Suffer the Children

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

Broken Rites
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?

For example:

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?

See also : Ratso is funny… Pell… less so (July 8, 2008) | Alas for you George! | egg benedict dot org (July 9, 2008) | Ecce Homo (July 17, 2008)

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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8 Responses to Suffer the Children

  1. Terry says:

    Dear @ndy,

    Well done!

    I was in the process of compiling a similar blog entry when I discovered yours.

    Ditto the lot!

    Regards, Terry.

  2. @ndy says:

    Cheers Terry.

    The only thing missing is an img of Anthony Fisher — will have to hunt another one down.

  3. Michael says:

    I came across an article about Guy Hartcher from Stannies. They paid the ex student $40,000 to keep quiet. He married me and my first wife the p****. Spillane was my form master for 4 years. Any other ex Stannies students out there?

  4. @ndy says:

    On Guy Hartcher:


    Church paid a $40,000 settlement to an ex-pupil
    Broken Rites

    A prominent Australian Catholic bishop has confirmed that he appointed a priest to administer a parish after the church had paid a $40,000 settlement involving the priest.

    Bishop Michael Malone, the head of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese in New South Wales, has played a prominent role in supervising the Australian church’s professional standards. In the late 1990s, he became a member of the church’s National Committee on Professional Standards. So it is interesting to see how Bishop Malone, with his special interest in professional standards, has managed professional standards in his own diocese.

    In 1999, Bishop Malone appointed Father Guy Hartcher, then aged 52, to be in charge of two parishes, Gresford and Dungog, in rural areas north-west of the city of Newcastle…


    Catholic Media Watch : Winners and Losers
    Michael Mullins
    Online Catholics (No.17)
    September 15, 2004

    For a while, Maitland-Newcastle has distinguished itself as one of Australia’s more media-savvy dioceses. This was further demonstrated in the past week with Bishop Michael Malone going public on Saturday with his version of the facts on the case of Fr Guy Hartcher, whom he was suspending from parish ministry.

    Some years ago, Fr Hartcher had been tried and acquitted on charges of sex abuse. Now another member of the public had come forward and made a further complaint to police about Fr Hartcher.

    The subtext of Bishop Malone’s media release was that there appears to be little substance to the complaint, but the Diocese is nevertheless following the Protocol to the letter.

    It was all about this person scanning the Internet and finding past reference to Fr Hartcher that leads them to the conclusion that Fr Hartcher is “unfit for ministry with children”. It’s probably just another false alarm. But the bishop stresses that he is “committed to ensuring a safe environment for all children”. He sets up a hotline, and promises to visit the parish to address concerns.

    Bishop Malone manages to turn bad news into good news, with a combination of fearless proactive action, good timing, and judicious presentation of the facts. No wonder the media didn’t bother about the story. The result is that he’s rewarded for his savvy. He gets the benefit of the doubt, and there’s not much media sensation in that.

    On the other hand, a silent or hesitant bishop would have prompted some journalist to do a little digging and come up with a set of facts that would make Fr Hartcher look guilty and the complainant credible. The bishop would be forced to choose between damage control and indignant silence. Righteousness does not play well in the media, and such an approach would make the priest look guilty, and the bishop his protector…


    Church dismissed complaints over Bathurst priest
    September 8, 2008

    …Meanwhile, a former student at St Stanislaus College, “John”, the 51 year old local who received a payment after he accused Fr Guy Hartcher of interfering with him when he was 14, told the Herald he now realised the school was a kind of “pedophile paradise”.

    He recalled priests “grooming” pupils with pornographic magazines, students hiding from staff members when they came “hunting” for first and second formers, and a teacher he knew by the nickname of “Toad” who was notorious for grabbing pupils by their privates if they answered questions incorrectly in class.

    “We were all just kids at Stannies, a real smorgasbord,” “John” said.

    The allegations made against priests charged within the past 12 days concern events at the school in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Fr Guy Hartcher faced courts in 1996 and 1997 on allegations by three pupils, but was acquitted at a trial in Sydney while a Bathurst hearing decided there was not enough evidence to commit him to trial.

    “John”, one of the men who made the complaint against Hartcher, said in addition to the payment from Vincentians, the order was paying for his ongoing medical treatment.


    Old boy calls school a pedophile paradise
    Damien Murphy
    The Sydney Morning Herald
    September 6, 2008

    JUST seven weeks ago Pope Benedict XVI apologised for the “evil” of clergy sex abuse in Australia during his World Youth Day visit, but the legacy of predatory priests still preys on St Stanislaus’ College in Bathurst.

    While sex abuse by priests, brothers and teachers at Catholic schools and orphanages has been an issue since the 1980s, the arrest of three Vincentian priests who once taught at the school, coupled with the apparent suicide of a brother and the order’s $40,000 payment to a former student – while permitting the priest he accused to continue contact with children – has irrevocably stained St Stanislaus…

  5. gordon says:

    I met Guy Hartcher at a seminary in New Zealand during the late 1970s and it became very obvious that he surrounded himself with a number of students who were obviously gay and that he spent a lot of time socialising with them. The relationship between priests and students was normally quite separate however Guy and his followers had what I thought was an unprofessional relationship and one that should have been more frowned upon by the leadership of the seminary.

  6. Pingback: Suffer the Children : Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church | slackbastard

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