Used with permission.
Evidence and Statistics on Child Sexual Abuse Amongst Church Clergy,
Published By THE EROS FOUNDATION
© Copyright -- Eros Foundation, April 2000
2. AUSTRALIAN SEX CASES INVOLVING CLERGY/CHURCH OFFICIALS
- Death Of A Legendary Sportsman
- Cases Settled Out-Of-Court
- Clergy/Church Officials Convicted After Pleading Guilty
- Clergy/Church Officials Found Guilty By A Jury
- Allegations That Lead To Charges Against Clergy/Church Officials
- Allegations Against Clergy/Church Officials Who Died Before Trial
- Charges Dropped Or Convictions Overturned
3. AN OVERVIEW OF OVERSEAS CASES
- Clergy/Church Officials Charged Or Convicted Of Sex Offences
4. OTHER INFORMATION YOU SHOULD KNOW
5. BRIEF PROFILES ON THE ANTI-VICE CAMPAIGNERS
6. A FINAL WORD ON ISSUES RAISED IN THIS BOOKLET
Most people who follow a Christian lifestyle
are dedicated individuals of good, moral character. They are sincere in
their beliefs and generally work for the betterment of everyone in society.
However, there are also people involved in religious
orders who, for reasons best known to themselves, use their positions of
trust to molest and defile the most vulnerable individuals in our society -
young children. Some of them have stooped so low as to have molested
intellectually handicapped children.
No-one wants to talk about these crimes because, for many
of us, they are too horrific to believe and the gap from trusted spiritual
leader to paedophile is just too difficult for many to traverse. So it is
ignored. But these cases of child sex abuse, perpetrated by religious leaders,
must be faced -- no matter how difficult that may be -- if we, as a society, are
to reduce their number or, better yet, eradicate them altogether.
From the research contained in this book, it is clear that
a significant number of child sex abuse cases do involve clergy and church
officials, though a far greater number of cases occur than are ever reported.
However, the increasing number of cases that are reported serve to highlight
what a massive problem this has become. Some have even called it an epidemic but
one that has been brushed under the carpet.
We ask you, the reader, to follow up this research with
your own, and to discuss the problem with your family and friends. Above all
else, find out what’s happening in your own community. Only then can you decide
what to think about the sensitive and controversial issues of paedophile
priests, the moral hypocrisy their actions engineer and the countless victims
whose lives they destroy.
This booklet is not designed to criticise religion or make
judgments on the day to day lifestyles of church clergy. It is published in the
hope that by acknowledging these events, perhaps more will be done to prevent
their continued occurrence.
THE NEED FOR AN OFFICIAL ENQUIRY
Nearly 450 individual child sexual assaults by church
clergy are referenced in this publication as having been dealt with by
Australian courts in the short space of 10 years. This shows that, as a
profession, the priesthood has lost its direction and has become a real danger
to the community. The scale of this travesty is so great that only the highest
level enquiry will get to the bottom of it.
We ask for your help and support in encouraging the
Federal Government to conduct a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse amongst
church clergy and officials, immediately.
We believe the terms of reference for such an inquiry
should include the following:
1) An examination of the content and practice of training programs that church
and clergy officials have undergone in the past and continue to do so in the
2) An examination of the effects, if any, that celibacy and sexual repression
have upon child sex abuse;
3) The nature and extent of the church's cover up of child sexual abuse within
4) The need to reassess current government assistance to church-based education
and training programs that deal with children, including taxation and other
5) The extent to which church leaders, who have presided over child sex abuse
cases in their jurisdiction, have affected current censorship regimes that deal
with child sexuality and sexual violence in general.
|2. AUSTRALIAN SEX CASES
INVOLVING CLERGY/CHURCH OFFICIALS
There are too
many cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and church officials for
all of them to be listed in this small booklet. However, we have recorded
many of the cases that were brought to trial in the 1990s. The first case we
list involves a man whose tragic death you may already know about but the
reasons behind this Aussie legend’s demise may come as more of a surprise to
many of you.
Death Of A Football Hero
It is well known that child sexual abuse destroys many
lives in this country, and around the world, but when that abuse leads to the
death of a public hero, in later life, everyone sits up and takes notice.
Sadly, for Peter Jackson -- the rugby league star known to
fans as the happy-go-lucky clown prince of the league -- he was never able to
overcome the aftermath of the sexual abuse he experienced as a schoolboy at the
Southport School on the Gold Coast in 1979 and 1980.
The untimely death of the star footballer-turned-media
personality, from a heroin overdose at the age of 33 in November 1997, seemed
unthinkable. After-all, Jackson’s career had gone from strength to strength,
playing nine Test matches for Australia, representing Queensland in the State Of
Origin 17 times, playing for the Canberra Raiders, Brisbane Broncos and North
Sydney Bears before embarking on a media career.
But Jackson was also a troubled man, who sought medical
help numerous times to battle drug addiction and manic depression and, during
treatment, told doctors about the sexual abuse he experienced in his youth.
There is little doubt that this abuse impacted greatly on Jackson’s life and may
well have led to his premature death.
Just weeks before he died, Jackson had given his solicitor
a four-page letter detailing his life story and telling of the abuse that dated
back to when he was 16 years old.
The teacher involved was Ossie McNamara, a former Catholic
Marist brother who had previously been convicted for indecently dealing with a
boy at a Brisbane school and had also been charged with assault and indecently
dealing with a male arising from his time at St Joseph’s College in Queensland
in the 1970s.
McNamara confessed to molesting Jackson and said he felt
guilty about it after being told that the abuse had tormented Jackson later in
life. He even tried to contact Jackson after his 1989 wedding but Jackson’s
wife, Siobhan, had told him to "never to approach [Jackson] again".
"I know it was stupid, I think I was very naive,"
McNamara admitted in a newspaper interview. "Jackson was something very special
to me and it just got out of hand... I have always felt guilty about what did
happen, I thought he grew out of all that."
But like many victims of sexual abuse, Jackson was scarred
for life and no amount of success on the football field, in the media and even
in his personal life could cure him of the pain he felt within.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Jackson’s widow would
eventually settle a case with the exclusive Anglican private school where the
alleged sexually abused had taken place. The undisclosed settlement was believed
to be in the vicinity of $250,000 but no amount of money could ever make up for
the loss of her husband under such tragic circumstances.
Jackson was a brilliant sportsman, well liked by
colleagues, fans and the media, but his tragic demise is just one example of
what happens to many of the victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by church
and clergy officials every year.
Cases Settled Out-Of-Court
Following are some of the cases of sex offences committed by clergy/church
officials and organisations that were settled out-of-court in Australia in the
Barbara Smith received a near-record amount in a compensation settlement, in
January 2000, from a Franciscan order for incidents involving sexual abuse
perpetrated on her by two of their priests in 1982 and a separate compensation
from the Melbourne archdiocese for sexual abuse by another priest in 1973.
Although the terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement,
it is believed Smith received a total of more than $200,000. Smith said she was
relieved her fight for justice was over but still felt bitter about her
treatment, adding that she first brought her sexual abuse complaint to the
attention of former Archbishop Frank Little in 1975.
The Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic Church negotiated an out-of-court
settlement, in 1998, with more than 60 former resident of the Neerkol orphanage
between 1924 and 1971, who claimed they were abused and imprisoned as children.
In October 1997, the Sisters of Mercy apologised "unreservedly" to former
residents who were "victims of physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual
abuse". The settlement ended one of the largest litigation cases in Queensland
In 1996, Christian Brothers in Western Australia agreed to pay out $3.5
million to more than 260 men claiming they were sexually abused in boarding
schools and orphanages run by the Catholic order, dating as far back as the
1930s. The out-of-court settlement is the final chapter in a three year court
battle by the men, in a case that was fought in the NSW and Victorian supreme
courts. Former students will be paid at least $2,000 each, with higher payments
of up to $25,000 for those who can show long-term trauma. The Christian Brothers
will also pay a further $1.5 million in legal costs incurred by the
Clergy/Church Officials Convicted After Pleading Guilty
Following are some of the cases of clergy/church officials who pleaded guilty
to sex offences in Australia in the 1990s. There can be no doubt as to their
guilt but some sentence conditions may have changed due to legal appeals.
