A former priest has been charged with 93 child sex offences stemming from an alleged paedophile ring operating in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The 65-year-old was arrested in connection with offences police allege took place at a Catholic boys’ school in New South Wales, Australia.
Police suspect dozens of boys may have been abused during alleged “hypnotic prayer” sessions at St Stanislaus College, located 45 miles east of Sydney, according to local media reports.
The former priest, who was not named in the statement, was charged in May with 33 offences and has been issued with another 60 offences relating to at least 13 alleged victims, police said.
The allegations reportedly included claims of late night prayer and chanting sessions in which boys were sexually abused.
The priest is the fourth person arrested by the Strike Force Belle police unit, which is investigating a number of sexual offences that allegedly occurred at one Catholic and one Anglican school in the town of Bathurst, according to a police statement.
“We are currently sifting through a significant amount of information and as a result we have broadened this investigation.
“Inquiries are continuing and we cannot rule out further arrests.”
The allegations come just five weeks after Pope Benedict apologised for sexual abuse in the Church during a visit to Sydney.
Police have laid 60 fresh charges against a former Catholic priest who allegedly sexually abused students at a private boys boarding school in central west New South Wales.
Brian Spillane taught at St Stanislaus college in Bathurst in the 1970s and 1980s and faced court last month on 33 charges relating to sexual assault of five former students.
His court appearance prompted another eight alleged victims to come forward, saying they too had been abused druring late-night prayer sessions.
A special police strike force was set up to investigate claims against Spillane and two other former St Stanislaus staff members.
Yesterday the former priest was arrested at Narwee and taken to Hurstville police station.
He was charged with 60 new offences, bringing the total number of charges against him to 93.
He was bailed and will appear in Bathurst local court on September 15, but his lawyer has already expressed concern that he will not get a fair trial because of the way the case has been covered by the media.
AMSTERDAM – A Montgomery County grand jury indicted a Catholic priest on charges he sexually abused three local children.
The abuse is said to have occurred in the small Montgomery County town of Palatine.
But the Rev. John W. Broderick most recently worked for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, not the Albany Diocese.
Broderick faces three counts of sexual conduct with a child younger than 11 years old.
The indictment indicates three separate victims and that the alleged abused occurred between 2005 and 2007. The court papers also state Broderick provided alcohol to the underage children.
At the time of his February arrest, state police characterized Broderick as a spiritual advisor to the family of the boys he’s now accused of abusing.
The Montgomery County district attorney is handling the criminal prosecution and attorney John Aretakis claims he’s representing the family in a civil suit.
“A lot of times I’m criticized because the claims are 20 to 30 years old. Well, this claim is not. This abuse happened in 2007,” Aretakis said.
The Syracuse Diocese suspended Broderick without pay weeks before his arrest. A spokeswoman for that diocese said Tuesday the suspension was not related to the sex charges and adds that Broderick had been unassigned — meaning he wasn’t working at a church — for the past four years.
Albany Diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb says they only learned about the arrest of the Syracuse-based priest through media reports and that the Montgomery County family hasn’t contacted them either.
“The family never came to us with a complaint. We don’t even know who they are. Certainly we’d assist them if they did,” Goldfarb said.
Aretakis claims there are two additional victims — one too afraid to testify and another whose grand jury testimony didn’t lead to an indictment.
[Source] August 31, 2008:
BURLINGTON, Vt.—The church therapist who treated a Vermont Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting boys later became the target of a Massachusetts lawsuit alleging he, too, engaged in sex acts with a boy for nine years, beginning when the boy was 9.
The Rev. Thomas Kane of Whitinsville, Mass., was executive director of the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville. That’s where the Diocese of Burlington sent the Rev. Edward Paquette to be treated after learning Paquette had molested two boys in Rutland.
Court papers in Vermont and Massachusetts indicate the dates of Kane’s alleged abuse of the Uxbridge, Mass., boy — 1968 to 1977 — coincide with the period from 1974 to 1978 that Paquette was being treated, for much of the time via monthly visits, at the House of Affirmation.
There’s no evidence that officials in the Vermont diocese, including then-Bishop John Marshall, were aware of Kane’s alleged sexual misconduct during the period he was providing therapy to Paquette.
Kane’s alleged victim filed suit in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston in 1993; the case settled out of court two years later for $42,500. The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.
Nineteen lawsuits have been filed in Vermont alleging that Paquette molested boys while serving as a priest in Burlington, Montpelier and Rutland in the 1970s. Four have ended with jury verdicts or been settled out of court and 15 are pending.
