parishioners who were in charge of various activities in the cathedral parish. The list included:
Acolytes - Rick McPhillamy
On 10 January 2010, before McPhillamy's trial, Broken Rites was still able to retrieve a cache of the same webpage (mentioning Rick McPhillamy and acolytes) via a Google search. However, another attempt to retrieve this webpage on 15 October 2010 (after the conviction) was unsuccessful.