In March 2000, Catholic priest, Terrence Thomas Keliher, pleaded guilty to
two counts of indecent dealing with a girl under 12 years, occurring between
January 1 and June 4, 1977. In sentencing Keliher to two-and-a-half years jail,
Judge Brian Hoath said he accepted Keliher was remorseful but the acts he
committed on the then 9-year-old victim were "particularly revolting" and done
while Keliher was in a position of great trust.
In 1999, Catholic priest, Father Raymond Deal, a former secretary to retired
Melbourne Archbishop Frank Little, pleaded guilty in the Broadmeadows
Magistrates Court to three charges of indecent assault against an emotionally
impaired 26-year-old man at his Corpus Christi parish in Glenroy between
December 1998 and March 1999. The victim was a parishioner who had been placed
in Deal’s care to serve out a community service order imposed for minor past
offences. During Deal’s sentencing, magistrate, Mr Paul Grant, described the
offences committed as "a betrayal of your position as a priest and a betrayal of
the trust placed in you of your supervision of this man," adding, "The offences
must be regarded as serious breaches of the law..." Deal was sentenced to a two
year good behaviour bond for the first two offences and a four-month prison
sentence, suspended for two years, for the third offence.
Former Roman Catholic parish priest, Wilfred James Baker, pleaded guilty in
1999 to 15 charges of indecent assault involving seven boys and one count of
gross indecency involving another boy. The child sex offences spanned almost 20
years, beginning in 1960, and the victims were all aged between 10 and 12 years
at the time of the offences. Baker was a curate then parish priest at a number
of suburban parishes including Gladstone Park, Eltham and Brighton East and was
described by former parishioners as an enthusiastic priest who revitalised
parishes at Eltham and Gladstone Park. Baker was sentenced to four years jail
for the child sex offences.
A member of the Salvation Army, Phillip Martin Lawrence Briscoe, of Valley
View in SA, pleaded guilty, in 1999, to possessing child pornography after
photos were discovered of two young girls under his care as foster children.
Briscoe claimed the photos were taken of the naked, young girls as a form of
art. Though none were explicit, Judge Sulan said the photographs were "mildly
seductive" and that Briscoe "showed little sensitivity to the girls in taking
and retaining the photographs". Briscoe was fined $1,200.
In 1999, former Anglican archdeacon, Louis Victor Daniels, formerly of St
George’s Rectory, Burnie, admitted to four counts of indecent assault and two of
oral sexual intercourse, involving a 14-year-old boy, related to two incidents
between January 1, 1992 and April 10, 1992. More sex offence charges, arising
from about 10 more incidents in 1994, that had been lodged against Daniels, were
later dropped because the prosecutor was unable to give specific dates for the
Former Christian Brother, John Joseph Jordan, was given a 12-month good
behaviour bond after pleading guilty, in 1999, to one count of indecent assault
on a male under 16 years of age. Jordan, from Valley View in SA, had engaged in
mutual masturbation with a 13-year-old boy at a Geelong orphanage in the early
1960s then left the order soon after the offence, which came to light in 1997
after Jordan volunteered the information to police.
Catholic priest Patrick Joseph Cleary, formerly the priest of the inner
western Brisbane parish of Ashgrove, pleaded guilty, in 1998, to three counts of
indecent dealing between 1967 and 1973. He molested a 15-year-old boy whose
mother had just died, while the boy was in the confessional at a church in
Wavell Heights. A second attack occurred after Cleary contacted the boy’s
father, telling him to send the teenager in for religious education. A second
victim, who was 16 at the time, was molested after Cleary took him to a park to
look for his lost bike.
John Gerard Patrick Sweeney, a former parish priest of Our Lady Queen of
Peace at Greystanes and the founder and former superior general of the
now-disbanded order of religious teaching brothers, the Society of St Gerard
Majella, pleaded guilty in 1998 to committing an act of indecency against former
trainee brothers over an 11 year period. Sweeney, who also helped administer the
former Newman Catholic High School, was one of the order’s three ordained
priests who have each been jailed in relation to sexual assaults of young men
considering a religious life with the order. Two others are serving jail terms
for offences involving novices and postulants. Sweeney had also been convicted
by a jury in May 1997, of three counts of indecent assault and was jailed for 18
months in relation to those offences.
Brian Robert Gordon, former Queensland Catholic Education administrator, was
sentenced to a minimum of 12 months jail for child-sex offences committed while
he taught at a Sydney school. Gordon pleaded guilty in 1998 to six charges and
was found guilty on a further two charges of indecently assaulting four
11-year-old boys at St Mary’s primary school in Dundas between 1970 and 1972.
Gordon had confessed his indiscretions in 1971 to the Provincial of the Marist
Brothers but was told to put it behind him. He went on to teach at a number of
schools until he was arrested on charges of indecent assault in 1996. Gordon
said that he was ashamed about what he had done to the boys, although he had
never gone to confession about it. He is no longer a practising Catholic.
Former De La Salle Brother, Frank Keating -- who was known as Brother Ibar,
pleaded guilty in 1998 to 21 charges of indecently assaulting 12 Melbourne boys,
between 1972 and 1978, and was jailed for eight months. The court hearing was
told that Keating had joined the order at a very young age and was described as
"sexually naive". Keating, who was stood down from the Melbourne school
after complaints of sexual abuse, had received specialist medical advice and
ongoing medical support. He was later posted to the De La Salle College in
Redcliffe as sports master in 1981 and then appointed school principal in 1989
but, two years later, he was stood down when "a further compliant was received".
Keating was sentenced to three years jail, with 28 months suspended.
Former Catholic primary school teacher, Andrew Langley Graham, pleaded
guilty in 1998 to one charge of indecent assault between 1979 and 1980, four
charges of indecent assault in 1983 and one charge of having sexual intercourse
without consent in 1983. All the offences occurred at Camden and involved Graham
masturbating the boy, who was 10 when the first offence was committed. During
sentencing, Judge Helen Morgan said, "This matter cannot be treated as isolated
offences. They constituted a course of conduct over a long period," adding that
the victim estimated Graham had molested him at least 30 time. Graham was jailed
for 12 months.
In 1997, a Church elder pleaded guilty to unlawful carnal knowledge and to
maintaining a sexual relationship with his 15-year-old sister-in-law and was
jailed for four years with a recommendation for parole after 16 months.
Former Catholic priest and second in charge of the religious order the
Society of St Gerard Majella, Peter Harold Pritchard (also known as Joseph
Pritchard) pleaded guilty in 1997 to a charge of buggery, one of assault with
intent to commit buggery and two counts of committing acts of indecency,
committed against four teenagers. Pritchard also had four charges of acts of
indecency, that occurred at HMAS Nirimba at Quakers Hill -- where Pritchard was
the Catholic chaplain, taken into account by the judge during sentencing.
Pritchard received a six year jail sentence.
Former principal of a Marist Brothers college, Gregory Vincent Coffey,
pleaded guilty in 1997 to six counts of indecent assault against two students
that occurred in 1976 and 1977 at Immaculate Heart Marist Brothers College where
he taught. Coffey was sentenced to a jail term of two-and-a-half-years, wholly
suspended for two-and-a-half-years. Coffey was also ordered to pay his victims
compensation of $7,500 each, in monthly installments of $500.
Catholic priest, Leo Daniel Wright, pleaded guilty in 1995 to nine counts of
indecently dealing with a girl under 12, four counts of indecently dealing with
her sister when under 16 and three counts of gross indecency with a boy under
16. The offences against the children occurred between 1968 and 1970. Wright
also pleaded guilty to one count of indecently assaulting an 18-year-old woman
in 1977. Wright was sentenced to three years jail. Two years later, in 1997,
Wright pleaded guilty to four counts each of indecent treatment and indecent
assault between 1971 and 1976 and was sentenced to a further 18 months,
suspended after six months.
