An ex-priest has been charged with 60 additional child sex offences stemming from an alleged paedophile ring at a Catholic boy’s school in Bathurst.
The 65-year-old was arrested and charged with the offences that police allege took place at St Stanislaus’ College from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
News Limited reported that eight more former students had come forward to tell their stories of being abused during those years.
Police suspect dozens of boys may have been abused during alleged hypnotic “prayer” sessions at the boarding school in central western NSW.
The names of at least three former staffers of the college appeared on a police search warrant when detectives arrived to the school in July to search its archives.
The ex-priest was charged at Hurstville police station.
He was previously charged in May with 33 offences stemming from evidence of alleged victims, and now faces a total of 93 charges relating to at least 13 alleged victims.
He was released on bail on Tuesday and is due to appear at Bathurst Local Court on September 15.
Currently, 615 boys attend St Stanislaus’, of which 188 are borders.
St Stanislaus’ principal John Edwards said last week he first became aware of the allegations several years ago and referred the claims to police.
He said the allegations included claims of late night prayer and chanting sessions in which boys were sexually abused.
Edwards said the school was served with a search warrant on July 3 which stated the names of three former staff members.
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.
My thanks to the Daily Telegraph – Aussie edition – for reporting on a pastor (priest) in Sydney who faked terminal cancer to hide the fact that he was addicted to Internet porn.
Incredibly, the pastor, who had released a hit song that reached number two in the Ozzie religious charts, and whose wife gave up her job to care for him, was only rumbled by his Church after they reportedly became suspicious about fake emails he had sent himself from “medical practitioners.”
Bizarrely, Father Guglielmucci forced himself to vomit all over himself every night and appears to have drugs to remove all his hair.
And all to hide a 16-year obsession with porn.
“This is who I am – I’m addicted to the stuff, it consumes my mind,” he told the paper, adding that he is sick why he had to come up some ort of explanation of what was happening to his body.
I’d say he is sick, but not in the manner to which he describes himself.
His wife – even though she now knows the scale of his frauds – appears to think otherwise and says he’s still a good man, but has been rapped by lies that have spiralled out of control.
16 years of porn addiction? Jeez – that means he was downloading smut on dial-up modem connections.
Now that is sick…
Catholic priest John Fleming is standing down from his duties and pledging full cooperation as the church and police investigate alleged sexual misconduct.
In a written statement, he denied ever engaging in sexual behaviour with a minor.
Father Fleming said he was shocked and sickened by claims made by three people in weekend newspapers.
The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide asked the priest to return from Sydney to deal with the allegations dating back three decades.
The church has hired a high-profile lawyer for its inquiry.
Father Fleming has been one of the most recognisable faces in church circles for years; a keen debater on subjects from ethics to the monarchy.
He quit as an Anglican in the 1980s to join the Catholic Church, becoming one of only a few married Catholic priests.
For the past three years he has been head of Campion College, a Catholic learning centre in Sydney’s west.
Adelaide’s Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson has sought his return to Adelaide.
“I am aware of the serious allegations that have been made,” he said.
Police probe first
The reported claims are of sexual misconduct with an underage girl dating back to the 1970s.
An investigation by the Anglican Church is on hold, pending the result of police inquires.
The Catholic Church has hired a senior QC Michael Abbott to conduct its own inquiry into how the church has dealt with the claims.
“We will place no limits on the extent of his investigations,” a statement said.
A spokesman for Cardinal George Pell in Sydney has confirmed he wrote to the claimant and told her to contact police.
He also referred the matter back to the Catholic Church in South Australia.
[Source] August 29, 2008:
AN AUSTRALIAN pastor who inspired hundreds of thousands of people with his fight against terminal cancer has admitted he faked his illness to hide an addiction to porn.
Police are now investigating disgraced pastor Michael Guglielmucci over the collection of public donations to his cancer cause.
The alarm is understood to have been raised by the Hillsong Church in Sydney which revealed the pastor’s hoax in an email.