Church records in Vermont show that Marshall knew Paquette had a history of molesting boys at parishes in Massachusetts and Indiana, but allowed him to join the Vermont diocese after being told by a church psychiatrist in Indiana that Paquette’s problem had been cured.
Kane also provided a positive review of Paquette’s progress in therapy. “It is my opinion that Father Paquette should return as soon as possible to a parish setting and observe the signals of caution which we have discussed,” Kane wrote to Marshall on Nov. 6., 1974.
Another exchange of letters between Kane and Marshall in 1978 showed new allegations of sexual misconduct were being directed at Paquette.
Marshall wrote to Kane that he was considering leaving Paquette in his role as parish priest at Christ the King Church in Burlington despite the new allegations.
“Despite the demands of two sets of irate parents that ‘something be done about this,’ Father Paquette’s pastor and I are determined to take the risk of leaving him in his present assignment,” Marshall wrote to Kane on April 4, 1978.
“Our thinking is that, knowing the awareness of others concerning his problem, Father Paquette will have reason for ‘self control’,” the bishop added. “Do you agree with this thinking?”
Kane replied, “I do agree with your thinking. I do not believe it is ‘too risky’ to leave Father Paquette in his present assignment but, of course, can make no predictions.”
Later that month, increased pressure from parents in the parish forced Marshall to change his mind. He wrote to Kane, “The situation had become so explosive that I had no other recourse but to ask Father Paquette to leave the parish immediately.”
No telephone listing could be found Sunday for Edward Paquette at his last known address in Westfield, Mass. A message left at the headquarters of the Diocese of Worcester, which includes Whitinsville, was not immediately returned Sunday. News reports from 2002 placed Kane in Mexico.
Dubbo Catholic priest Father Paul Devitt yesterday spoke in support of St Stanislaus’ College at Bathurst as police broadened an investigation into alleged sexual assaults at the prestigious boarding school 30 years ago.
A 65-year-old former priest has been charged with 33 counts of sexual assault and gross acts of indecency on five juveniles, aged between 10 and 18.
The man has faced court and is scheduled to reappear next month. Since then, more people have come forward alleging similar assaults by a paedophile ring comprising priests and teachers.
The St Stanislaus’ investigation is ongoing and people with concerns are urged to contact police.
Father Devitt stressed the alleged assaults happened during the 1970s and 80s and police were not looking into anything in the current day.
“St Stanislaus’ has been co-operating with the police completely and the principal informed parents of the allegations long before they came to the attention of the media,’’ Father Devitt said.
“Sexual, physical and mental abuse occurs in … families and has been associated with all faiths and institutions.
“The Catholic church has had a series of protocols in place since the clergy scandal broke in the 1990s. The aim is to assist those who have experienced abuse to find healing.’’
Father Devitt said people with claims of abuse should inform police and proven offenders should be answerable to the full force of the law.
“Abuse is something done secretly and individually,’’ he said. “Thousands of kids who attended St Stanislaus’ during the time of the alleged assaults wouldn’t have known anything was wrong.’’
Police urge alleged victims to come forward
All victims of an alleged paedophile ring at a Catholic boys’ school in Bathurst are being urged to come forward by the NSW police.
Shocking allegations have surfaced about years of sexual abuse at St Stanislaus’ College from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
At least 13 alleged victims have come forward since local police were first alerted last year by men claiming to have been abused while they were students at the private school.
A 65-year-old former priest is now facing 33 charges, following allegations a paedophile ring of priests and teachers had operated at the school.
The first signs of trouble at St Stanislaus’ College emerged when an ex-student posted allegations of sexual abuse on a website in August last year.
Police have asked anyone else who fell victim to the alleged abuse to contact police.
“I would imagine it would be very hard for anyone subject to these sort of things to come forward,” Detective Superintendent Michael Goodwin said.
Supt Goodwin said police inquiries had not led officers to any other schools where former St Stanislaus’ staff may have also been employed.
“I can confirm that there’s no one at the school at the moment that is subject to that inquiry,” he said
On May 23, the former priest was charged with offences relating to sexual assault and gross acts of indecency of boys aged between 10 and 18 years old.
St Stanislaus’ College principal John Edwards yesterday said the school was determined to address historic sexual abuse allegations “as openly and as comprehensively as possible”.
Adopting an “open door policy”, Mr Edwards said the allegations against a former teaching priest at St Stanislaus’ dating back to 1986 was a matter of “grave concern”, and there must be “open and transparent discussion”.