Catholic priest, Father Gerard Vincent Ryan, who worked in the
Maitland-Newcastle dioceses, pleaded guilty in 1996 to 11 charges, six of
indecently assaulting four boys and five of homosexual intercourse with another
boy. He also asked Judge Rummery, in the District Court, to consider, on
sentencing, eight more offences. Ryan was given a four year jail sentence. A
year later, in 1997, Ryan returned to court to face a further 14 sex offences
against boys aged 6-14. Sentenced again, this time in the Cooma District Court,
Ryan had another 39 charges taken into account and was received an 11 year jail
sentence, to commence in May 2000, after the sentence he was already serving had
Mark Geoffrey Fisher, a former scoutmaster and Anglican church choirmaster,
pleaded guilty, in 1997, to charges of 35 sex offences involving eight boys aged
between 11 and 15, that occurred over a 17 year period up to 1988. Fisher, who
was scoutmaster at the 1st Hunters Hill troop between 1969 and 1988 and
choirmaster at several Anglican churches, told the Parramatta District Court he
was sorry for his actions. "I’m truly ashamed and I hope they are in a position
to forgive me," said Fisher.
Marist Brother John Dyson, a former principal of the Catholic High School at
Alice Springs, pleaded guilty in 1997 to four counts of indecent assault against
two boys in a Catholic college in Victoria in 1983. Dyson admitted masturbating
the boys up to five times a week while he was a teacher and dormitory master at
Assumption College at Kilmore, Victoria.
Retired Salvation Army major, Charles Alan Smith, pleaded guilty, in 1997,
in Perth District Court to 39 charges, including indecent dealing with a child
under 14, carnal knowledge against the order of nature, gross indecency and
indecent assault, committed against nine boys aged between 10 and 17 over a 15
year period. Many of the offences were committed in the 1960s and 1970s. Smith
had earlier pleaded guilty to 76 offences against 20 boys in Perth from 1958 to
1977. During sentencing, Chief Judge Kevin Hammond described Smith as a dominant
man and a true paedophile who had preyed on young boys and used them as sexual
plaything, sentencing him to 15 years jail.
Catholic priest, Desmond Laurence Gannon, pleaded guilty in Melbourne
Magistrates Court in 1997 to indecently assaulting three boys, one as young as
12, between January 1960 and March 1969. Gannon had already served a 12 month
jail term at prisons in Sale and Ararat for child-sex offences to which he
pleaded guilty at Prahran Magistrates Court in 1995. Gannon was sentenced to 12
months in jail, suspended for two years.
Former Anglican minister, Frank Dennis Martin Bazely, of Belhus, pleaded
guilty in 1997 to four counts of unlawful and indecent dealings with boys under
the age of 14, three counts of unlawful and indecent assaults on a male, two of
unlawful and indecent assaults on a female and three of carnal knowledge on a
male. The crimes took place between 1969 and 1975 and involved three children --
two brothers and their sister, aged six to 16. Bazely was jailed for a maximum
term of five years.
Former Christian Brother, Stephen Francis Farrell, pleaded guilty in 1997 to
nine counts of indecently assaulting two brothers aged nine and 10, at the St
Alipius Christian Brothers primary school in Ballarat in the early to mid-1970s.
During sentencing, Magistrate Ian von Einem described the abuse as "repulsive
and outrageous" and that it had a lasting impact on the victims. Farrell was
given a two year jail sentence, suspended for two years.
Anglican youth group organiser and former Bunbury scout leader, Frederick
Charles Underwood, pleaded guilty in 1997 to 79 counts of indecent dealings, 10
counts of gross indecency, one of procuring indecent dealings, one of inciting
indecent dealings and another of attempted carnal knowledge. Underwood had
originally been charged with 500 sex offences involving more than 25 young boys
between 1971 and 1991. Some of his victims later committed suicide and at least
one went on to abuse a six-year-old girl repeatedly over a two year period.
Underwood was sentenced to a jail term of 12 years.
Church youth leader, Darryl Lindsay Mowday, pleaded guilty in Brisbane
District Court in 1996 to eight charges of indecent dealing and carnal knowledge
with a 13-year-old girl, between 1992 and 1994. Mowday, who admitted having sex
with the girl in parks, in his car and at his home when his wife was away, was
sentenced to seven years’ jail.
Father Ron John McKeirnan, the former Queensland Catholic Education
deputy-director, was jailed for three years - suspended after 12 months - for
child sex offences. McKeirnan, of Coorparoo in Brisbane, pleaded guilty, in
1996, to 15 counts of indecent assault and indecent dealing with boys aged 12 to
16 between 1964 and 1965 and again between 1975 and 1977.
A former Marist Brother, identified only as "AB", pleaded guilty in 1996 to
67 charges against 15 children aged between nine and 11, from his year 5 classes
at Mosman Marist Primary School in 1976 and 1977, at Eastwood Marist primary in
1978-79, St Thomas Moore in 1984-85 and St Carthages, Lismore, in 1986-87. AB
admitted masturbating the boys, digitally penetrating the girls, forcing many of
the children to masturbate him, some of the boys to masturbate each other and
some of the girls to kiss him. AB also performed oral sex on one of the girls --
on the kitchen table of her family home. After being arrested in the US, where
he had fled just days after two of his victims complained to police, AB was
extradited back to Australia to stand trial and later sentenced to 18 years’
jail. During sentencing in the Sydney District Court, Judge David Freeman said
that AB had unrelentingly singled out innocent children, regardless of their sex
or circumstances, to satisfy his sexual gratification, describing him as an
"evil" man whose crimes had left deep scars not only on the children he abused
but also on their peers, families and friends.
Former Marist brother, Peter Richard Spratt, pleaded guilty in 1996 to two
acts of indecency against a 14-year-old boy from the Marist College where Spratt
worked. The incidents occurred at Carinya Holiday Centre, Jindabyne, and at a
Marist Brothers’ residence at Wategoes Beach, Byron Bay, in 1979. After taking
into account Spratt’s remorse, co-operation with police and clean record, Cooma
Local Court Magistrate Jill MacDonald placed him on a $2,000, two year
good-behaviour bond. The victim’s stepfather called the sentence "really
ridiculous...when you consider what it’s done to our son, it’s hard to
Former Christian Brother, William Edwin Marchant, from the Bidyadanga
Aboriginal community at La Grange (150 km south of Broome in WA), was charged
with four counts of gross indecency with a 12-year-old boy at Tardun Boys Home
in 1967 and 1968. Marchant pleaded guilty to one count in 1997 and was
In 1996, Catholic priest, Father John Leslie Treacy, pleaded guilty to
indecently assaulting a 16-year-old in January 1988 and was placed on a $750
bond but no conviction recorded in May 1993. After the court hearing, Treacy was
sent on leave while receiving psychiatric help then transferred from the
Sandhurst Diocese to the Queensland town of Dalby, where he worked as an
Keith John Burton, an associate pastor at a Protestant church in North
Brisbane, pleaded guilty in 1996 to one count of maintaining a sexual
relationship with a minor, five counts of indecent treatment of a boy under the
age of 16 and one count of having permitted himself to be sodomised. He was
sentenced to seven years, the victims were aged 14 and 12 when the incidents
occurred from 1985 to 1989.
A member of the Christian Brothers order, code-named X11, told the Wood
royal commission in 1996 that he sexually molested 20 boys, aged as young as
five, over a 28 year period. X11 admitted he preyed on disadvantaged boys under
his care and that he told his superiors of some of the assaults as early as 1987
but the Christian Brothers did not tell police and allowed X11 to remain in the
order. X11, who taught extensively throughout NSW since joining the order in
1961, was interviewed by police a year later, after a complaint was made by one
of his victims, code-named X17.
Christian Brother, Edward Vernon Dowlan, pleaded guilty in 1996 to 16 counts
of indecently assaulting 11 male students under the age of 16 between March 1971
and July 1982. Two counts were committed while Dowlan was teaching at St Alipius
Primary School, four counts were committed at St Thomas’ College, seven at St
Patrick’s College and three at Cathedral College. Originally sentenced to nine
years and eight months’ jail, Dowlan had his sentence reduced, by the Court of
Appeal in 1997, to six-and-a-half years.
