A former Gippsland woodwork teacher found guilty of historical child sex abuse has lodged an appeal against his jail sentence.
Lawrence Todd Stevenson, 86, of Maffra, was this week sentenced to 12 months' jail for abusing three boys at St Patrick's College in Sale during the 1970s and 80s.
He pleaded not guilty to four charges.
Stevenson will face a bail hearing on Friday, but the appeal is not likely to be heard until next year.
Meanwhile, the Marist Brothers Province of Australia has issued an apology to Lawrence's victims.
In a statement, it encouraged anyone with evidence of criminal behaviour to go to the police no matter when or where it occurred.
A Roman Catholic archbishop in Australia has failed for the second time to stop a criminal prosecution against him over allegations he covered up for a pedophile priest in the 1970s.
Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson was charged in April last year with concealing a serious child sexual abuse offense in 1971. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge, which carries a potential two-year prison sentence.
New South Wales state Supreme Court Justice Monika Schmidt rejected Wilson's bid to have the charge dropped.
The judge dismissed his appeal against a court decision in February to not stop the proceedings. That decision ruled that elements of the charge may be able to be proved.-AP
The Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, has stood aside from his role after admitting to a Royal Commission he failed to act on allegations a priest was abusing children.
Archbishop Roger Herft, who was head of the Newcastle Diocese in New South Wales between 1993 and 2005, was alerted to a sexual abuse complaint involving four men in 2003.
One of the men, Peter Rushton, was later revealed as the 'king pin' of a church paedophile ring who preyed on children at St Alban's, a boy's home at Cessnock.
During evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in late August, Archbishop Herft conceded alarm bells should have rung amid allegations a senior NSW clergyman had his "own group of boys" and had abused a priest's son.
On Monday, he voluntarily stood aside from his role, effective immediately, after describing the Royal Commission as a "challenging time".
"I have taken this decision after much prayer, thought and consultation with my advisors to allow for the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Perth to flourish," he said.
"I believe this is the appropriate decision while I focus my attention on the Royal Commission's ongoing inquiry into the Diocese of Newcastle.
"I am humbled by the courage and fortitude of survivors and victims of child sexual abuse as they continue to bear witness to their stories of suffering."
Accused paedophile Rushton died in 2007 and was never convicted.
No, he's been convicted in a Higher Court, I suspect!
Perth, Western Australia
The ABC reported in July that Rushton and his lover, Brother Jim Brown, infiltrated St Alban's boys home by becoming board members and taking boys home for weekends.
"He used to lock you in the room and other people would come in and out of that room but sometimes he would come in that room as well," abuse victim Paul Gray told 7.30.
Mr Gray also recalled being taken camping by Rushton and being chased by paedophiles in a terrifying game of hide and seek.
Archbishop Herft told the Royal Commission that he was "deeply fooled" by Rushton, who he thought had "changed" after an incident where he discovered child pornography in Rushton's home.
"After the pornography matter, I found his whole demeanour had changed," Archbishop Herft said.
"Deep in my heart I felt he had repented."
At the end of his three days giving evidence at the Royal Commission, Archbishop Herft apologised to the survivors of sexual abuse who he had "let down".
Bishop Kate Wilmot has been appointed administrator of the Diocese of Perth in his absence.
Brian Lucas tells Royal Commission he has been blamed for not reporting abuse in late 80s and early 90s, but nothing he dealt with needed to be passed on to police
that he had been ‘pilloried’ in the media and disputed being part of a cover-up. Photograph:
Australian Associated Press
A senior Catholic Church figure has disputed claims he covered up child sexual abuse, saying none of the cases he dealt with required reporting.
The national director of Catholic Mission, Father Brian Lucas, said he had been “pilloried” in the media with headlines about a cover-up.
In all the abuse cases he dealt with, he said, either the alleged perpetrator had died or was already known to police or the courts, or the victim did not want the matter reported.
“When you look at the four categories of cases that I dealt with, broadly, none of them involved my personal reporting to the police,” Lucas told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse on Monday.
The commission is looking into the response of Catholic dioceses in Parramatta and Armidale to abuse allegations against the priest John Farrell.
The inquiry has heard that complaints about Farrell abusing altar boys surfaced in 1984, but he remained in the public ministry until 1992.
Lucas was one of two priests responsible for speaking to sex abuse victims and accused clergy in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Monday’s hearing was told he took a complaint from a girl who alleged Farrell touched her inappropriately on three occasions, including on the breasts and the upper leg. Lucas said he had not referred the complaint to police at her request.
