Rooney: Stephen

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former Christian Brother.  Native of British Columbia.  1989 charged with sex abuse of two eight-year-old boys at Mount Cashel orphanage.   CONVICTED May 1991 on six of 10 charges

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May 1991:  age 38. sentenced  to six years on six convictions – three counts of gross indecency, two of attempted buggery and one of indecent assault involving two boys.

separated from wife after charges laid

April 1989:  arrested while living in New Denver, British Columbia.  Rooney was married with a child and teaching in a local school. (M)

1978-1980 (approx):  teaching somewhere in Western Newfoundland (M)

1978: ceased work at Mount Cashel after concerns raised regarding his treatment of the youngest residents (M)

left the Christian Brothers shortly after he left Mount Cashel (M)

September 1977:  started working at Mount Cashel, St. John’s Newfoundland (M)

attending Memorial University full time to attain his teaching degree – had duties at the orphanage several times a week (M)

home room teacher at St. Pat’s Elementary school in St. John’s in mid 70s.

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MOUNT CASHEL; Christian Brother gets one-year term for sex offences

The Ottawa Citizen

07 August 1991

Beth Gorham

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – Christian Brother Edward French was sentenced Tuesday to one year in jail for fondling three boys at the Mount Cashel orphanage.

French, 59, a small man with a white beard, seemed relieved and smiled at his lawyer after the sentence was handed down by Justice James Puddester.

It’s the lightest term delivered yet to five former Mount Cashel officials convicted of sex crimes against residents of the St. John’s orphanage in the 1970s.

Puddester called French’s crimes ”inherently serious” and ”offensive” but judged them less severe than the sexual abuse and beatings committed by other present or former members of the Roman Catholic lay order.

French, who has been teaching in British Columbia for the last decade, was convicted last month on three charges of indecent assault against former residents of the orphanage, which shut last summer.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a fourth charge of gross indecency and French will be retried on that count, likely this fall.

During the trial, two witnesses said French fondled their genitals while they were patients in the sick room. Another said he was fondled while laying in his bunk.

The three men testified they had trouble forming trusting relationships as a result of the crimes, which Puddester called ”traumatic” and noted that ”an avenue of escape was denied” them.

But the Newfoundland Supreme Court justice said French’s lack of violence and the fact that he touched each boy just once and did not force them to participate must be taken into account.

”It is not just the hope but the rightful expectation of society … that each of these individuals would receive shelter and care,” he said.

”(But) punishment must fit the circumstances of the offence… and the offender.”

The trials so far

Monday, Brother Edward English was sentenced to 12 years in prison on 13 charges of sexual and physical abuse. Three others were handed prison terms ranging from 25 months to six years.

Seven other current or former Christian Brothers and one man who lived near the orphanage have been charged since 1989 with sexually abusing boys in the 1970s. Here they are:

Christian Brother Edward Patrick English, 42, was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison on 13 of 19 charges involving sexual and physical assaults on 16 boys. He was found not guilty on three charges. The jury could not reach a verdict on three other charges and he’ll be retried on those.

Former brother Joseph Burke, 42, of Vancouver is appealing his July 8 sentence of 25 months on four convictions – three of indecent assault and one of assault causing bodily harm involving three boys. He was convicted June 28.

Christian Brother Harold Thorne, 51, of St. John’s was sentenced June 3 to six years on four convictions – two of gross indecency and one each of buggery and indecent assault involving four boys. He was convicted May 17.

Richard Pelley, 41, of St. John’s, who lived near the orphanage and was not a Christian Brother, was sentenced May 29 on three convictions – one year on each of two counts of gross indecency and six months on one count of indecent assault involving two boys, to be served concurrently. He was convicted May 14.

Former brother Stephen Rooney, 38, of New Denver, B.C., was sentenced May 22 to six years on six convictions – three counts of gross indecency, two of attempted buggery and one of indecent assault involving two boys. He was convicted May 1.

Three others face charges this fall, including former brother Douglas Kennedy, 49, head of Mount Cashel from 1971 to 1976.

Credit: CP

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Fourth man convicted in Nfld. sex case

The Montreal Gazette

21 July 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – Christian Brother Edward George French was convicted yesterday in Newfoundland Supreme Court on three counts of indecent assault.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a fourth charge of gross indecency.

French, 59, a native of St. John’s, was remanded in custody until July 30 when the court will hear pre-sentence reports.

A hung jury on the gross indecency charge means French will have a new trial on that charge alone. An arraignment is expected to be set for September.

French is the fourth Christian Brother or former member of the congregation to be tried and convicted on charges of sexual and physical abuse of boys at Mount Cashel Orphanage during the 1970s.

French, a balding white-haired man, sat upright in the prisoner’s box and showed no signs of emotion when the verdict was read.

The young man who laid the gross indecency charge was the only one of four complainants in the courtroom yesterday afternoon. He hung his head and stared at the floor when the verdicts were announced.