Canberra Anglican priest John Phillip Aitchison pleaded guilty in 1996 to
charges of sexual intercourse with a young boy and was sentenced in the
Queanbeyan District Court to three years jail. Aitchison was already serving a
three year sentence after being found guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court of
three acts of indecency against the same boy when he was nine, 10 and 12 years
old. Numerous other charges had been laid in NSW for incidences involving
Aitchison abusing the boy in that state. The charges involved fondling and the
victim also told the court that Aitchison would clothe him in nappies and rub
talcum powder on his body.
Former principal of a Victorian Catholic school, James Richard Gunn, pleaded
guilty in 1995 to five charges of indecent assault and six of taking part in
acts of sexual penetration with a boy over 10 but under 16, committed between
1987 and 1989. Gunn was sentenced to three years jail.
Catholic priest, Father Gerard Joseph Mulvale, who was previously found
guilty of three counts of indecent assault of one 15-year-old boy, pleaded
guilty in 1995 to one count each of indecent assault and gross indecency in
relation to another male victim of a similar age. Mulvale was also acquitted of
two counts of indecent assault on the first victim. The offences occurred
between 1977 and 1981, both before and after Mulvale became a catholic priest of
the Pallottine Order in 1979. Both victims were members of church youth groups
at St Christopher’s parish in Syndal, of which Mulvale was a leader. Mulvale was
sentenced to three years jail.
Melbourne priest, Father John Kevin O’Donnell, pleaded guilty to 12 counts
of indecent assault on 10 boys and two girls under the age of 16 between 1946
and 1977. During sentencing, Judge Kellam told O’Donnell he had committed an
"audacious and rapacious breach of your obligations to these children and their
parents as their parish priest’’. The counts of indecent assault occurred in
Chelsea, Seymour, Tallarook, Dandenong, Hastings, Rosebud and Oakleigh and all
of O’Donnell’s victims were students at schools attached to his parish -- some
were altar boys. O’Donnell received a total sentence of 39 months jail in 1995.
Former Marist Brothers Eastwood teacher and trainee priest, Phillip John
Hardy, pleaded guilty to 13 counts (and was found guilty on another five counts)
of sexual abuse charges committed against a boy from the ages of 8 till 16. In
1995, Hardy was sentenced to a minimum of seven years jail and a maximum of 11
years for his "abhorrent" crimes. During sentencing, NSW District Court Judge
Angela Karpin said Hardy "represents every parent’s nightmare, a trusted friend,
teacher and religious example who flagrantly abuses that trust... The prisoner
is not a monster but over eight years he behaved in a monstrous way."
Marist Brother, David Austin Christian, pleaded guilty in 1995 to eight
counts of indecency, against a 10-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy. The
incidences occurred while Christian was the principal of Newman Junior College.
He was sentenced in the Perth District Court and his $10,500 fine was paid by
the Marist Church.
Catholic priest, Gerald Ridsdale, was jailed for 18 years in 1994, after
pleading guilty to 46 charges of sex abuse of 21 children aged between nine and
15, in various towns around Victoria between 1961 and 1982. Ridsdale had earlier
been charged with 180 counts including 21 counts of buggery, 102 of indecent
assault and 55 of gross indecency. Ridsdale had also been sentenced to jail some
27 years earlier for sexual assault offences committed against eight victims at
Inglewood and Edenhope. During sentencing at the County Court, Judge John Dee
blamed the Catholic Church superiors for failing to take Ridsdale out of
circulation after becoming aware of his criminal conduct, telling Ridsdale, "You
were given some perfunctory in-house counselling before being shifted off to
continue your criminal conduct in other areas."
In 1994, the former Vicar-General of Parramatta and parish priest of St
Marys, Father Richard St John Cattell, pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent
assault on a 14-year-old boy who had gone to him to report a sexual assault by
another teacher. Cattell told the boy that this sort of experience was "normal"
then indecently assaulted him several times during the next three years. Cattell
was sentenced in the Penrith District Court to two years’ jail.
Anglican priest, Father Michael Roderick Painter, pleaded guilty in 1994 to
sex offences against a 16-year-old boy and faced four further charges of
aggravated sexual assault against a 13-year-old boy. Sentenced in the Perth
District Court, Painter received three years probation and 240 hours of
Catholic priest, Father Peter Lewis Comensoli, pleaded guilty to assaulting
two boys aged 11 and 17, and admitting he used alcohol, pornography and gifts to
ingratiate himself to his victims. The former Gwynneville parish priest, was
jailed for 18-months in October 1994.
In 1994, a former scout leader and YMCA leader, Robert John Richardson,
pleaded guilty and was convicted on 29 counts of indecent assault, four of
indecent acts with a child under 16, three each of gross indecency and indecent
acts in the presence of a 16-year-old, and two of sexual penetration of a
16-year-old. Richardson was sentenced to 10 years in jail for sexually molesting
the boys, who were aged 11 to 16 at the time of the offences. During the case,
it was alleged that Richardson molested 12 boys in his charge and that the
crimes he committed numbered about 100.
* Roderick Albert Joseph Corrie, one
of the most senior and highly decorated Scouts in NSW, was jailed for seven
years in February 2000 after pleading guilty in the District Court to eight most
serious of 77 charges of sexually abusing children as young as 11, including
rape and buggery, occurring from 1969 to 1995. Two years earlier, Corrie had
been convicted of eight charges of "aggravated indecent assault" and placed on a
bond, given counselling and 70 hours of community service. The leader of
Australia’s 90,000-strong Scouting movement, Dr Bruce Munro, apologised to the
families of those abused after the Sydney Morning Herald obtain a copy of a
14-page report written by a senior Scout leader in 1981 that detailed serious
allegations of Corrie abusing four boys, one aged 12 at the time. Munro admitted
that those allegations were not properly investigated or referred to the police
and that although Corrie was initially suspended, he was then simply allowed to
transfer as a leader to a North Shore Scouting group. Even after police began
investigating Corrie in 1994, he was allowed to continue having contact with -
and sexually abusing -- scouts until at least May 1995. According to chief
executive of NSW Scouts, Mr Peter Olah, Corrie was one of seven paedophiles in
the ‘movement’ to be convicted during the past 10 years.
Former Christian Brother, Gerard William Dick, pleaded guilty in 1994 to 10
counts of indecent dealing with a boy under 14, more than 30 years earlier. Dick
was sentenced to three years jail.
Catholic Brother, John Littler, pleaded guilty in 1993 to three charges of
indecent assault in Sydney’s District Court and received a five year good
Christian Brother Bill Hocking pleaded guilty in 1992 to aggravated indecent
assault of 14-year-old boy under his care at a youth refuge and was sentenced to
150 hours of community service.
Clergy/Church Officials Found Guilty By A Jury
Following are some of the cases of clergy/church officials who were found
guilty of sex offences in Australia in the 1990s. Some names have been omitted
for legal reasons (as legal appeals may be pending).
In February 1999, Catholic priest, Bryan Coffey, was found guilty in the
County Court at Ballarat, Victoria, of 12 counts of indecent assault on a male
under 16, one count of indecent assault on a girl under 16 and one count of
false imprisonment. The charges related to the sexual abuse of seven altar boys
and one girl in several parishes in the Western District between 1963 and 1975.
He was sentenced to three years jail with the whole term suspended. A later
appeal to increase the sentence was brought by the Director of Public
Prosecutions, who argued that the current sentence was manifestly inadequate.
The appeal was thrown out in a 2-1 majority vote.
Bryce Kingsley Fennell, an active church member, was found guilty of three
counts of rape after he invited a 19-year-old intellectually disabled teenager,
who had come to his door selling raffle tickets, into his Mount Gambier home and
raped him three times on 4 May, 1998. During the sentencing submission, the
court heard that Fennell’s criminal history related almost entirely to his
"sexual problems" and that most of his victims had been aged 15 years or under.
Fennell’s solicitor, Mr Nick Vadasz, told the court his client had very little
actual control over his desires and that he was now prepared to be chemically
castrated. Fennell appealed against the judgment but the appeal was dismissed on
13 May 1999 and Fennell was subsequently sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.
In 1998, a Catholic priest was sentenced to two years of periodic detention
after being found guilty of indecently assaulting an 11-year-old girl in his
parish 22 years earlier. The priest’s name was suppressed but the DPP
prosecutor, Robyn Denes, told the Campbelltown District Court that "the evidence
discloses a systematic abuse of a young child. She was 11 years old when it
happened". Denes also said the priest had shown no evidence of contrition or
remorse for his actions.
