Image: St. Augustine’s – now a Christian Brothers college
The Christian Brothers in the Geelong area have been exposed as a hot bed of abusers in the recent Victorian Parliamentary enquiry. They ran the St. Augustine’s Orphanage, which is now the location of their private school. It is heritage listed. The site was granted by the government originally. Government also donated a third of the building costs. The valuable site should be sold and given to victims in compensation.
It had all of the usual problems associated with the old children’s homes. In 2011, it formed the basis of a claim for dereliction of duty against the State government, by several former residents, represented by barrister Dr Vivian Waller. Much of the claim involved Christian Brother, William Houston. Related claims involved Brother Best, who is usually described as a close associate of Cardinal “Georgie” Pell.
Justice for Brother Houston’s victims appears to be seriously delayed.
In June 1997, he appeared in the Geelong Magistrates Court, charged with committing 14 sexual offences against a boy at St Augustine’s. Houston was remanded on bail pending a County Court hearing. The magistrate’s order was reported in the Melbourne Herald Sun, 18 June 1997, page 10, with a photo of William Houston. However, the County Court trial has not yet been held as the Director of Prosecutions did not wish to fund a single-victim trial in 1997.
This prompted an extraordinary speech in the Victorian Parliament by Peter McLellan (a Catholic), in 1999, in which he said that the delay in holding a County Court trial was an injustice to the victims.
Eventually, in 2008, another two accusers came forward and the original alleged victim signed a fresh police statement. Brother Houston was committed to face a County Court trial in May 2010 on 12 fresh charges. As of January this year, it appears that the County Court process (indictment number Y.03305021) has not yet been completed.
It is worth postings some of the readers’ comments to the Geelong Advertiser’s article on St, Augustine’s Orphanage:
- John of Cairns – I was brought up with St Augustine boys and they were TRAUMATISED regardless of whether sick men hiding behind sanctimonious privileges got to them or not.. God bless them but i doubt any of them give a spit for god now.. and likewise..
- Edwina – The Catholic Church needs investigating world wide. Someone should have broken up these pedophile rings not moved the offenders. My heart goes out to all those who were abused. Help through Broken Rites is the way to go, speak out, find your voice.
- Julia of Geelong – I am so disgusted by this unjust, My uncle and father both attended St A’s my uncle who has recently passed from a massive heat attack never got his justice for the appalling things he suffered while at 17 orphanages including St A’s, he was wacked so hard across the ear that he went deaf and his ear bleed. The brother’s that did these horrible and unforgiving things should be made to suffer, and as for the state government you didn’t protect children then and you don’t protect children now, you should be ashamed of yourself and you need to make those boys who were so badly treated then feel something now I am ashamed to know that our own government knew this was happening but did nothing these men deserve to have a life that, they did not have when they were boy’s. And has for the Christian’s they are supposed to believe in god since when in the bible did it say it was ok to abuse children sick to my stomach.
- Judy – These brave victims are to be commended for speaking up and taking action to expose the truth about being abused at Newtown’s St Augustine’s Orphanage. This is not an easy thing to do. But keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.
[Postscript: The Victorian Adult Parole Board operations were recently the subject of a review. It has resulted in undisclosed changes, and the appointment of a new chairperson, Judge Elizabeth Curtain. It will shortly hear an application on behalf of Fr. Gerard Ridsdale, who once shared a house with “Prince Pell”. The report was produced by Ian Callinan, who has done much consultancy work for the Catholic Church (see previous postings).]
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TOMORROW: St. Vincent’s Orphanage, Melbourne
That’s all I can say
Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)