A Catholic priest deported from Papua New Guinea has been remanded in custody over alleged child sex offences dating to the 1960s.
Roger Mount, 72, was last week deported to Australia from Papua New Guinea, where he was the priest of a remote parish. This is despite the Catholic Church apologising to and paying at least two people who alleged he had sexually abused them as children in the 1990s and the 2000s.
Legal documents show the St John of God order paid alleged victims more than $100,000.
Father Mount was charged with sex offences against seven different children in Queensland on Friday and later extradited to Victoria. He appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.
He was charged with 40 counts of indecent assault, 14 counts of buggery, five counts of gross indecency and three counts of unlawful assault between 1968 and 1974 at Greensborough and Mount Eliza.
Father Mount's lawyer, Jacqui Hession, said it was the first time he had been in custody. Ms Hession said he was asthmatic and had chronic heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and macular degeneration.
He did not apply for bail on Monday, but Ms Hession said he was likely to in future.
Father Mount has previously denied to Fairfax Media all allegations of impropriety towards children.
He will appear in court for a committal mention on 16 January.
One Victim's Horror Story (Oct 4, 2014)
|SHOCKED: David McNamara, right, and at age 13, left, |
with his alleged abuser, Father Roger Mount, at Kendal Grange.
As the years passed and he received a settlement for the abuse at the Kendall Grange home for intellectually disabled boys in NSW, he assumed his alleged attacker would have left the church and been kept away from children.
But, in August, the 60-year-old realised that the former brother, who had allegedly molested him repeatedly when he was 12, was still working as a Catholic priest, now in Papua New Guinea, and potentially has contact with children.
Not sure why the reporter used the term 'allegedly' here, considering the church apologized to McNamara and paid him $91,000. I seriously doubt that they would do that for an innocent man.
‘‘I just couldn’t believe it,’’ Mr McNamara, a former theatre-lighting director, said. ‘‘It goes to show how poorly the church has behaved. The church hasn’t acted on my disclosure. It looks like a cover-up. It disgusts me.’’
Mr McNamara is the second person to publicly allege abuse by former St John of God brother and now Catholic priest Father Roger ‘‘Gabriel’’ Mount, and has called for the church to take action.
The other alleged victim is a Victorian man, Steve Danas, who alleged abuse by the then Brother Mount at a St John of God-run home in Victoria in the 1960s. Both Mr McNamara and Mr Danas received settlements from the church. Despite the payouts, which total more than $100,000, the church continues to allow Mount to work as a priest in Papua New Guinea. Diocesan officials have revealed Mount continues to work as a priest at a remote parish, despite being suspended from parish work in 2011.
|Church in New Guinea where Mount was working despite being suspended|
‘‘They’re perpetuating my suffering,’’ he said.
He alleges Mount sexually abused him when he was sick in bed at the Kendall Grange home at Morisset. He said Mount had put his hands under his pyjamas and touched him.
He says Mount then regularly abused him in the school’s television room. Mount left the order and became a priest in Papua New Guinea in the 1980s.
Mr McNamara said even after Mount left, he was abused by two other St John of God brothers, both of whom have since died.
Mr McNamara was sent to an orphanage at age five after his parents split. At 10, despite not having an intellectual disability, he was moved to Kendall Grange, a boarding school for intellectually disabled boys run by the Catholic St John of God order.
Mr McNamara said just being forced to move to the school had been crushing.
‘‘I was really upset and sad at being sent there and that sadness is still with me today. I started to think that because I was sent there, there must be something wrong with me.’’
In 1997 he received an apology and a settlement for about $91,000, some of which went on legal fees.
‘‘They promised they would look into it [the abuse],’’ he said. ‘‘Now we know they never did.’’
On Friday vicar-general for the Port Moresby Archdiocese, Father Ben Fleming, confirmed Mount was still conducting services in Sogeri, a small parish near the Kokoda Track, and living in church accommodation.
Father Fleming declined to comment on why Mount was allowed to work despite the 2011 suspension.
Efforts to contact Mount were unsuccessful.