Meanwhile, the jury is deliberating in the trial of Christian Brother Edward English, and a verdict is expected soon.

Former brother Stephen Rooney, 40, of New Denver, B.C., was sentenced to six years after being convicted on four of eight counts. Christian Brother Harold Thorne, 52, of St. John’s, was also sentenced to six years after he was convicted on all four charges against him.

Former brother Joseph Burke, 42, of Vancouver, was sentenced to a total of 25 months after he was convicted on four of eight charges.

Credit: CP

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Former Christian Brother gets 6 years; He molested two 8- year-old boys at Mount Cashel orphanage

The Montreal Gazette

23 May 1991

Beth Gorman

SEX OFFENDER ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE SOONER: ST. JOHN’S – The Canadian Press erroneously reported Wednesday the terms of parole for a former Christian Brother sentenced to six years in prison for sex offences. The story said Stephen Rooney would be eligible for day parole after serving one-third of his sentence and full parole would be mandatory after he served four years. In fact, he becomes eligible for day parole after serving one- sixth of the sentence, and is eligible for full parole after serving one-third. The Gazette regrets the error. /PUBLISHED MAY 25, 1991, PAGE A2.

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – The first man to face trial in the Mount Cashel orphanage sex scandal was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison for abusing two young boys.

Stephen Rooney, a former Christian Brother, engaged in the “scandalous debasement of young bodies and minds” when he molested two 8-year-old residents of the orphanage 14 years ago, said Judge William Adams.

“He betrayed the children who trusted him,” said the judge. “It was a cheap price to put on the sanctity of the human body.”

Rooney, 38, a slight man, stood quietly as the sentence was read. He was convicted May 1 on six of 10 charges – three counts of gross indecency, two of attempted buggery and one of indecent assault.

He will be eligible for day parole after serving one-third of his sentence. Full parole is mandatory after he has served four years. (CORRECTION: He becomes eligible for day parole after serving one- sixth of the sentence, and is eligible for full parole after serving one-third. See correction field regarding error)

Two current or former members of the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic lay order that ran the orphanage, have now been convicted of sex crimes.

Harold Thorne, 51, was found guilty on four charges last week. A pre-sentence hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. Six other men have had trial dates set over the next few months.

The Mount Cashel scandal erupted two years ago when renewed complaints about abuse led to the reopening of a 14-year-old police investigation. The initial investigation in 1975 was quashed days after it began and no charges were laid at the time.

The orphanage cases are part of a larger scandal in which more than 20 priests, brothers and other Catholic officials in Newfoundland have been charged or convicted since early 1988 of sexually abusing boys.

Adams said Rooney’s sentence, the minimum requested by crown prosecutor Cathy Knox, is intended “to demonstrate the utter disgust of society” for his crimes.

It is stiffer than penalties handed to three Roman Catholic priests in the last couple of years, including former community leader James Hickey, who was sentenced to five years in prison in 1988 for 20 sex-related offences against altar boys.

McGrath argued Rooney was an immature 23-year-old when he abused the boys in his care and was not aware of the consequences for the victims.

“You can’t take somebody’s body and use it for whatever you want and think that it’s not going to have an effect,” said Adams.

The identities of the men, now 22, are protected by the court. Each man told a pre-sentence hearing he had attempted suicide while trying to come to terms with the abuse.

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Christian Brothers to say sorry

The Montreal Gazette

14 May 1991

JOHN’S, Nfld. – The Congregation of Christian Brothers will formally apologize to victims of sexual abuse at Mount Cashel orphanage.

But there has been no decision on when that will occur or what the Roman Catholic lay order will do about financial compensation, Brother John Gale said in a Toronto interview.

“We have been struggling with the whole issue as to how best to do that type of thing. In other words, where you actually get on and you publicly say: `We apologize unequivocally.'”

Gale, who recently attended the first trial of eight current or former brothers charged in the scandal, said he spoke to the two victims who testified.

“We are deeply troubled by the hurt and harm that this has caused, particularly (to) those who are alleging abused and now that (it’s) been demonstrated in court that they have been abused.”

Former brother Stephen Rooney, 38, was convicted earlier this month of six sex-related offences against two longtime residents of the St. John’s orphanage. He is to be sentenced Friday.

The trial of Christian Brother Harold Thorne, who faces four sex- related charges, is now under way in St. John’s.

Rooney, Throne and six others were charged with abusing boys after a 1975 police investigation into complaints was reopened two years ago.

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Religious order to apologize to victims of sex abuse

The Toronto Star

14 May 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – The Congregation of Christian Brothers will formally apologize to victims of sexual abuse at Mount Cashel orphanage.

But there has been no decision on when that will occur or what the Roman Catholic lay order will do about financial compensation, Brother John Gale said in an interview from Toronto.