The headmaster gave assurances the school had significant policies and practices in place.
“Our risk management policies and practices were extensively examined by the NSW Board of Studies inspectors as recently as June, 2008,” Mr Edwards said.
There was a feeling of shock among several ex-students of Stannies following the revelations.
Local businessman Pip McIntosh attended Stannies from 1979-1984.
He said yesterday he never had any idea, or heard any rumours, of the allegations which have surfaced.
“I didn’t have a clue these types of things were going on,” he said. “I never heard any mention of it. When I read the newspapers this morning I was shocked, just dumbfounded.
“However, I really feel for the victims of the abuse.
“I hope the offenders get the justice they deserve once all this comes out.”
Mr McIntosh said he has only fond memories of his time at Stannies.
“I had a great time up there,” he said. “The best thing about the school was the sport and the mateship. I made lifelong friends.”
[Source] August 28, 2008:
ORGIES involving up to 60 schoolboys, priests and teachers are among allegations levelled at former staff members of a NSW Catholic boarding school.
The Seven Network last night reported claims that nine former teachers and priests from St Stanislaus College in Bathurst, in eastern NSW, had committed sexual abuse on students during “hypnotic” night prayer services in the 1980s.
An alleged victim, whose identity was withheld for legal reasons, said the number of victims involved in the encounters had grown over time.
“It started out on a one-on-one basis and then in small groups of between eight and 12, and then on one occasion there was a large group of at least 60.”
St Stanislaus headmaster John Edwards yesterday said he was served with a search warrant last month that named three former staff.
“There were three former staff members who were listed on the search warrant, but only one of them had the word ‘accused’ next to their name,” MrEdwards said.
The accused is a 65-year-old former Catholic priest who served at the school and now faces 33 charges relating to sexual assault and gross acts of indecency on juveniles aged between 10 and 18.
Detective Superintendent Michael Goodwin of Chifley Local Area Command yesterday said police were investigating the claims of 13 alleged victims, but he could not say how many former staff members were under investigation.
Police initially identified five victims when the investigations began last August, with a further eight coming forward after the priest was arrested in May.
There was no suggestion any of the alleged offenders remained at the school.
“The allegations centre around the period of 1970 to the early 1980s. So, at this stage, all the inquiries are at least over 20 years old,” Superintendent Goodwin said.
Some media reports said as many as 40 former students had come forward with claims of abuse at the hands of school staff.
The Daily Telegraph yesterday published interviews with alleged victims that claimed boys at the school were subjected to sexual abuse during night prayer sessions and were sometimes forced to abuse each other in orgies.
“They got a group of between eight and 12 of us together and they’d just start chanting and I would wake up during these sessions and see what was going on,” one of the alleged victims said. “It was like an orgy.”
Superintendent Goodwin would not comment on claims made in the article, saying it was a “sensitive investigation”.
He urged other victims to contact police. “I’d imagine it would be very hard for anyone that’s subject to these sort of things to come forward,” he said.
“NSW Police Force will be providing every form of support we possibly can to make the process for them as trouble-free as possible.”
Hetty Johnston, of the Bravehearts sexual abuse victims support group, supported the plea.
GRAND RAPIDS — After emotional testimony from a pair of teenage sisters, a Catholic priest with local ties, who already is in prison following an Internet sex sting, now faces trial here for allegedly molesting the girls.
The Rev. Shamaun Beas, 39, on Wednesday was ordered to stand trial in Kent County Circuit Court on two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Beas earlier had worked out a plea deal to exchange a guilty plea for the alleged molestation of one of the sisters for a one-year jail sentence. But a Circuit Court judge last month rejected that deal — and Beas then took back his guilty plea — sending the case against the Pakistan native back to Rockford District Court.
Now the victim’s sister is alleging Beas also touched her inappropriately, prompting the second charge.
It led a detective watching the court proceedings Wednesday to wonder whether there are other local victims.
“I don’t know if there are others out there. But now that his name is out there for this, they may come forward,” said Kent County sheriff’s Detective Ed Kolakowski.
Beas served as a priest at a church in Portland and at the Holy Family parish in Sparta, where he was assigned for six months in 2001. He came here on a three-year internship with the Diocese of Grand Rapids.
Beas already is serving six to 20 years in a Jackson prison stemming from a 2004 Internet sex sting in which police say he tried to solicit someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sexual purposes. He actually was talking online with an investigator working with the state Attorney General’s office.
The local teens in the current case allege Beas, a family friend, groped them on separate occasions two years before the Internet sting.
