The Marist Brothers is a world-wide Catholic Church order, noted for its role in teaching at primary and secondary school levels. Many of its “teachers” entered the order as teenagers, and gained their first teaching appointment while still teenagers. They are “trained” internally, and their qualifications would be rejected by Education Departments in all states of Australia.
There is consistent evidence that Marist offenders were sheltered by the church, over many decades in some cases. It has been well established that a cover-up technique adopted for abusive parish priests was to transfer them to new, unsuspecting, parishes. The same thing happened with Marist teachers, who were shifted to other schools when things got too hot for comfort.
Many of the Marist brothers, who were convicted of offences, remained members of the order, in good standing, until their deaths.
The schools receive many millions of dollars annually from the taxpayer, with virtually no accountability for educational outcomes.
Below is a list (by no means exhaustive) of convicted Marist “teachers” in Australia.
John William Chute. Abuse was reported to the headmaster in 1986, but Chute remained at the school until the end of 1993.
Ross Francis Murrin. Taught at the Brothers boys’ primary school in Daceyville, in East Sydney and St Augustine’s College in Cairns, Queensland. There is evidence that the school administration knew what Murrin was doing, yet he was kept in the Marist order and was transferred to more schools. He began teaching when he was just 18. Judge Helen Murrell, during his trial, told the court: “Despite his youth and lack of teacher training (let alone training in relation to appropriate sexual boundaries), the offender was given responsibility for a Year 5 class of 30-35 students.”
Norbert Mathieson. By his late teens, he was teaching as a Marist Brother and was “commanding officer” of school military cadets.
Malcolm Hall. Shortly before he was due to appear in court, he suddenly died.
John Patrick Gleeson. The Marists successfully concealed his offences for fifty years.
Roger Michael Bellemore. Tasmania state.
Gregory James Carter. St Augustine’s Marist Brothers’ College in Cairns, north Queensland.
David Austin Christian. Marist Brothers’ NewmanCollege, Perth, Western Australia. Marists paid his fine.
John Desmond Dyson. AssumptionCollege, Kilmore, Victoria.
Michael Folli. Auburn, in Sydney’s west.
Terence Joseph Gilsenan. St Gregory’s College, Campbelltown, New South Wales. Gilsenan is still a Marist Brother.
Brian Robert Gordon. Marist Brothers primary school in Dundas, Sydney. The Marists kept quiet about Gordon’s behaviour and he eventually became the Brisbane diocese’s deputy directory of Catholic Education.
Francis Hesford. AssumptionCollege, Kilmore, Victoria.
John Aloysius Littler. Vincent’s boys’ home, Westmead, in Sydney’s west
Gerard Joseph McNamara.
Hugh Michael McNamara. St Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill in Sydney, and Marist Brothers college at Ashgrove in Brisbane.
Terence Mulligan. Marist Brothers school at Auburn, in Sydney’s west.
Peter Richard Spratt. MaristCollege in Canberra.
Gregory Joseph Sutton. He fled to the USA, where he became principal of a Catholic school. He was extradited back to Australia, where he was jailed in 1996 for a maximum of 18 years.
Geoffrey Veness. St Augustine’s College, Cairns, Queensland.
Given this record, there are two questions which beg an answer. Firstly, why would anyone send their children to a Marist school? Then there is the question for those who decide who can operate a school: Why are the Marists still permitted to run schools, and receive tax-payer subsidies?
[Postscript: Cardinal George Pell was unavailable for comment as he is still on holidays in Rome, staying at his palatial $$30 million pad, “Domus Australia”.]
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TOMORROW: A fit and proper organisation?
That’s all I can say
Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)