“We have been struggling with the whole issue as to how best to do that type of thing. In other words, where you actually get on and you publicly say: ‘We apologize unequivocally.’ ”

Gale, who recently attended the first trial of eight current or former brothers charged in the scandal, said he spoke to the two victims who testified.

“We are deeply troubled by the hurt and harm that this has caused, particularly (to) those who are alleging abused and now that (it’s) been demonstrated in court that they have been abused. ”

Former brother Stephen Rooney, 38, was convicted earlier this month of six sex-related offences against two longtime residents of the St. John’s orphanage. He is to be sentenced Friday.

The trial of Christian Brother Harold Thorne, who faces four sex- related charges, is currently under way in St. John’s.

Throne and six others were charged with abusing boys after a 1975 police investigation into complaints was reopened two years ago.

Rooney wasn’t part of the original investigation, which  was quashed just days after it began.

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Jury selection begins in trial of Christian Brother

The Montreal Gazette

06 May 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – Jury selection began yesterday in the trial of Harold Thorne, a member of the Christian Brothers, on several sex-related charges involving boys.

Thorne, 50, faces two counts of gross indecency, one of indecent assault and one of buggery.

Only one juror was selected yesterday, and the process was to continue today.

The offences are alleged to have involved four boys at the Mount Cashel orphanage between 1971 and 1977.

The institution, which is now closed, was run by the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic lay order.

Thorne is the second of eight current or former members of the order to go on trial for sexual or physical abuse of boys at the orphanage. Trials are expected to begin for the others over the next couple of months.

Last week former brother Stephen Rooney, 38, was convicted of six sex-related charges. He is to be sentenced May 17.

Defence lawyer John McGrath, who also defended Rooney, was challenging all prospective jurors to determine whether they are partial as a result of pre-trial publicity surrounding the scandal.

The eight brothers were charged after a 1975 police investigation into complaints of sex abuse at the orphanage was reopened in February 1989. The original investigation was quashed just a few days after it began and no charges were laid.

The Mount Cashel cases are part of a larger scandal in which more than 20 priests, brothers and other members of the Newfoundland Roman Catholic community have been charged with or convicted of sexually abusing boys since 1988.

The scandal helped bring other cases of abuse to light and sparked at least five major police investigations across Canada.

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Ex-brother guilty of sex abuse; Victims of orphanage assaults hear verdict

The Edmonton Journal

02 May 1991

The Canadian Press

St. John’s, Nfld.

Former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney was found guilty Wednesday of sexually abusing two young boys at the Mount Cashel orphanage more than 10 years ago.

Rooney was convicted on three counts of gross indecency, two of attempted buggery and one of indecent assault. The jury found the B.C. native not guilty on four other counts after deliberating for 21 hours over three days.

Sentencing was set for May 17.

Rooney, 38, was the first of eight present or former brothers to go on trial in a wide-ranging scandal.

Rooney, a slight, dark-haired man with a moustache, sat slouched and expressionless as the verdict was read in Newfoundland Supreme Court.

Both victims, now 22 years old, were visibly relieved and emotional as they listened from the public gallery. They cannot be identified under an order from Justice William Adams.

“I have to accept the verdict that was rendered,” said Rooney’s lawyer, John McGrath.

Throughout the six-day trial, Rooney maintained his case was one of mistaken identity even though he conceded there were opportunities to be alone with the boys, then eight years old.

He admitted he was kicked out of Mount Cashel in 1978 after concerns were raised about how he was caring for 20 of the youngest residents.

Seven other brothers – members of a Roman Catholic lay order that ran the home – are scheduled to go on trial over the next few months.

They were charged after a 1975 police investigation into sex abuse complaints was reopened in February 1989. The original investigation was quashed just a few days after it began and no charges were laid.

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Ex-Christian Brother guilty of sexual abuse

The Vancouver Sun

02 May 1991

ST. JOHN’S – Former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney will be sentenced May 17 on six charges of sexually abusing two boys at Mount Cashel orphanage.

He was convicted Wednesday of assaulting two eight-year-olds more than 10 years ago at the St. John’s orphanage, which was closed after a widespread sex scandal was uncovered.

Rooney, a B.C. native, is the first of eight present or former brothers to go on trial.

He was facing 10 charges but the jury found him guilty of six – three counts of gross indecency, two of attempted buggery and one of indecent assault.

Rooney, 38, a slight, dark-haired man with a moustache, sat slouched and expressionless while the verdict was read in Newfoundland Supreme Court.

Both victims, now 22 years old, were visibly relieved as they listened from the public gallery. They cannot be identified under an order from Justice William Adams.

Throughout the six-day trial, Rooney maintained his case was one of mistaken identity even though he conceded there were opportunities to be alone with the boys.

He admitted he was kicked out of Mount Cashel in 1978 after concerns were raised about his care of 20 of the youngest residents.

Seven other members or former members of the Roman Catholic lay order that ran Mount Cashel are scheduled to go on trial over the next few months.