In court Wednesday, the 17-year-old sister was preparing to testify against Beas when she glanced at him and burst into tears. She told Judge Steven Servaas that in the spring of 2002, Beas entered her unlocked home when she was alone, groped her, then said, “It’s all right, I’m a priest,” when she protested.
She said Beas returned to her home 10 minutes later when her family returned and acted as if nothing happened. It took her four years to reveal what happened, prompting defense attorney David Dodge to question the delay.
“I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to tell anybody. I didn’t want to have to be here doing this now, talking about it,” she testified.
The girl said she reported the incident to a church camp counselor in 2006, leading to the police investigation and the charge against Beas in 2007.
Her 19-year-old sister then testified that Beas also molested her when she was in sixth or seventh grade, but she told no one, even once her younger sister’s allegation against the priest came to light.
Dodge pressed her on this.
“So you are testifying that you know what your sister said, but you didn’t tell your sister, your mother or the investigator?” he asked.
The 19-year-old said she saw what her sister was going through and did not want to take her story public.
As the teens testified against him, Beas dropped his head and shook it in disagreement.
A Catholic priest from the Melbourne archdiocese has pleaded guilty to 10 child sex and pornography charges in the County Court.
– Guilty plea
– Videos, images seized
– ‘Deeply troubling’ charges
Father Edmund John Haines, 62, served the district near Geelong for 12 years, including the towns of Meredith, Winchelsea, Anakie and Bannockburn.
The Geelong resident, who is known by his middle name, pleaded guilty to six counts of committing an indecent act with a child under 16, committing an indecent act with a child aged 16 or 17 who was under his care, procuring a child to make pornography, and producing and possessing child pornography.
Haines was also a chaplain at St Joseph’s College in Geelong and had worked as a priest in Papua New Guinea.
In 2005 he presided over the Winchelsea funeral for three children killed by their father, Robert Farquharson, after he deliberately ran off the Princes Highway and into a dam.
Prosecutor Susan Penhall said the offences took places between March 2006 and February 2008.
The Hamlyn Heights resident was arrested in mid-February 2008 when police seized images of children from his home.
The court heard these included seven videos and 30 photographs of child pornography.
The search followed a complaint from a member of the public in Colac.
After his arrest the Catholic Archdiocese placed Haines on administrative leave and withdrew his right to minister as a priest.
At the time Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart said he was deeply troubled by the charges and assured parishioners of his concern for them.
When asked in court what his occupation was, Haines paused and then replied “priest”.
He was bailed to appear in late October.
[Source] By Dr Gary Schoener | August 28, 2008:
OVER the years I have dealt with around 2000 victims of child sex abuse involving clergy.
I’ve assisted people in bringing complaints about all manner of religious organisations and groups – from Catholic dioceses to Anglican, Jewish organisations and Lutheran Synods.
Most people would be familiar with the US Catholic Church scandal uncovered in the Archdioscese of Boston involving a secret settlement of child molestation claims against at least 70 Catholic priests.
The story made world headlines with some calling it the worst crisis in the Catholic Church in 500 years.
Contrary to what most believe, most victims were known only to their attorneys and the church. Those 500-plus cases in Boston were, for the most part, not public.
The first 15 men I evaluated had not told their parents – and did not plan to. Only a few had told their wives and they often lied to them when they came to see me.
Without confidentiality, most would not have come forward.
Here’s a typical comment: “Look, my parents worked three jobs to pay tuition so I could go to Catholic school so as to avoid sex and drugs and bad things and despite their efforts that’s what I got. I do not want them to know this, it is of no benefit to tell them.”
Hearing of the alleged St Stanislaus College cases it was of little surprise only 13 of as many as 40 alleged victims had come forward. My experience has shown that many victims don’t. There is little incentive to come forward as nobody benefits from being identified as a sex abuse victim.
The victim in the Bathurst case who told the police he hadn’t told his wife would be the most common case – the rule not the exception.
For some of the victims who are reading the headlines as the story unfolds, the abuse becoming public can help them. As others come forward they can feel less isolated.
Interestingly, the internet was a key ingredient in these allegations coming out. This is not unusual, the same has been true elsewhere in the world. The internet has brought about a major change in that victims can find each other and find support.
However, when stories like these come out, some begin to relive the trauma and develop post traumatic stress disorder.
Others develop incredible rage, especially as they learn that they are only one of many. They do not feel different or “special” any more.