Stephen Joseph Robinson, a former Catholic brother of the Society of St
Gerard Majella, was sentenced to a minimum jail term of 18 months after being
convicted in 1998 of an act of indecency on a former postulant and a former
novice in separate jury trials. Robinson had been the society’s former novice
master and spiritual director.
A former Christian Brother’s headmaster was convicted on May 17, 1995 and
jailed for 5 years after being found guilty of two counts of gross indecency.
The Christian Brother had abused two aboriginal boys, one aged under 14 years,
on a remote aboriginal community in NT.
Church elder and Sunday school teacher, Robert Arthur Selby Lowe, was
sentenced to life in prison in 1994 for kidnapping and murdering a six-year-old
girl. Lowe had been arrested in March 1993 with a written "confession’’ in his
possession that admitted he had abducted the girl, but claiming she had died
after accidentally choking. Lowe had earlier been convicted of sexual offences
in Britain, New Zealand and NSW and been warned for indecent exposure in Croydon
Anglican priest, Father John Sydney Morley, was found guilty on two counts
of indecent assault in 1992 and was given an 18 month suspended sentence. The
charges related to offences committed against an 11-year-old girl and a
Allegations That Lead To Charges Against Clergy/Church Officials
Following are some of the reports of allegations of sex offences made against
clergy/church officials in Australia in the 1990s. Some names have been omitted
for legal reasons, to protect the identity of those with trials and
In 1999, the Catholic Church’s Commission into Sexual Abuse found that
priest, Father Peter Waters sexually abused Michael Santamaria, a nephew of the
late B.A. Santamaria, in the 1970s. Independent commissioner Peter O’Callaghan
made the finding but Father Waters "vehemently" denied the allegations and
formally refused to accept the commission’s jurisdiction. However, Waters was
replaced in his parish of Kyneton in 1999. Michael Santamaria said he did not
disclose the incidents when his uncle was alive as he was still a force in the
church and had befriended the priest involved.
In 1999, a witness from the stolen generations trial told the court how a
missionary assaulted him, as a young aboriginal boy living in Northern Territory
institutions, when he was bed-ridden with the mumps and alone in his hostel
dormitory. The same missionary tried to assault the boy a second time when he
next fell ill.
In 1999, former Guildford Grammar dormitory master and Scotch College
primary school teacher, Peter Jeremy Longley, of Karnup in WA, was charged with
20 counts of indecent dealings with a child under 14 years of age. The charges,
for offences allegedly committed between 1957 and 1984, arose after five
complainants had come forward, two were former Guildford Grammar students, two
former Scotch College students and another person. Trial has not yet taken
place, scheduled for 21 June, 2000.
A senior Catholic clergyman was charged with two counts each of indecent
dealing with a boy under 17 and indecent assault. Brisbane Magistrate Peter
Mitchell suppressed the name of the clergyman and that of his alleged victim.
Former science and discipline master of a Sydney Catholic primary school,
Robert Joseph "Dolly" Dunn is facing trial on numerous charges including
homosexual intercourse, acts of indecency, indecent assault, aggravated sexual
assault, attempted sexual intercourse, gross indecency, employing a child for
pornographic purposes and supplying cannabis, involving 10 boys aged from seven
years and upwards, occurring between 1979 and 1995. Dunn’s trial was delayed
while his lawyers unsuccessfully argued Dunn should be granted immunity from
prosecution because he was granted two indemnities in 1990 so he would help
police by giving evidence about three allegedly corrupt former police officers.
Although Judge Davidson dismissed the District Court action, as of October 1999,
the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is yet to re-list the case.
In 1998, an Anglican priest faced nine charges of indecent assault on a male
for offences that allegedly occurred during 1973 and 1974.
In 1997, a former Christian Brother faced trial over alleged sex offences
against a child under 14 years of age at Perth Magistrates Court. The Brother,
who was too ill to face court at the time, was charged with nine counts of
carnal knowledge and five of indecent dealings with a child under 14, alleged to
have taken place in a Perth home between 1955 and 1956.
In 1997, an 80-year-old clergyman and former Neerkol orphanage worker was
charged with three counts of rape and 37 counts of indecent dealing for alleged
offences committed between 1945 and 1975 at the Sisters of Mercy’s St Joseph’s
Orphanage. Charges against the clergyman, who could not be named, included rape
of a girl under the age of 14 and indecent dealings with girls under the age of
16 and boys under the age of 14. The brother of one of the girls allegedly raped
and abused by the clergyman told the Rockhampton Magistrates Court that he had
"spied" on the clergyman and his sister for years, saying, "At the age of 14, I
believed [my sister] had been chosen by God for this. I know it sounds
ridiculous but that’s how I felt ... you have to understand our up-bringing --
the [clergyman] was almost God." He added that it was not until he was about 18
that he realised the attention given to his sister was morally wrong and that
"Not speaking up is something I deeply regret."
In 1997, a Church Pastor, from Reedy Creek in the Gold Coast, was charged
with raping a 16-year-old girl. The youth pastor for the Reach Out For Christ
International, pleaded not guilty to the charges he faced in Southport District
Two retired priests, from the disbanded western Sydney Catholic order, the
Brothers of St Gerard Majella, were charged in 1995 with a range of sexual
assault charges after a Sydney major crime squad team investigated allegations
of sexual misconduct by the order. One of the priests, a 50-year-old, was
charged with 13 counts of assault and committing an act of indecency, two counts
of sexual intercourse without consent, three counts of buggery and one of
indecent assault for offences allegedly occurring in Sydney between 1982 and
1992. The other priest, a 57-year-old, was charged with four counts of assault
and committing acts of indecency, and six counts of indecent assault for
offences occurring in Sydney between 1972 and 1985. The order, which had been
running retreats for high school students and conducted religious classes in NSW
high schools, was disbanded by Bishop Bede Heather shortly after the allegations
came to light in late-1994. The names of the priests, both from Nambucca Heads,
were suppressed along with the names of their alleged victims. The case was
dealt with in the Downing Centre Court in Sydney.
In 1995, a Christian Brother was committed for trial on one count of
buggery, allegedly committed on a nine-year-old boy at a school in Melbourne in
1958. The evidence was heard by Magistrate Phillip Goldberg.
Against Clergy/Church Officials Who Died Before Trial
Following are some of the cases of clergy/church officials who committed
suicide or died before being charged with or tried for alleged sex offences in
Australia in the 1990s.
Father John O’Regan, former priest at Nazareth House in Brisbane, died
before police could interview him over child sex allegations.
In 1997, Peter Bohrsmann, the boarding master of one of Sydney’s most
prestigious schools, St Ignatius’ College at Riverview, was found dead in his
car, with the engine running, close to the 1300-pupil Jesuit school’s boat shed.
Two days earlier, Bohrsmann had professed his innocence when told by Father
Christopher Gleeson, headmaster at the college, that an anonymous but detailed
complaint had been made against him.
Prominent Wollongong figure and principal of the Edmund Rice College,
Brother Michael Evans, killed himself just before Christmas in 1994, after a
police investigation had concluded there was enough evidence to charge him with
indecent assault. It is alleged that Brother Evans had been abusing boys for
years and, since 1984, victims had complained about him to senior figures in the
Catholic Church and to the police.
Catholic priest Father Nazareno Fasciale admitted to police that he had
cuddled and fondled an 11-year-old altar boy at beach picnics and after mass in
the early-1970s. Fasciale had earlier told the church hierarchy that he could
not deny allegations he assaulted children in the mid-1950s, the comments
leading to his removal from parish work. The 69-year-old Williamstown priest was
facing 13 charges of indecent assault and gross indecency when he died of cancer
on 13 March 1996.
Charges Dropped Or Convictions Overturned
Following are some of the cases where alleged charges against clergy/church
officials were dropped or convictions overturned on appeal in Australia in the
1990s. Some names have been omitted for legal reasons.
