BISHOP ANTHONY FISHER, CO-ORDINATOR OF WORLD YOUTH DAY, 16 JULY, 2008: “Happily, I think most of Australia was enjoying [and] delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people and the hope for us doing these sorts of things better in the future, as we saw last night, rather than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds.”
More sex-abuse scandal since the Pope visited Australia
November 11, 2008
After the Pope’s visit to Australia in July 2008, has he caught up on some of the latest sexual-abuse cases in Australia?
Current court cases
1. Fr Charles Barnett
Australia has asked Indonesia to extradite a Catholic priest, Charles Alfred Barnett, 66, so he can face child abuse charges in South Australia. On 24 April 2008, a court in Indonesia supported the extradition request. Australian police allege that Father Barnett molested a number of boys, aged between 12 and 17, from 1977 to 1994, around Adelaide and Port Pirie, the Indonesian court was told. It is believed that Father Barnett was ordained into the Vincentian religious order and that he also ministered in Queensland and New South Wales, as well as South Australia. See our story here.
2. Br Robert Best
Prosecutors have filed new child-sex charges in the Ballarat Magistrates Court against Christian Brother Robert Charles Best, aged 67. The court has listed the charges for a first-mention day, when the prosecution and defence can make submissions regarding a subsequent committal hearing. The charges include multiple counts of sexual offences against boys, allegedly committed at St Alipius boys’ primary school in Ballarat East between 1970 and 1973 and at St Leo’s College in Box Hill (Melbourne) in 1976. The prosecution file was compiled by the Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit of the Victoria Police. Best was convicted in 1996 for sexual child-abuse, committed in the 1970s at Ballarat East. See some background about Best here.
3. Fr Tom Brennan
On 15 August 2008, the second most senior clergyman in the Australian Catholic diocese of Maitland-Newcastle (the Vicar-General, Father Thomas Brennan) was charged by police with perverting the course of justice. Brennan, aged 70, has since apppeared in court and the matter was adjourned to a later date. Police said the charge related to a statement that Fr Brennan made during a police investigation in 1998 into a complaint against a fellow priest who had been a teacher at a Catholic school where Brennan had been the headmaster. See our story here.
4. Fr Peter Brock
Father Peter Julian Brock, 63, of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, appeared in court on 9 October 2008, charged with sex offences against two boys. He was ordered to re-appear in court on a later date. See our story here.
5. Fr John Denham
By 1 October 2008, New South Wales police had laid a total of 67 charges against Father John Sidney Denham, of the Newcastle-Maitland Diocese, alleging that he sexually abused 32 boys, between 1968 and 1986. Denham was remanded in custody pending further court proceedings. See our story here.
6. Fr Peter Dwyer
On 3 September 2008, Father Peter Dwyer, 65, now of Armidale NSW, appeared in court and was bailed to appear again on a later date regarding sexual offences, allegedly committed when he had been working at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst. The next hearing will be in Sydney’s Downing Centre local court. See more here.
7. Fr Des Gannon
Father Desmond Gannon, who has been convicted previously for sexually abusing boys in the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese, has been charged (by detectives from the Seymour Criminal Investigation Unit) with further alleged offences from during his career, and the case is listed for a committal mention in a Victorian magistrates’ court — case number X02687881. See more here.
8. Br John Gaven
On 3 September 2008, Brother John Gaven, 66, a member of the Vincentian religious order, living at Marsfield (Sydney), was bailed in Sydney to appear in court on a later date regarding sexual offences, allegedly committed when he worked at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst. The next hearing will be in Sydney’s Downing Centre local court. See more here.
9. Fr Paul Pavlou
A priest of the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese, Father Paul Pavlou, 49, is currently involved in matters before the Ringwood Magistrates Court, Melbourne. See more here.
10. Fr Brian Spillane
In the 1980s Father Brian Spillane was a priest in the Vincentian Fathers (this religious order is also known as the Congregation of the Mission). Brian Joseph Spillane, 65, made initial court appearances in July 2008 and again in September 2008, facing multiple charges of sexual offences against pupils, aged as young as 11, in the 1980s, at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, NSW — a boys’ school conducted by the Vincentian Fathers. The next hearing will be in Sydney’s Downing Centre local court. See more here.
11. Fr Kelvin Sharkey
On 22 August 2008, New South Wales detectives charged a priest of the Wollongong Diocese, Father Kelvin Gerald Sharkey, with two counts of buggery and 10 counts of indecent assault (that is, indecent touching), allegedly committed against an altar boy in a Wollongong parish, in the early 1970s, beginning when the boy was ten years old. Sharkey, 81, was ordered to appear in Wollongong Local Court on a later date. Police interviewed the priest in Melbourne, where he has been living since 1996. He is still classified as a “supplementary priest” of the Wollongong Diocese. See our story here.
Recent court cases
1. Father Roger Michael Bellemore, Marist (February 2008)
2. Father Adelrick D’Cruz, Christian Brothers (May 2008)
3. Br “David” Down (October 2008)
4. Fr Paul Evans (October 2008)
5. Fr John Haines (November 2008)
6. Marist Brother Kostka aka John William Chute (June 2008)
7. Br Rodger Moloney, St John of God Brothers (August 2008)
8. Br Ross Murrin, Marist (March 2008)
9. Fr Michael Reis, MSC religious order (November 2008)
23 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You pay your tithe of mint and dill and cummin and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law-justice, mercy, good faith! These you should have practised, those not neglected.
24 You blind guides, straining out gnats and swallowing camels!
25 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of cup and dish and leave the inside full of extortion and intemperance.
26 Blind Pharisee! Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that it and the outside are both clean.
27 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of corruption.
28 In just the same way, from the outside you look upright, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build the sepulchres of the prophets and decorate the tombs of the upright,
30 saying, “We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our ancestors’ day.”
31 So! Your own evidence tells against you! You are the children of those who murdered the prophets!
32 Very well then, finish off the work that your ancestors began.
33 ‘You serpents, brood of vipers, how can you escape being condemned to hell?