“She was quite adamant she didn’t want any referral to the police,” Lucas said. “I listened to what she said and I respected what she said.”
In May 1992 Lucas discussed with the then-Armidale bishop, Kevin Manning, confronting Farrell and offering him either counselling or an application for dispensation.
Lucas insisted that if he had known at the time the risk Farrell posed to children, counselling would not have been an option.
“If I knew then what I know now, of course, that’s very different,” he said. “I didn’t have any idea in 1992 of the extent of this man’s problem.”
The inquiry continues.
Edmund Rice College is a Catholic independent school for boys in the West Wollongong, New South Wales.
Whitlam MP Stephen Jones has addressed parliament in support of victims of historic child sex abuse, including former classmates at Edmund Rice College.
“My purpose today is to say to all those men who felt ignored, who were disbelieved and who felt the burning fury of denial: I know it happened,” Mr Jones said, in an address Wednesday night.
“The shame is not yours. We cannot change the past. We can only hope to bring justice to the victims, the perpetrators and those who covered it up, and to ensure that it does not happen again.”
The speech comes four months after the school’s Brother Chris Roberts pleaded guilty to 11 of 21 charges of historic child sex abuse (see below). The pleas prompted Mr Jones, a former captain at Edmund Rice, to break a long silence on abuses at the school in the 1970s and 1980s.
Echoing his comments made in the media then, Mr Jones told parliament the school had served as a “dumping ground” for sexual predators who had offended elsewhere and been moved on. His former master, principal and parish priest were pedophiles, he said.
“Of course, as young boys we did not have a name for their behaviours. We thought they were a bit creepy. We would go to great lengths to avoid being caught alone with them. Even as kids we could see there was a huge gap between what they taught us and the way they behaved; it’s name was hypocrisy.”
Mr Jones recalled “the saddest conversation that I ever had with my father”.
“He apologised to me for what he thought was a great failing: sending us to a school where these men preyed upon his children and others’ children.”
Mr Jones paid tribute to the college’s existing principal - “a good man running a good school” – and to his “inspiring” teacher, Brother Bell, who he had visited in an aged care home when first elected to parliament.
“I asked for, and he gave me, a Bible so that I could be sworn in on it on my first day in Parliament. I have the Bible here. It is a modest book – as modest and effective as the man who gave it to me.
‘’If my faith in the church has faltered in the 35 years since he taught me, my faith in this man has not. He lived a life of selfless service. Sadly, some of his brethren were not made of the same stuff.”
Friday afternoon marked the start of a long weekend for most people in the Illawarra.
For Tom*, it was the beginning of the rest of his life.
In an almost empty courtroom in Wollongong, he watched on as the man who had sexually abused him as a “vulnerable, naive” teenager was jailed for a decade.
Tom hung his head between his hands for a moment as the sentence was read out, before turning to embrace family who were in court to support him.
He had earlier struggled to describe the impact Brother John Vincent Roberts’ actions had had on his life. “It’s been decimated,” he said, his voice heavy with emotion.
“My life has been a continuous circle of pain...my being, my innocence and my self-expectations have been expelled as a result of this.
“I dub thee unforgiven.”
Roberts was a teacher at Edmund Rice College in the late 1980s and Tom, just 13 at the time, was a student in need of some tutoring. Roberts offered his services and Tom’s mother, unaware she was placing her son in the hands of a sexual predator, readily agreed.
Roberts drove Tom to the university one day to use the computers. On the way home, Roberts took him to a secluded spot on Mount Keira Road and raped him.
From then on Roberts bypassed the university and their “study sessions” entirely, instead taking Tom straight to Mount Keira to abuse him on a weekly basis for the best part of a year. Abuse also occurred in the Brother’s Cottage on school grounds, the court heard.
In sentencing Roberts on Friday, Judge Andrew Haesler said Roberts had “grossly” breached the trust of Tom and his family. “He exploited the youth and vulnerability of his victim,” Judge Haesler said.
“He betrayed him and he betrayed himself as a Christian Brother. The assaults were planned, they were persistent and they were degrading.”
He also betrayed his vows and the Lord to Whom he made them. Lest he thoroughly repent, his real sentence will be much longer.
The 74-year-old was handed an overall prison term of ten years, with a non-parole period of six years.
He will be eligible to apply for parole in 2022.