Former parish priest, Reginald Basil Durham, was found guilty of raping a 14
year-old-girl who was made a ward of the state to escape sexual abuse from her
stepfather that had begun when the girl was eight. The court was told Durham had
forced the girl had into a bedroom at the now closed St Joseph’s Orphanage, at
Neerkol, and then raped her in 1966. Following the attack, the girl was admitted
to hospital for five days, in December 1966, with abdominal pains and fever but
records of the treatment had long been destroyed. The girl had complained to a
nun at the time but was told no action would be taken because her allegation was
"made up". However, she decided to consult police about the alleged rape some
thirty years later, leading to Durham’s court case. Judge Warren Howell, in
sentencing Durham to a seven-and-a-half year jail term, said the Church had
displayed "blinding corruption" and a "reprehensible attitude in trying to cover
[the complaint] up." Judge Howell told Durham, who had earlier in 1999 pleaded
guilty to six counts of indecent dealing with another child in the 1960s, that
he was an "evil man" who had engaged in a "gross and outrageous breach of
trust". The judge also suggested the community expected the Church to make a
six-figure ex-gratia payout to the victim, along with an apology. However, in
March 2000, Durham’s conviction was set aside, by a unanimous judgment of the
Court of Appeal, because the trial judge’s summing up "lacked judicial balance".
The Director of Public Prosecutions will now decide whether Durham should face
trial again on the rape charges.
Catholic priest, Father Kevin Cox, was charged with three counts of sexual
assault against Margaret Heathwood who claimed he began sexually abusing her
when she was 11-years-old. Ms Heathwood also claimed that Cox made her pregnancy
at 17 then gave her $200.00 towards the cost of an abortion when she was sitting
her HSC trials. After giving evidence at the committal hearing in Campbelltown
Local Court in July 1997, Ms Heathwood returned to the public gallery where Cox
sat, and suddenly produced a knife that she plunged it into her neck, telling
the priest: "This is for your, Kevin." Although Cox was convicted of the
charges, the offences having occurred some 20 years earlier, the conviction was
later overturned by three appeal court judges, leaving Ms Heathwood devastated.
Former radio personality, Hadyn Sargent, was charged with 12 child
sex-related offences allegedly committed while he was a Church of Christ
Minister more than 30 years earlier. The offences were allegedly committed
against Norman Kozeluh, between 1959 and 1960, when he was placed in Sargent’s
care by a court. The charges were later dropped.
Christian Brother, Robert Charles Best, the principal of a Christian
Brothers primary school, was found guilty in 1998 of six counts of indecent
assault and not guilty on a further 12 sex offences relating to three students
between 1969 and 1971. Best had allegedly fondled a grade four boy four times as
he sat next to the student in class pretending to take an interest in his work.
He also allegedly twice abused a grade six boy at the school’s sick bay. Best
was sentenced to two years’ jail but won a retrial in 1998 when the appeal court
quashed the convictions and ordered a new trial which has not yet taken place.
A Christian Brother facing 72 charges of alleged sexual abuse of 35
Aboriginal children, some as young as six, appearing in NT Supreme Court was
found guilty of several of the charges in May 1995. Sentenced to five years
imprisonment, the Brother, whose name was suppressed by the court, later
appealed his conviction which was quashed in October 95 and no re-trial was
Former priest Father Michael Charles Glennon was convicted in 1991 of five
charges of sexually assaulting teenage boys and a girl while Glennon was master
of a karate school run by the Peaceful Hand Foundation at a property at
Lancefield. He was sentenced to nine years jail but the High Court later ruled
that the trial judge, Judge Neesham, had misdirected the jury in relation to one
of the charges involving a teenage boy, and that this had led to a "substantial
miscarriage of justice’’, quashing the conviction and ordering a new trial. The
decision added another chapter to one of Victoria’s longest-running legal
battles, which has been to court 12 times with Glennon convicted, acquitted on
appeal, then had his convictions reinstated on this and other sex charges.
PLEASE NOTE: A FURTHER FORTY-FIVE CLERGY/CHURCH OFFICIALS ARE LISTED IN
THE AUSTRALIAN PAEDOPHILE AND SEX OFFENDER INDEX THAT HAVE NOT EVEN BEEN
MENTIONED IN THIS BOOKLET
The book The Australian Paedophile and Sex Offender Index, published in
1996, includes a listing of offenders by occupation. This listing reveals that
Clergy and Church Officials make up the largest single group of offenders. Of
the more than 350 offenders named in the book, 68 were Clergy & Church
Officials, 38 were Teachers, Educators, Universities and Schools Related (but
not religious teachers) followed by 34 Computers, Videotaping, Video Games,
Entertainment & Media Related. Other occupations prominently listed included
Public Servants, including Members of Parliament, Councillors, Council Workers,
Defence And Police Force Members and Self-Employed, Managers, Directors, Farming
And Business Related. The thoroughly researched book found no prostitutes, no
sex shop owners, no X video producers and no adult publishers with
paedophile backgrounds or sex offences recorded against them.
1997 by Hodder and Stoughton, Child Sexual Abuse and the Churches by Patrick
Parkinson outlines the problem from within the church and offers a very
Christian strategy as a way forward. The real problem with this approach is that
it fails to recognise the root causes of why church clergy sexually assault
young children and instead focuses on 'overcoming' the problems and becoming
'more vigilant' etc.
*Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches by Carolyn Holderread Heggen.
Published by Herald Press in 1993.
This book is written by a psychotherapist who specialises in sexual abuse. It
offers hope that confronting broken sexuality will bring healing - for survivors
of abuse, for perpetrators and for the church. The book drew conclusions that
were well ahead of their time in this area.
Even in 1993, the book was able to state that:
'A disturbing fact continues to surface in sex abuse research. The best
predictor of abuse is alcohol or drug addiction in the father. But the second
best predictor is conservative religiosity, accompanied by parental belief in
traditional female-male roles.'
This means that if you want to know which children are most likely to be
sexually abused by their father, the second most significant clue is whether or
not the parents belong to a conservative religious group with traditional role
beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes (Brown and Bohn,1989; Finkelhor, 1986;
Fortune, 1983; Goldstein, Kant and Hartman, 1973; Van Leeuwen, 1990).
* Other reference works include:
Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children by Annie Laurie Gaylor
3.AN OVERVIEW OF OVERSEAS CASES
In case you thought that the problems of clergy and church
officials committing sex offences was a uniquely Australian problem, we give the
following overview of a number of overseas cases.
Clergy/Church Officials Charged Or Convicted Of Sex
Following are some of the overseas cases of clergy/church
officials charged with or convicted of sex offences or exposed in sex scandals
in the 1990s.
In the largest settlement for a sexual abuse case, the Catholic diocese of
Dallas, in the US, agreed in 1998 to pay .4 million dollars to eight former
altar boys and the family of a ninth boy -- who committed suicide at the age of
21, who were all victimised and sexually abused by former priest Rudolph "Rudy"
Kos. The diocese had earlier agreed to pay three other Kos victims .5 million.
Kos, presently serving a life sentence for abusing the boys in three churches in
or near Dallas in the 1980s and early-1990s, had previously served a year in a
juvenile detention centre for molesting a neighbour. The settlements came after
a jury awarded 11 plaintiffs .6 million in 1997 but the plaintiffs (and a 12th
victim that filed suit after the award had been made) agreed to take the much
lesser amount because they knew the diocese could not afford the larger payment.
The bishop of the diocese, Charles Grahmann, issued a "deeply" felt apology when
he announced the payment.
In 1996, Canadian Roman Catholic bishop, Hubert O’Connor, was sentenced to
two-and-a-half years in prison for sex crimes against native Indian women at a
boarding school he ran in the 1960s. O’Connor was the most senior Catholic
clergyman in Canada to be convicted of such offences.
In 1996, UK Roman Catholic priest, Father Adrian McLeish, was jailed for six
years after admitting 12 charges of sexual abuse of boys under 14, eight of
possessing and distributing child pornography and two of importing illegal
videos. For five years McLeish had been abusing boys, contacted through their
families’ connection with the church. During sentencing, Justice Moses said,
"You sexually abused four young boys, some of whom you groomed with a view to
indulging your sexual desires." McLeish had also built a collection of child
pornography that would have filled the 24-volume Encyclopedia Britannia 11 times
over. Detectives said that some of his collection, that included 9,000 images,
was the worst material seized in England.