His deception was so great his wife quit work to care for him, he forced himseld to vomit regularly at night and even lost his hair to fool his family and the public about the extent of his illness.
Guglielmucci, whose parents established Edge Church International, an Assemblies of God church, had earlier this year released a hit song, The Healer, which debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA charts and was featured on Sydney Hillsong church’s latest album.
It since has become an anthem of faith for believers, many of whom are suffering their own illness and were praying for a miracle for Guglielmucci – more than 300,000 people have watched one performance on YouTube.
In a frank TV interview, Guglielmucci explained fabricating a terminal cancer battle to hide his 16-year obsession with pornography.
“This is who I am – I’m addicted to the stuff, it consumes my mind,” he said of pornography.
“… I’m sick and this is why I had to come up some sort of explanation of what was happening in my body.”
The shame manifested itself physically, resulting in him losing his hair and purging his body.
“I don’t know how you can fake vomiting all over yourself night after night after night, I’m not that good an actor,” he said.
To conceal the two-year cancer lie which he hid from his wife and family, he sent phoney emails to his loved ones from non-existent medical practitioners.
“I’ve been living a lie for a long time,” he told the Seven Network’s Today Tonight. “I’ve been hiding who I am for so long. I can honestly say to you that the last two years have been hell for me physically, emotionally, but I never sat down and said … let’s try and fool the world.”
Detectives have begun investigating claims that disgraced pastor Michael Guglielmucci deceived people into donating money to a fake cancer cause.
The South Australian police commercial and electronic crime branch has contacted officers in Victoria and New South Wales.
It has also been checking various Pentecostal church-related websites.
Guglielmucci’s wife, however, has vowed to try to save their marriage, despite the humiliating revelations of his cancer hoax and pornography addiction.
Amanda Guglielmucci, 29, has also defended her husband, insisting he is a good man, trapped by lies which had spiralled out of control.
“I know he’s not an evil man, there’s not evil in his heart,” she said yesterday.
Mrs Guglielmucci, who is staying in their Sydney home while Michael is with his family in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, said she would try to salvage her marriage.
“I know that I love him, I know that much,” she said.
“We’re just not going to rush anything, we’re gonna walk through the process, however slowly it needs to happen, in order for the healing and restoration to be complete and then we’ll go from there.”
She has turned to a counsellor to help cope with her husband’s massive deception, which has shocked not only his family’s church, Edge Church International, but the world-wide Christian movement.
Just over two weeks ago, the world-renowned pastor and songwriter sat his wife of seven years down at their Sydney home and told her the awful truth.
“I was the first one he told, he confessed everything to me,” Mrs Guglielmucci said.
“He just went through it – where it had started, everything in his life as a young kid, the patterns. He was crying, sobbing actually, absolutely sobbing, he just said ‘I don’t have cancer’.
“He was terrified, I still remember the look on his face . . . it was a very hard moment for him, as it was for me hearing it.”
Despite his elaborate deception and his admission of an addiction to adult pornography, Mrs Guglielmucci said it was feelings of sympathy and shock rather than anger that overwhelmed her.
“I could just see a really broken, unwell man. At that point I found it really quite hard to get angry,” she said.
“Seeing your husband of seven years absolutely sobbing in front of you, risking everything coming forward and telling the truth – in that instance it was really hard to be angry or mad.”
Mrs Guglielmucci said she understood people struggled to believe she could not have known her husband was faking his illness. However, she maintained his real symptoms – vomiting, hair loss and apparent pain – never gave her reason to suspect otherwise.
“I never questioned it, when you love someone you trust them. I had no reason not to trust him,” she said.
“Perhaps I feel a little bit foolish in this, hindsight’s a fabulous thing . . . but I’m trying not to beat myself up.”
Mrs Guglielmucci even quit work to look after her ailing husband. “In the middle of the night he was in so much pain I would put towels in the microwave to try and give him some relief in his back,” she said.
However, she never attended doctors’ appointments with him, a move she now regrets.
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.
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.