A Sydney Christian Brother goes on leave, while facing charges in Goulburn

A Catholic boys' secondary school, St Pius X College in Chatswood, on Sydney's North Shore, issued a circular on Wednesday afternoon, 4 March 2015, saying that a Christian Brother from Chatswood has been placed on leave because he is facing court charges re offences allegedly committed at Goulburn in south-western New South Wales in the 1980s. Broken Rites has obtained a copy of the circular, which reads as follows.

Date: 4 March 2015
St Pius X College, Chatswood
From the Principal,  Mr John Couani

Dear Parents/Caregivers

I was informed by the Professional Standards Office of the Christian Brothers Oceania Province that they have placed a Brother on staff on leave and as a result he is no longer at the College.

This action was taken on the advice of NSW Police investigating allegations of abuse that have been made against this Brother, dating back some 25 years ago. The Brother has today been charged by Police in relation to alleged historical sexual and indecent assaults in the Goulburn area.

I want to stress that the charges and allegations are entirely unrelated to St Pius X College, Chatswood, and they do not involve any student of St Pius X College past or present.

This matter is now the subject of an ongoing police investigation and the judicial process, which is now underway.

At this stage, there are no further details, but I wish to reiterate that the Brother is no longer at the College. The College has acted quickly to ensure that alternative teaching arrangements are already in place to ensure continuity for all students and their learning.

Even though the allegation is unrelated to this school, this news may cause distress. I wish to reassure you that we remain mindful of this and will continue to provide support to all who are affected by this or other matters. The College expresses its support for all people who have been the victims of any abuse.

Counselling is available for students and members of the College community through the College Counsellors and external counselling services which the College is able to provide.

It is during times such as these that the strength of our Catholic community is seen at its very best. I know that we will continue to support and pray for each other, and for all involved in this matter. In the meantime, should you have any concerns or queries, please contact me directly. This matter is not open for general discussion and the investigation will take its course through authorities outside of the school.

Once again, thank you for your continued support of each other and St Pius X College.

Yours sincerely

John Couani, Principal