Rabbi’s assistant, Yehudah Friedlander, pleaded guilty in 1995 to sexually
molesting a 15-year-old girl on a flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles.
In 1995, Austrian Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer,
resigned his position amid claims he had molested up to 2,000 pupils, monks and
American ex-priest, James Porter, who admitted to molesting as many as 100
children in three US states, was charged with 46 counts of sodomy and indecent
assault committed against 32 people 30 years earlier in a southern Massachusetts
diocese. Porter eventually pleaded guilty, in 1993, to 46 charges of sexual
misconduct. A year earlier, Porter had been convicted in Minnesota of molesting
his children’s baby sitter in 1987 and sentenced to six months jail. While a
priest, Porter had been confronted by his superiors over sex abuse claims on at
least five occasions in 1963 and 1964, where the claims were backed by solid
evidence, but was simply returned to parish work after in-house counselling.
US television evangelist preacher, Jim Bakker, and his wife Tammy, once had
600,000 religious followers. But when news got out about Bakker’s affair with
church worker, Jessica Hahn, his popularity plummeted. Worse was to come when
Bakker was indicted then later convicted and jailed on fraud charges associated
with his PTL Ministry.
4.OTHER INFORMATION YOU SHOULD KNOW
Research conducted by former vicar John Thorburn and presented at the
American Psychological Association conference in 1999, found that a sixth of
Church of England vicars in Britain had extra-marital affairs and another sixth
was attracted to other men. This makes British vicars more likely to be
unfaithful to their wives than businessmen. Just under half the vicars surveyed
admitted indulging in pornographic books and videos, one in 10 visited strip
clubs and "a few" also used prostitutes, citing loneliness and depression as the
driving force behind their behaviour.
In 1999, The Queensland Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children, led by
former state Governor Leneen Forde, uncovered such pervasive abuse that 14
allegations of criminal conduct, including criminal, physical and sexual abuse,
were referred to police. The 380-page report examined 1,500 files and
interviewed 300 alleged victims from more than 150 Catholic and non-Catholic
homes, orphanages and child detection centres operated from 1911 to the present.
The report concluded that the history of institutional care in Queensland until
the 1980s was one of sacrificing children’s interests to expedience. There were
many cases of children being preyed upon by paedophiles in some institutions,
abused, raped, starved and flogged, sometimes with great fury, using belts and
sticks. Often the children bled from the beatings, were forced to strip and
endure cold as punishment, were locked up in darkness and force-fed when they
would not eat. Over-all, the report found widespread abuse, neglect and
deprivation in institutions for children.
Victoria’s largest class action was underway in 1999, with more than 100
former state wards alleging systematic sexual, psychological and physical abuse
at homes and orphanages across rural and metropolitan Victoria that were run by
several religious and lay bodies, notably Catholic nuns. Some cases stem from
1955 to 1965 and involve children being flogged, used as virtual slave labour,
being victimised by paedophiles and, in some cases, being shared among fellow
staffers by their abusers. Ms Vivian Waller, of the Melbourne law firm Maurice
Blackburn & Co, confirmed legal proceedings were underway and that "both boys
and girls were repeatedly forced (by male and female staff) to perform indecent
acts and to participate in sexual intercourse". She added that the abuse was
often "repeated and severe" and that the state, "was the legal guardian of each
state ward and had a moral and legal duty to ensure the safety of each child".
More than 200 former wards have given their histories to the law firm, many of
whom have viable legal claims and those who experienced the most severe forms of
abuse may be awarded as much as $200,000 in compensation.
A 1998 Tasmanian independent report into allegations of sexual misconduct
and paedophilia by senior Anglican Church officials received 160 telephone call
and 40 pages of face-to-face submissions relating to sexual abuse by clergy,
staff, teachers and volunteers -- identifying 17 individuals as abusers, 15 of
which were members of the clergy. The report, known as Not The Way Of Christ,
found there was a hard-core group of clergy with sexual tendencies towards young
males, described by a member trying to break away from the group as the "grubby
little circle". Two males and one female also disclosed being raped as children
and one male told how he and his sister were sexually abused over a five year
period. The report also found eight women had entered into sexual relationships
with ministers as adults and eleven people said they’d been victims of sexual
abuse while boarding at Anglican schools. Several people also raised concerns
about a lack of action by the church over the allegations.
According to Broken Rites, a support organisation for victims of sexual,
physical or emotional abuse from members of religious organisations, 35 Catholic
priests and religious brothers in Australia were sentenced for sexual crimes and
five other died before their cases reached court, between 1993 and 1997. Another
eight had been committed and awaited trial or magistrates’ hearings while a
further dozen were charged on summons. Others were still under investigation by
The New Criminology, by Max D Schlapp and Edward E Smith, studied two
generations of statistics examining the population of prisons and found that
about 1% of those incarcerated were atheists or people without religious
training. The vast majority of inmates had been brought up with religious
training and that more than half the prison population came from Catholic
backgrounds in particular.
A newspaper article published in 1995 claimed that from 1987 to 1995, nearly
100 Christian Brothers, from Sydney, Wollongong, Toowoomba, Perth and Darwin,
had been accused of misconduct -- typically the sexual abuse of schoolchildren.
5.BRIEF PROFILES ON THE ANTI-VICE
Many people opposed to censorship often have difficulty
understanding the moral crusaders who choose to become self-appointed custodians
of public morality. One can understand any person choosing certain moral codes
to govern their own lives but what motivates them to force their moral codes
onto others?. Perhaps the following analysis of anti-vice crusader, Anthony
Comstock, penned by Harvey O’Higgins and Edward Reede (in their book, The
American Mind), sheds some much needed light on the motivations of other
crusaders, even those in Australia.
"The Puritan lived in a state of war with his
instinctive self, which he regarded as his evil self tempting him to live
according to the law of the flesh when he wished to live according to the
Pauline law of God. He hated the flesh in himself and he hated even more
fiercely that flesh appearing as the vices of others. Hence he was a great
persecutor, a strong vice-crusader, the best witch hunter... It is useless to
tell such a man to love his neighbour as himself; he hates so much of himself.
His hate, reservoired within him, gets its drainage in raids on vice, in the
prosecutions and suppressions carried on by anti-vice societies, and in the
campaigns of reform that call for the punishment of evil-doers."
Former Labor MP and Baptist lay preacher, Keith Wright,
was a strong moral campaigner -- deeply religious, opposed to pornography and a
vehement defender of children and their need for protection. As it turned out,
children would need protecting from Wright, the former Queensland state
Opposition leader and member for the federal seat of Capricornia, with a sexual
bent towards adolescent girls. Wright was arrested, tried by jury and found
guilty of one count of rape, one count of indecently dealing with a girl under
14, and four counts of indecently dealing with a girl under 16. His victim had
been aged 13 when the abuse, which occurring between 1983 and 1985, first began.
At the age of 16, when the girl involved tried to break off their relationship,
Wright, refusing to take no for an answer, raped her in her own bedroom. Wright
received an eight year jail sentence for these crimes in 1993 then, a year
later, his sentenced was increased by 12 months after a second trial for more
sex offences. In the second trial, involving another victim -- an 11-year-old
girl when Wright began molesting her -- he was found guilty of one count of
indecent and unlawfully dealing with a girl aged under 14, between 1984 and
1986, and two counts of indecent dealing with the same girl in 1989 and 1990.
Wright was eventually paroled on 11 June 1999, after serving only five years of
his sentence, and has now launched a new phonetics-based 4S literacy program for
children on the Gold Coast. Wright has said that promoting his literacy package
is a chance for him to "contribute to the community".