They were charged after a 1975 police investigation into sex abuse complaints was reopened in February 1989. The original investigation was quashed just a few days after it began and no charges were laid.

Rooney did not arrive at Mount Cashel until September 1977, so he was not part of the original probe.

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MOUNT CASHEL: Christian Brother lied about room, prosecutor claims

The Ottawa Citizen

30 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) — Former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney lied about a small room in Mount Cashel orphanage that contained a bed he could have used to sexually assault two boys, Crown prosecutor Cathy Knox said Monday.

“If he lied to you about that, what else did he lie about?” Knox asked the jury at Rooney’s trial on 10 sex-related charges.

The windowless room on the third floor of the St. John’s orphanage became an issue after one alleged victim said Rooney forced him to perform sex acts there.

Rooney, 38, said the room simply contained laundry facilities.

Rooney is charged with two counts of indecent assault, three of attempted buggery and five of gross indecency involving two eight-year-old boys.

Defence lawyer John McGrath says the boys “may well have been sexually assaulted. But they are mistaken when they say it’s my client.”

Knox, however, said the young men, now 22, knew Rooney well because he took care of them for more than a year after arriving in 1977.

One man said Rooney often fondled him while he sat in his lap watching television and was later forced to masturbate him three times.

The other man testified Rooney had sex with him too many times to remember at the orphanage and on trips away from the city. He said Rooney asked him to perform oral sex and attempted anal intercourse on him.

Rooney conceded last week that there were opportunities to be alone with the boys and admitted he was kicked out of Mount Cashel in 1978 after concerns were raised about how he was caring for about 20 of the youngest residents.

He is the first of eight present or former members of the Roman Catholic lay order to go on trial on sex abuse charges.

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Ex-Brother lying, Crown tells jurors

The Windsor Star

30 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – Former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney lied about a small room in Mount Cashel orphanage that contained a bed he could have used to sexually assault two boys, Crown prosecutor Cathy Knox said Monday.

“If he lied to you about that, what else did he lie about?” Knox asked the jury during closing arguments at Rooney’s trial on 10 sex-related charges.

The windowless room on the third floor of the notorious St. John’s orphanage became an issue during the six-day trial after one alleged victim said Rooney forced him to perform sex acts there.

Rooney, 38, maintained the room near the boys’ dorm contained only laundry facilities.

Brother Timothy Turner, who was at Mount Cashel for two years in the late 1970s, said it was transformed into a bedroom but could not say for certain that the changes were made while Rooney was there.

ROONEY SAT expressionless with his arms crossed during final arguments from Knox and defence lawyer John McGrath as a handful of spectators listened from the public gallery.

The British Columbia native is charged with two counts of indecent assault, three of attempted buggery and five of gross indecency involving two eight-year-old boys.

“I’m not suggesting that either of these boys lied under oath,” said McGrath. “They may well have been sexually assaulted. But they are mistaken when they say it’s my client.”

KNOX, HOWEVER, said the young men, now 22, knew Rooney well because he took care of them for more than a year starting in September 1977. She said they were too principled to accuse him of another’s crimes.

One man testified Rooney had sex with him too many times to remember at the orphanage and on trips away from the city.

Rooney said last week there were opportunities to be alone with the boys and admitted he was kicked out of Mount Cashel in 1978 after concerns were raised about how he was caring for about 20 of the youngest residents.

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Man not truthful about site of assault orphanage jury told

The Toronto Star

Canadian Press

30 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – Former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney lied about a small room in Mount Cashel orphanage that contained a bed he could have used to sexually assault two boys, a crown prosecutor said yesterday.

“If he lied to you about that, what else did he lie about?”prosecutor Cathy Knox asked the jury during closing arguments at Rooney’s trial on 10 sex-related charges.

The windowless room on the third floor of the notorious St. John’s orphanage became an issue during the six-day trial after one alleged victim said Rooney forced him to perform sex acts there.

Rooney, 38, maintained the room near the boys’ dorm simply contained laundry facilities.

Brother Timothy Turner, who was at Mount Cashel for two years in the late 1970s, remembers it was transformed into a bedroom but could not say for certain that the changes were made while Rooney was there.

A small, dark-haired man, Rooney sat expressionless with his arms crossed during final arguments from Knox and defence lawyer John McGrath as a handful of spectators listened from the public gallery.

The British Columbia native is charged with two counts of indecent assault, three of attempted buggery and five of gross indecency involving two boys who were 8 at the time.

“I’m not suggesting that either of these boys lied under oath,” McGrath said. “They may well have been sexually assaulted. But they are mistaken when they say it’s my client.”

Knox, however, said the alleged victims, now 22, knew Rooney well because he took care of them for more than a year after arriving in September, 1977. They were too principled to accuse him of another brother’s crimes, she said.

One man said Rooney often fondled him while he sat in Rooney’s lap watching television. He was later forced to masturbate Rooney three times, the man testified.

