Notorious serial paedophile Father Peter Rushton is thought to have abused hundreds of boys throughout his 40-year career as an Anglican priest and board member of St Alban’s Boys Home.
After completing his training at St John’s Theological College in Morpeth in 1963, Rushton worked in Cessnock for four years. He was then transferred to Wyong, and also served at Weston, Wallsend, Maitland and Hamilton until his retirement in 2001.
Paul Gray told the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse that Rushton – who was also Gray’s godfather – anally raped him when he was 10, and was the “lynchpin” of a horrific paedophile ring that operated in the Cessnock area.
Gray was an altar boy and a member of the Church of England boys’ brigade when the abuse occurred. He told the Royal Commission that Rushton began taking him to St Alban’s Home for Boys in the mid-1960s where he was locked in a room and sexually abused by a series of men.
This occurred regularly for a period of 18 months, but Gray was not Rushton’s only victim at the institution. Gray also witnessed a number of boys being forced to lie on beds as groups of men would file through to choose a boy and take him to a separate room.
The paedophile ring also operated outside of St Alban’s Boys Home. Rushton has been accused of sexually abusing – and arranging for boys to be sexually abused by others – at a series of church-organised camps and Boy Scout trips.
The Royal Commission also heard that Rushton was allowed to foster children at his home, and provided at least one of his foster children to be gang raped by other men.
And despite removalists uncovering hundreds of gay and child porn videos when they packed up his Rectory in 1998, Rushton continued to be protected throughout his career by senior clerics known as ‘the gang of three’.
He died in 2007 without being convicted.
Image source: ABC.net.au