And it’s common for the victim to ruminate about the question, “why me?”, tending to blame themselves for “letting it happen,” or “letting it happen multiple times” or “not reporting it”.
The victim who spoke out in The Daily Telegraph described “being herded into a prayer room by a priest chanting ‘hypnotic’ spells in tongues”.
This is one of many ways in which the stage can be set for abuse; however abuse does not require any special techniques – the power of faith in the priest and church is sufficient to do the job.
He also described how the priest or priests in question involved the kids abusing each other.
Again, as horrific as this sounds, this is not new. While many of the cases I have dealt with have eerie similarities to this one, the impact of the sexual abuse on the victim varies dramatically person to person.
It’s dependent on many things – the timing in their life, the degree to which the perpetrator was trusted, the amount of repetition, the degree to which fear was induced, the degree of physical pain, and dozens of other factors.
Either way, the impact on their lives can be severe and the course of their life drastically changed.
They lose basic trust in others and have difficulty forming relationships later in life. They have low self esteem and insecurity issues, they are depressed and have suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
They often question their sexual identity or develop sexual impulse control disorders of their own.
They take to drug and alcohol abuse and become addicts as a way of dealing with their inner turmoil.
The vast majority lose faith in religion or society in general.
Another thing we also see, though, is people have lost their family. Their parents might be devout followers of the church and they don’t dare tell them. Or in cases where they have been brave enough to tell them, the parents have not been able to rise to the occasion and don’t believe the child.
When I evaluate damages for a court case, one of the things I do is look at their siblings and see how their lives turned out.
You don’t need to be a psychologist to say: “My God, something bad happened here to this individual.”
FOR years Father Brian Spillane presided over a flock of young, impressionable boys at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst.
A chaplain and a teacher, he officiated at school Masses, led the pupils in prayer and gave them religious guidance.
He also, according to allegations by 13 former students, repeatedly sexually assaulted them.
One alleged victim, who completed year 7 at the well-known Catholic boarding school in 1986 before being expelled, blew the whistle on 65-year-old Spillane’s alleged sex offences.
He was also a key witness in the conviction of a former St Stanislaus science teacher, Steven Joseph Wade, who was jailed in 2002 for sex offences committed at the school in 1986.
The allegations of sexual abuse are only the latest in a string of abuse scandals to fuel public debate about the Catholic Church and the conduct of its clergy.
The school says it first became aware of the allegations against Spillane five years ago, when it was contacted by the same alleged victim. It forwarded the allegations to Bathurst police, who sent the information to the child protection and sex crimes squad.
What became of that investigation is unknown but in August last year Bathurst police set up Strike Force Heador to investigate the claims of abuse by Spillane and two other staff members.
The investigation was a watershed for the original whistleblower, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has spent time in psychiatric care.
Four more former pupils came forward to allege abuse and in May police charged Spillane with 33 offences.
The charges included six counts of sexual intercourse with pupils aged 11, 12 and 13, and 18 counts of engaging in and inciting acts ofgross indecency. The other charges related to sex with males aged between 10 and 16.
Early last month police executed search warrants at the school in relation to two former priests and a lay teacher; one is understood to be Spillane and another Wade.
Yesterday Spillane’s lawyer, Greg Walsh, declared his client’s innocence.
Since the charges were laid another eight pupils have come forward to allege abuse and assault.
The principal of the school, John Edwards, said Spillane had joined the school in the 1970s, left, then returned in the mid-1980s, when he was school chaplain for a number of years. He left the school in 1991 or 1992 but remained a member of the congregation for some time.
He then worked at a Queensland parish before returning to Sydney and, as late as 2004, was serving at the Ashfield headquarters of the Vincentians, the order that runs St Stanislaus.
At a July hearing for his case, Spillane’s lawyer stated he was no longer a priest and had married.
The recent charges have also renewed the concerns of some former St Stanislaus pupils who had long suspected something was not right.
One who attended about a decade before the whistleblower said he had observed late-night visits to priests’ and brothers’ quarters by pupils.
He had suspected a cover-up, he said, and once he heard about the charges levelled against Spillane he became more suspicious.
“I was suspicious when I was at Stannies. I’m more suspicious now about the boys going late at night to staff quarters. [There were] also outings we had – camping overnight in tents at places like Trunkey Creek.”
The activities of priests and brothers should have been known to other staff members because they were obvious to students, he said.
The then college president, Joe Keady, died several years ago. The second-highest ranking priest was Father Peter Dwyer. He is a parish priest elsewhere in the state. He did not return the Herald’s calls yesterday.