The other man testified Rooney had sex with him too many times to remember at the orphanage and on trips away from the city. He said Rooney asked him to perform oral sex and attempted anal intercourse on him.

Rooney conceded last week that there were opportunities to be alone with the boys and admitted he was kicked out of Mount Cashel in 1978 after concerns were raised about how he was caring for about 20 of the youngest residents.

But he maintained his case is one of mistaken identity.

He is the first of eight present or former members of the Roman Catholic lay order to go on trial on sex abuse charges.

Rooney was arrested in April, 1989, while living in New Denver, B.C., with his wife and child. He separated from his wife after the charges were laid.

The jury began deliberations after an address from Justice William Adams.

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Sex assault victims confused, accused claims

The Vancouver Sun

27 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – Former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney says there’s no reason two long-time residents of the Mount Cashel orphanage would lie about being forced to perform sex acts as children.

But Rooney told a Newfoundland Supreme Court on Friday that the two men, now 22 years old, have him confused with someone else.

“What you have acknowledged here today is that the events could have happened at Mount Cashel as they describe them,” said Crown prosecutor Cathy Knox.

“Your theory is not that these boys are lying, but that they’re wrong about it being you.”

“That’s correct,” Rooney answered quietly.

Rooney, 38, is charged with two counts of indecent assault, three of attempted buggery and five of gross indecency involving two eight-year-old boys.

He conceded there were opportunities to be alone with the boys, that they knew him well and that his looks haven’t changed much since the alleged attacks occurred.

But he maintained throughout cross-examination by Knox that his case is one of mistaken identity.

When asked why he didn’t tell police about his theory, Rooney said his lawyer advised against it.

Earlier in the day, the British Columbia native said he was kicked out of Mount Cashel in 1978, just over a year after he arrived, when concerns were raised about how he was caring for about 20 of the youngest residents.

“Obviously I wasn’t able to provide the care the boys should have had. I was under a lot of stress.”

Rooney was attending classes full-time at Memorial University to finish his teaching degree and had duties at the St. John’s orphanage several times a week.

Rooney, a slight man with short, dark hair and a moustache, left the Roman Catholic lay order shortly after he left Mount Cashel and taught for two years in western Newfoundland before returning to British Columbia.

He was arrested in April 1989 while living in New Denver, B.C., with his wife and child. He separated from his wife after the charges were laid.

One alleged victim calmly told court this week that Rooney often fondled him while he sat in his lap watching television and was later forced to masturbate Rooney three times in a room near the boys’ dormitory.

The other man broke down on the stand while testifying that Rooney had sex with him too many times to remember, asked him to perform oral sex and attempted anal intercourse on him.

Neither man can be identified under an order from Justice William Adams

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Accusers confused, abuse trial told

The Toronto Star

27 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – Former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney says there’s no reason for two long-time residents of the Mount Cashel orphanage to lie about being forced to perform sex acts as children.

But Rooney told Newfoundland Supreme Court yesterday that the two men, now 22 years old, have him confused with someone else.

“Your theory is not that these boys are lying, but that they’re wrong about it being you,” crown prosecutor Cathy Knox said.

“That’s correct,” Rooney answered quietly.

Rooney, 38, is charged with two counts of indecent assault, three of attempted buggery and five of gross indecency involving two 8- year-old boys.

He conceded there were opportunities to be alone with the boys, that they knew him well and that his looks haven’t changed much.

But he maintained his case is one of mistaken identity.

Earlier in the day, the British Columbia native said he was kicked out of Mount Cashel in 1978 when concerns were raised about how he was caring for about 20 of the youngest residents.

Rooney was attending classes full-time at Memorial University to finish his teaching degree and had duties at the St. John’s orphanage several times a week.

He testified that superintendent Henry Bucher, who was in charge at the time, became particularly upset one day when Rooney couldn’t tell him where the children were playing.

Bucher testified earlier in the trial that Rooney had not been ordered to leave but went of his own accord.

Rooney left the Roman Catholic lay order shortly after he left Mount Cashel and taught for two years in western Newfoundland.

He was arrested in April, 1989, while living in New Denver, B.C., with his wife and child. He separated from his wife after the charges were laid.

One alleged victim told court this week that Rooney often fondled him while he sat in his lap watching television and was later forced to masturbate Rooney three times.

The other man broke down on the stand while testifying that Rooney had sex with him too many times to remember.

Neither man can be identified under an order from Justice William Adams.

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Former brother tells trial of firing

The Vancouver Sun

26 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – Former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney says he was kicked out of Mount Cashel in 1978 after concerns about how he was caring for the young boys.

“Obviously, I wasn’t able to provide the care the boys should have had,” he told a Newfoundland Supreme Court today.

“I was under a lot of stress.”

Rooney was attending classes full-time at Memorial University to finish his teaching degree and had duties at the St. John’s orphanage several times a week.

