St Patrick’s College (Goulburn) and St Paul’s Catholic College (Manly) have been black marks in the history of child abuse in Australia.
Over the decades, five alleged sexual predators worked at the schools.
In June 2016, Brother William Standen was sentenced to nine years in prison with a non-parole period of four and a half years for child indecent assault offences. He was 67-years-old at the time.
In August 2016, Brother Christopher Rafferty was acquitted of three counts of indecent assault and three of homosexual intercourse (which as the time of the offence was a criminal offence). He was 67-years-old.
In October 2016, William John Obbens was sentenced to three years in prison with a non-parole term of 18 months on three counts of aggravated indecent assault on three boys. He was 70-years-old at the time of sentencing.
In January 2019, Brother David Curtin faced the Sydney District Court. He was acquitted of three counts of sexual and indecent assault on a person under the age of 16. He was 67-years-old.
What do all of these men have in common?
None of them faced punishment – or questioning – until much later in life.
Now, the fifth alleged paedophile, Brother Peter Nicholas Lennox, is due to face court in September 2019.
Lennox is accused of offences committed at Saint Paul’s Catholic College involving three boys between 1974 to 1976 – he faces four counts of indecent assault on a male under 16 and one indecent act on a male under 16.
The trial is expected to last 10 days.
Lennox denies assaulting children under his care at St Patrick’s College and Saint Paul’s Catholic College and in November 2018, Lennox pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He also applied for a retrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict on these charges.
However, Lennox was found guilty of two additional counts of indecent assault on a male and one count of sexual indecent assault on a male under the age of 16. One of the two victims was a student of St Patrick’s College in Goulburn and was 15-years-old at the time of the offences.
Lennox was the child’s teacher and dormitory master.
Northern Beaches Police Command Inspector Michael Boutouridis has been working on Lennox’s case for almost five years. He said it has taken real courage for the victims to come forward.
“It took a lot of courage by the alleged victims to come forward and bare their souls… and they’ve been vindicated with some of these verdicts,” Inspector Boutouridis said.
There have been multiple attempts to bring Lennox to trial over the allegations. There have been three attempts and each time, the trial has been pushed back due to Lennox’s “ill health”.
He walked free for five months.
In March 2019, Lennox was jailed for the crimes he committed against two underage boys. According to Broken Rites, prosecutors intend to bring Lennox back to court regarding additional charges when he’s finished his jail term.
Child sex offenders are being caught and punished for their crimes. There will be no more sweeping this issue under the rug – no matter their age, no matter their health status – paedophiles will be brought to justice.
In the meantime, Kelso Lawyers aims to support survivors of child sexual abuse. Our goal is to help you achieve the compensation and vindication you deserve.
If you believe you have been abused by a member of the clergy, please contact Kelso Lawyers. We aim to help achieve justice.
Image: Goulburn Post