Yahoo!7 News (Australia)
Updated August 30, 2013, 5:15 pm
By Patrick Caruana, AAP
For more than a decade, Catholic priest, teacher and vice principal David Edwin Rapson raped and sexually abused a number of Victorian schoolchildren.
Decades after committing the abuse, 60-year-old Rapson has been found guilty of indecently assaulting eight boys.
Rapson, who was defrocked by Pope John Paul II after his first sexual abuse conviction, abused the boys during his time at Salesian College’s Lysterfield and Rupertswood campuses between the 1970s and 1990.
He denied the allegations but a jury on Friday found him guilty of all five charges of rape and eight counts of indecent assault.
During his nine-day trial in the Victorian County Court, prosecutor David Cordy said Rapson had abused the boys, sometimes with witnesses around, and thought he could not be held accountable.
“You can imagine just the relative power … between the parties,” Mr Cordy told the jury.
“If anyone said anything, it was just going to be swept under the carpet – that’s the way it was back then.”
Rapson was a junior priest at Lysterfield in the 1970s, before becoming a teacher and vice principal at Rupertswood.
His barrister Shaun Ginsbourg had told the trial that Rapson gave some children cigarettes and alcohol but denied all of the abuse allegations.
Mr Ginsbourg said the time since the incidents made it difficult to test the evidence against him.
“The lapse of time should make you more careful in accepting that these allegations are true,” he told the jury.
However, Mr Cordy said it often took a long time for sexual abuse victims to tell their stories.
“The mills of God grind slow,” he said.
Rapson was jailed for two years in 1992 after being convicted of the sexual abuse of a boy at Rupertswood.
He was removed from the priesthood in 2004 after the Australian head of the Salesians travelled to the Vatican to personally ask Pope John Paul II to defrock him.
Rapson showed no emotion as his verdict was read to the court.
He will face a pre-sentence hearing on October 9.
Former priest David Rapson convicted of sex abuse of eight boys
Former Catholic priest David Rapson has been found guilty of sexually abusing eight boys at Salesian College between the mid 1970s and 1990.
After a nine-day trial in the County Court, the jury of 12 on Friday morning found Rapson guilty of eight counts of indecent assault and five counts of rape.
He raped one of his victims on four separate occasions in 1990.
Rapson showed no emotion as the foreman said the former priest was guilty of all the charges against him after more than two days of deliberations.
Rapson had been in teaching positions at Salesian College’s Rupertswood and Lysterfield campuses, where the offences took place.
His victims are men, now aged between their late 30s to early 50s.
During the trial the jury was told how Rapson would lure boys into his office with the offer of playing computer games, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes before they were abused.
One victim related how he passed out and fell asleep after being given a soft drink and woke while being raped, while another recalled being given acrid-tasting Milo in the school infirmary before he was abused while in bed.
The jury heard one boy was touched on the penis by Rapson as the teenager stood in a line of boys dressed in singlets and underwear.
The school had failed to act against Rapson despite knowing of allegations, jurors heard.
The jury was told one victim was grabbed on the testicles by Rapson in the priest’s office, but when the boy reported the incident to his parents and they confronted the school, they were told it would be in the school’s “best interests” if the boy did not return.
Rapson’s lawyer, Shaun Ginsbourg, had said that his client denied all the allegations, and said there were inconsistencies in the victims’ evidence.
It can now be revealed that Rapson was jailed for two years in 1992 for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy at the school in 1987.
He was later defrocked by Pope John Paul II at the request of the head of the Salesian order.
Rapson was remanded in custody to appear before Judge Liz Gaynor for a pre-sentence hearing in October.
Former Catholic priest found guilty of child sexual abuse dating back 30 years
ABC Australia (abc.net.au)
30 August 2013
By court reporter Sarah Farnsworth
A jury has convicted former Salesian College vice-principal David Rapson over the rape and abuse of eight students.
Rapson, 60, was member of the Salesians of Don Bosco religious order, which operated the Salesian College “Rupertswood”, a boarding school in Sunbury, north-west of Melbourne.
He pleaded not guilty to eight charges of indecent assault and five counts of rape relating to the abuse of eight students, who were between 12 and 17 years of age, between the mid-1970s and 1990.
The court heard he would use computer games, soft drinks, alcohol and cigarettes to lure the young boys into his office, where he would sexually abuse them.
The jury was told on one occasion, a 12-year-old boy was given a glass of lemonade that made him feel sleepy.
When he regained consciousness he had been raped.
In another case, a 16-year-old boy was given three-quarters of a bottle of scotch before he was indecently assaulted by Rapson.
One of the former students alleged he was raped by Rapson on four separate occasions in 1990.
Defence lawyer, Shaun Ginsbourg, said while Rapson had crossed the line by plying the children with cigarettes and alcohol, it did not make him a sex abuser.
The jury verdicts were unanimous on all charges, despite the defence arguing the charges were too old to prove.
Witness statements tendered in a previous court hearing revealed Rapson blamed God for his crimes.
One complainant recalled a number of boys being drugged with hot drinks and then assaulted in the infirmary in the 1970s.
He told police when another priest interrupted and told Rapson to restrain himself, he replied: “God made us this way and it’s his fault.”
It is not the first time the former priest has been convicted of child sex abuse under similar circumstances.
In 1992, he was sentenced to two years’ jail after pleading guilty to abusing a 15-year-old boy at the Sunbury College in 1987.
The boy was a boarder in a dormitory that was supervised by Rapson and was offered alcohol and cigarettes before he was assaulted.
At the time of the 1992 court case, Rapson was still a member of the religious order.
It is understood he was stripped of his priesthood in 2004, 12 years after he was jailed as a convicted child molester.