He testified that superintendent Henry Bucher, who was in charge of the St. John’s orphanage at the time, became particularly upset one day when Rooney couldn’t tell him where the children were playing.

“My care of the children that day was obviously the last straw,” he told the court.

Bucher, who testified earlier in the trial, did not say Rooney had been ordered to leave but went of his own accord.

Rooney, 38, is charged with two counts of indecent assault, three of attempted buggery and five of gross indecency involving two eight-year-old boys.

He testified this week that he didn’t sexually abuse any of the boys at Mount Cashel and can’t explain why two long-time residents would accuse him.

“It’s something I would never do. It’s sexually deviant behavior that I did not grow up with.”

Rooney denied fondling the boys or forcing them to commit sex acts at the orphanage or on trips away from the city.

“I had responsibility for them. I did not violate that responsibility.”

The B.C.-born Rooney was arrested two years ago while living in New Denver, B.C., with his wife and child. He separated from his wife after the charges were laid.

One alleged victim told the court this week that Rooney often fondled him while he sat in his lap watching television and was later forced to masturbate Rooney three times in a room near the boys’ dorm.

The other man also nervously testified against Rooney in a court closed to the public and media this week.

In tapes released later, he said Rooney had sex with him too many times to remember, asked him to perform oral sex and attempted anal intercourse on him.

Neither man can be identified under an order from Justice William Adams.

Rooney is the the first of eight present or former brothers to go to trial on sex-related charges in the Mount Cashel scandal.

The other seven were charged after a 1975 police investigation into sex abuse complaints was reopened in February 1989. The original investigation was quashed just a few days after it began and no charges were laid.

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Fondling started at age 8, trial told

The Windsor Star

25 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – A longtime resident of Mount Cashel orphanage testified Wednesday that former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney often fondled him and on three occasions forced him to perform sex acts.

The young man, who spoke calmly, testified that fondling began when he was eight years old.

He said Rooney eventually started to wake him up at night and took him into a room near his dormitory three times where they took off their clothes.

Rooney then told the boy to masturbate him, he testified.

JUSTICE WILLIAM ADAMS of the Newfoundland Supreme Court has ordered the media not to identify either alleged victim.

The court was cleared of the public and media for testimony earlier this week from the first man but recordings of his testimony were later given to the media.

Rooney, 37, is charged with two counts of indecent assault, three of attempted buggery and five of gross indecency involving the two men.

Adams removed one of the 12 jurors Wednesday after the juror recognized one of the men testifying as the person who trained him for a job at a delivery company last year.

The jurors were instructed not to read or watch media accounts of the trial after a local newspaper reported testimony on Tuesday on which the judge had imposed a publication ban.

“If you have to watch television – stick to Jeopardy,” said Adams, who concluded that the article’s breach was not serious enough to declare a mistrial.

The first alleged victim said he left the orphanage in 1984 and was placed in a foster home.

The orphanage, which closed permanently this year because of the scandal, had been operated for almost a century by the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic teaching order.

Rooney, a native of British Columbia, is the first of eight current or former Christian Brothers to go to trial on sex-related charges.

THEY WERE CHARGED after a 1975 police investigation into sex abuse complaints was reopened in February 1989. The original investigation was quashed just a few days after it began and no charges were laid.

Rooney was arrested two years ago in New Denver, B.C., where he worked as a teacher and lived with his wife and family.

He did not arrive at the orphanage until September 1977 and left over a year later, so he was not part of the original investigation.

The Mount Cashel cases are part of a larger scandal in which more than 20 priests, brothers and other members of the Catholic community in Newfoundland have been charged or convicted since early 1988 of sexually abusing boys.

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Christian Brother forced sex acts at Mount Cashel,ex-resident says

The Toronto Star

25 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – A long-time resident of the Mount Cashel orphanage testified yesterday that former Christian Brother Stephen Rooney often fondled him and forced him to perform sex acts three times.

“On a number of occasions he had his hands in my pyjamas while I was sitting on his lap,” said the 22-year-old man.

“Everybody else was watching television.”

The young man, who spoke calmly, testified the fondling began when he was 8 years old.

He said Rooney eventually started to wake him up at night and took him into a room near his dormitory three times where they took off their clothes.

“He got me to lie on top of him. He got me to move back and forth until he ejaculated,” the man, who grew up in Mount Cashel and left in 1989, testified.

The masturbation also involved another former resident who slept in the bunk below him, he said.

Justice William Adams of the Newfoundland Supreme Court has ordered the media not to identify either alleged victim.

The court was cleared of the public and media earlier this week for testimony from the second man but recordings of his testimony were later given to the media.

In the tape recordings, he said Rooney forced him to masturbate him more times than he could remember, asked him to perform oral sex and attempted anal intercourse with him.

Rooney, 37, is charged with two counts of indecent assault, three of attempted buggery and five counts of gross indecency involving the two men.