Pastor Howard Carter
Baptist minister Pastor Howard Carter was the executive
director and founder of the Covenant Evangelical Church’s political and
educational arm, the Logos Foundation. The foundation had originally been
founded in 1966, in New Zealand, but when Carter moved to Sydney three years
later -- joining the fundamentalist Christian Faith Centre and later founding
the Covenant Evangelical Church -- Logos moved with him. In 1988, Logos
headquarters moved to Toowoomba, a more fertile ground for the emerging New
Right church. Originally welcomed to this part of Australia, the established
churches turned their back on Logos when the foundation ran a $100,000 campaign
during the 1989 state election, arguing that moral issues like pornography,
capital punishment, homosexuality and abortion were more important than
political corruption. Purporting that his church had two basic commitments,
Carter told Toowoomba’s Chronicle newspaper that year that "one is a profound
and personal commitment to Jesus Christ, the other is to family." However, even
as he uttered those words, Carter was secretly committing adultery, a cardinal
sin in the eyes of Logos, with a female member of the congregation. Carter was
soon forced to resign his position in disgrace after being confronted by church
elders. Carter’s actions eventually led to the demise of Logos, its properties
sold for reputed several million dollars, some of the money used to set up a new
organisation known as NCV.
US Evangelist Preacher Jimmy Swaggart
Well known American evangelist and ardent anti-vice
crusader, Jimmy Swaggart was born in Ferriday, Louisiana, and grew up in a small
town where his uncle paid for the construction of an Assemblies of God church,
the largest Pentecostal denomination in the US. Both his parents were
evangelists and his grandmother constantly studied the Bible. It was only
natural that Swaggart too would become an evangelist and began preaching on
street corners. Eventually Swaggart’s preaching crusades would encompass the US
and many other countries. In 1973, Swaggart began using video as his primary
medium and, within 10 years, had become the most popular television preacher in
the US with some 200 stations sending his message into 2 million households. In
1987, Swaggart was instrumental in publicizing the scandal that brought about
the downfall of fellow television preachers Jim and Tammy Bakker but, a year
later, he too was forced to resign his position after a fellow preacher showed
photographs of Swaggart with a New Orleans prostitute. Swaggart gave a tearful
confession at the time, admitting to an unspecified sin, but refused to bow to
church discipline and resumed his ministry. However, three years later, Swaggart
was caught again with another prostitute in his car in Indio, California.
Swaggart has remained entrenched in his religion and continues to fund raise
compulsively, attempting to resurrect his lost outreach to souls by means of FM
radio and the Internet.
If there was one crime in society that could be said to be
the most perverse, it would surely be the sexual assault of an innocent child.
So what is it that has caused the most elevated teachers in our community to
perform the most perverted crimes so frequently?
Bertrand Russell once said of clergymen, 'Any average
selection of mankind set apart and told that it excels the rest in virtue, must
tend to sink below the average'. While there are many church clergy in Australia
who clearly defy this description, Russell's comments may be very appropriate to
those clergymen who battle sexual repression and rigid dogma.
From a very early age the novice clergyman is told to
eradicate sexual thoughts from his consciousness altogether. Internal dialogue
on sex is discouraged so that many priests grow into middle age with no
framework to hang sexual urges or experiences upon. The number of paedophile
priests who cited 'sexual naivete' as some sort of defence to their crimes in
court reports is astounding.
Some religious orders like the Mormons actually publish
official instructions on how to avoid masturbation. The Guide to Mormon Youth
under the heading of Overcoming Masturbation exhorts young people to 'Set a goal
of abstinence. Begin with a day, then a week, month and year....If you
masturbate, colour that day black' (on a calendar). Under the heading of
'Avoiding Temptation', the Guide encourages novices to leave the door partly
open when on the toilet or in the shower and to 'wear pajamas that are difficult
to open', 'put on several layers of clothing that would be difficult to remove
while half asleep', and 'In severe cases, tie a hand to the bed frame'.
'Employ aversion therapy. To cancel out the
pleasurableness (sic) of masturbating, associate something very distasteful with
the act. For example, imagine bathing in a tub of worms and eating some of
Clearly these are extremist views and a form of mind
control that is unacceptable to a reasonable adult. The Catholic Church has
quietly and belatedly admitted that attitudes like this around the training of
priests can cause problems. In December 1999, A Catholic Bishop's report called
Towards Understanding, suggested that little or no training in the issues of
sexuality and celibacy could contribute to sexual abuse by clergy. However, the
report also confirmed that the church had still not accepted its responsibility
in the epidemic of child sexual assaults by suggesting that there was no
evidence that the incidence of abuse of children was greater in the church than
in the community at large. This is clearly and demonstrably untrue. With 450
individual child sexual assaults by church clergy acknowledged in the courts
over the past 10 years, the nation's churches constitute the largest employer of
paedophiles in the country by a very long way.
In fact this may just be the tip of the iceberg. Consider
A study conduced by Professor Freda Briggs, Russell Hawkins and Mary
Williams at the University of South Australia found that of 179 men who were
sexually abused as children or convicted child molesters, 15 per cent nominated
Catholic priests as their abusers.
Research conducted by journalist, Jason Berry, in the US revealed that 15
per cent of all Catholic priests in the US had sexually molested children in
their care, but only a tiny proportion faced charges. According to other news
sources, US Catholics had filed suits against nearly 500 priests over the past
several years from 1993 and the church had already paid out nearly million
dollars to plaintiffs who could eventually number in the tens of thousands.
In 1992, ABC Compass program aired an episode entitled The Ultimate Betrayal
that claimed at least 15 per cent of Australian Clergy, of all denominations,
sexually abused people in their congregation.
There appears to be
approximately 20,000 church clergy in Australia. If the 15 per cent figure is
ultimately proved then there could well be 3,000 child sex offenders in the
church and not 450.
More worrying are recent reports from the US that hundreds of Roman Catholic
priests have died of AIDS and hundreds more are living with HIV. In late January
this year, an in depth Kansas City Star/Reuters' report stated that 'priests
were dying of AIDS at a rate at least four times that of the general
population.' The report quoted estimates from medical experts, priests and
health statistics in drawing its analysis.
The fact that the Church officially outlaws gay sexual relations and opposes
the use of condoms says much about the reasons for such an epidemic. The report
quoted most priests as saying that the church had failed to give them any early
sex education that would have equipped them to deal with the issues.
The statistics and the evidence that we have on hand suggests that the
problem is getting worse rather than better.
No other profession features in child sexual abuse statistics to anywhere
near the extent that church clergy do. Their response to increasing criticism on
the issue is to point the finger at the sex industry in an attempt to shift
their guilt. Sex crimes and sexual depravity will naturally be found in an
industry that deals in sex, they argue. So whenever prostitution or censorship
law reform is on the agenda, Bishops, Cardinals, suburban and country priests
all step forward to condemn those working in the sex industry as immoral and
perverse. Politicians continue to bow to the church's so-called 'moral
authority' and turn a blind eye to the real facts about child sexual abuse.
How strange it is then that not one prostitute or so-called pornographer
appears to have ever been convicted of child sexual abuse in Australia. Not even
Clearly there is something about the nature of the sex industry that
diminishes child sexual abuse and there is something about church culture that
The job ahead for our legislators and community leaders is to conduct a
formal enquiry to determine just what this 'something' is.
Representing Australia's sex industry, the Eros Foundation has approached
church clergy on a number of occasions in the past with the aim of initiating
dialogue on sex and censorship issues. From the Roman Catholic church there has
been silence and arrogance on the issues. On the 11th October 1996, the Rev Mark
Coleridge, a regular anti-sex campaigner in the church, wrote in reply to an
Eros request by stating, ' In my capacity as Church spokesman, I have received
many invitations but yours ranks among the more exotic. I am not sure what you
have in mind when you suggest a debate, but I cannot imagine anything that would
be of mutual benefit. I am afraid therefore that I shall have to decline.'
On the 6th of June, 1997 and again on the 27th May, 1999, the Eros Foundation
wrote letters to the Roman Catholic Church's parliamentary representative,
Senator Brian Harradine outlining the problems of child sexual abuse in the
church and asking him to support an official enquiry. His silence was deafening.
Without any engagement on the issue the church is isolated and will continue
to make the mistakes of its past. The prosecution of 450 sex crimes against it
in 10 short years is overwhelming and damming evidence. It is the responsibility
of government now to impose that engagement for the good of the community and
the good of the church.
© 2000 Eros Foundation
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