The first alleged victim said he left the orphanage in 1984 and was placed in a foster home.

“I exploded one day and demanded to leave. The brothers contacted a social worker. They approved it and I was out.”

The orphanage, which closed permanently earlier this year because of the scandal, had been operated for almost a century by the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic teaching order.

Rooney, a native of British Columbia, is the first of eight current or former Christian Brothers to go to trial on sex-related charges.

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Man’s testimony secret in orphanage sex case

The Toronto Star

24 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – A man who says he was sexually assaulted as a child while living at the Mount Cashel orphanage testified behind closed doors yesterday.

Judge William Adams agreed the public and news media should be barred from the courtroom while the man, whose identity is protected, gave evidence in the trial of Stephen Rooney.

The witness is one of two men who have accused Rooney, 37, of abusing them more than 10 years ago at Mount Cashel, a St. John’s home for neglected boys.

Rooney is the first of eight present or former Christian Brothers – a Roman Catholic lay order that ran the home – to go on trial in a wide-ranging Newfoundland scandal. He is facing 10 sex-related charges.

The other seven were charged after a 1975 police investigation into sex-abuse complaints was reopened in February 1989. The original investigation was quashed just a few days after it began and no charges were laid.

Rooney, a B.C. native who did not arrive at Mount Cashel until September, 1977, and left over a year later, was not part of the initial probe.

He was arrested two years ago in New Denver, B.C., where he worked as a teacher and lived with his wife and family. He is no longer a Christian Brother.

The man who testified yesterday was nervous about taking his complaint to police, his former high-school teacher told a Newfoundland Supreme Court.

But Leonard Hynes said the witness decided to file a formal complaint after word of the renewed police investigation spread and other officials of the Catholic church were charged with abuse.

The trial continues today.

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Orphanage brother was ‘devastated’

The Vancouver Sun

19 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – A former Christian Brother was devastated by charges that he abused two young boys who lived at the Mount Cashel orphanage, the policeman who arrested him said today.

“He looked like a man whose whole world had fallen apart,” Cpl. Dave Downey told the first day of Stephen Rooney’s trial.

“It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”

Rooney, 37, is now a resident of New Denver, B.C. He was arrested on 10 sex-related charges two years ago after complaints from two boys who stayed at the St. John’s home for several years.

He is the first of eight present or former members of the Roman Catholic lay order to go to trial in Newfoundland Supreme Court, although trial dates have been set for the others.

Rooney, a slight man with dark hair and a moustache, sat quietly taking notes during testimony today.

The Mount Cashel scandal exploded two years ago when a 1975 police investigation into complaints of abuse was reopened.

The original probe was halted just days after it began and no charges were laid then.

Rooney did not arrive at the orphanage until September, 1977, and was not involved in the first police investigation.

The trial continues next week.

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Cashel brother to face jury

The Edmonton Journal

16 April 1991

The Canadian Press

St. John’s, Nfld.

Jury selection began today for the trial of Stephen Rooney, the first Christian Brother charged in the Mount Cashel sex scandal to go to court.

Rooney, now living in British Columbia, faces sexual assault charges relating to his tenure at the St. John’s orphanage for boys.

He is one of eight current or former brothers who were charged in 1989 after a 14-year-old police investigation was reopened.

The original investigation in 1975 was quashed just days after it began. No charges were laid back then.

Rooney began working at the orphanage after that first investigation. He is no longer a member of the Roman Catholic lay order.

Trial dates have been set for this year for the other seven men, but some defence lawyers are still trying to get the charges dismissed because of widespread publicity surrounding the case.

The lawyers say it will be impossible for their clients to receive a fair trial.

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Jury selection begins in Mount Cashel case

The Vancouver Sun

16 April 1991

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – Jury selection began Monday for the trial of Stephen Rooney, the first Christian Brother charged in the Mount Cashel sex scandal to go to court.

Rooney, now living in British Columbia, faces sexual assault charges relating to his tenure at the St. John’s orphanage for boys.

He is one of eight current or former brothers who were charged in 1989 after a 14-year-old police investigation was reopened.

The original investigation in 1975 was quashed just days after it began. No charges were laid back then.

Rooney began working at the orphanage after that first investigation. He is no longer a member of the Roman Catholic lay order.

Trial dates have been set for this year for the other seven men but some defence lawyers are still trying to get the charges dismissed because of widespread publicity surrounding the case.

The lawyers say it will be impossible for their clients to receive a fair trial because a nine-month public inquiry into the scandal was broadcast daily on a St. John’s cable station.

More than 800 prospective jurors have been called in the Rooney case, which will be heard in Newfoundland Supreme Court. Two weeks have been set aside for the trial.

The case is part of a larger scandal that has seen more than 20 priests, brothers and other members of the Catholic community in Newfoundland charged or convicted since early 1988 of sexually abusing boys.

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3 Christian Brothers must stand trial

The Toronto Star

04 December 1990

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) – Three members of a Roman Catholic lay order have been ordered to stand trial on sexual abuse charges.

Harold Thorne, Alan Ralph and Edward English, members of the Christian Brothers, pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of sexually abusing boys at the Mount Cashel orphanage in the mid- 1970s. They face trials in May and June.

Ralph and English appeared in Newfoundland Supreme Court for the brief arraignment.

Brothers Kevin Short and Edward French and former brother Joseph Burke had their arraignments put over until Jan. 8.

The men are among eight members or former members of the lay order charged last year with sexual abuse following the reopening of a 1975 police investigation into complaints at Mount Cashel.

Trials can go ahead now that lawyers for five of the men have decided not to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to dismiss the charges.

The argument for dismissal – that an unreasonable delay in laying charges was an abuse of process and violated the Charter of Rights – was rejected by Newfoundland’s Appeal Court in September.

The lawyers, however, plan to raise the argument at trial.

Former brother Douglas Kenny, who was in charge of the St. John’s orphanage in 1975, is the only one of the eight men who has yet to have a preliminary hearing.

Former brother Stephen Rooney, the first to have a trial date set, appears in court April 15. Rooney was not involved in the original police investigation and did not arrive at Mount Cashel until years later.

Justice Minister Paul Dicks is considering whether obstruction charges should be laid against police, government officials and others involved in the scandal.

The 1975 police investigation was quashed before it could be completed and no charges were laid.

The charges are part of a larger scandal that since early in 1988 has seen more than 20 priests, brothers and other members of the Catholic community charged with or convicted of sexually abusing boys.

In July, Archbishop Alphonsus Penney submitted his resignation after a church-sponsored report said he was partly to blame for allowing the abuse to continue.

A special papal envoy was sent to consider Penney’s case in October but there has been no word on whether the Pope will replace him as the spiritual head of the St. John’s diocese.

9 Responses to Rooney: Stephen

  1. John Chafe says:

    Rooney, is he dead?

    I’m 50 now and about once a year I get thinking about that beast.

    • Sylvia says:

      I’m sorry John, I don’t know if he is dead. Can anyone out there help us?

      • 1 abandoned sheep says:

        I do not know if it is the same one, but, there is a Fr. L Rooney in Gatineau, and sometimes in Fr J King s parish in ottawa

        • Sylvia says:

          He’s referring to a former Christian Brother, Stephen Rooney. This Rooney had duties at Mount Cahsel in St. John’s Newfoundland in the late 70s. He later married, had a child and lived in New Denver, British Columbia. In 1989 he was charged with sex abuse of two eight-year-old boys at Mount Cashel orphanage. He was convicted in 1991, at age 38 – sentenced to six years on six convictions. He and his wife separated after the charges were laid.

      • John says:

        Sylvia, I believe I found where he is now living and works. His picture is on a company’s website where he is a safety instructor.

  2. John Chafe says:

    Yes, that’s right he was my home room teacher at St. Pat’s boys school in St. John’s in 1076.
    That beast is still in my head after all these years

  3. John Chafe says:

    No Sylvia,
    He couldn’t get me or most of my friends because we had families to go home to in the afternoon. He knocked me unconscious while I was talking to a friend. He came from behind said nothing. To this day I remember the loud bang as by head hit the wall and the translucent lights I saw before I hit the floor. I remember coming to in my desk with my head tilted back as if I was getting in washed. It hurt to move my head my whole body was numb. He was sitting at his desk watching from afar – I remember that! My classmates must have been informed to read in their own desk’s. I can still remember some of their faces from that day. Some were looking over their books towards me others were looking to their side at me. Their mouths were moving but I couldn’t hear anything….. The first thing I could make out was “don’t let the bro see you cry” and I didn’t. Nothing- NOTHING – was ever mentioned again about this,

    You see at that time the brothers could do no wrong -/- this was true. To mention this to my parents, aunts or uncles was risking getting in big big trouble. Again because anyone or anything that repented the Catholic curch in Newfoundland let alone the Irish Christian Brothers were perfect. So with that fear I kept silent, what 11 year old boy wanted his parents mad at him because of confrontation with any of the brothers.

    Rooney never got a chance to molest me – I was fondel and had to touch others. However Rooney didn’t get that opportunity. One thing he did get that was his pleasure – he would usher us to the change room after gym class WHERE WE ALL HAD TO HAVE a shower. Everyone of us hated those showers – we tried every story to try and get out of having to shower. We would tell Rooney we were cold and going home our out for lunch – we ran away sometimes before the showers. I can even sometimes we would try to skip gym class. Showers??? 20 to 30 young boys having to take them and that is when another brother or two would show up stand within a few feet and rape us with their eyes. We all knew it and felt it but again who do you tell , we were terrified.

  4. John says:

    I still would like to know if he’s still alive and where he’s living.

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