“Paedophile Robert Best still a Christian Brother” & related articles

Share Button

PETER LLOYD: Australia’s most senior Christian Brother has condemned the crimes of his colleagues in the Victorian city of Ballarat.

The child sex abuse royal commission has heard evidence of the brutal sexual and physical abuse of children by Christian Brothers in the city in the ’60s and ’70s.

But Brother Peter Clinch told the commission there has been no attempt to remove one of the worst offenders, jailed paedophile Robert Best, from the congregation.

Samantha Donovan reports from Ballarat.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Christian Brothers Robert Best, Edward Dowlan and Stephen Farrell have all been convicted of sexually abusing children in the Ballarat area.

The commission heard today Robert Best remains a member of the congregation even though he’s serving a 14 year jail sentence for his crimes against 11 boys.

Senior counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness asked Australia’s most senior Christian Brother Peter Clinch why that’s the case.

PETER CLINCH: Because he hasn’t gone through the exclaustration or dispensation and he has not requested that and as far I’m aware, at this early stage of my leadership, the congregation hasn’t taken any initiative in that area either.

GAIL FURNESS: Why not?

PETER CLINCH: I cannot answer that directly but I know that in our chapter, any brother now is become, offends from now on will no longer remain a member of the congregation. Prior to that, that means prior to 2013, there is no legislation in our constitutions for that to happen.

GAIL FURNESS: Have you gone to Rome about Best?

PETER CLINCH: No I have not.

GAIL FURNESS: Why not?

PETER CLINCH: The matter has not come to my attention yet because he’s still in prison and it hasn’t come to my attention to take it further at this stage.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Brother Peter Clinch leads the Christian Brothers in the Oceania region.

He confirmed at the commission today, the congregation has paid more than $1.5 million dollars in legal fees for Robert Best. It also paid Edward Dowlan’s legal bill of $77,000 and $23,000 for Stephen Farrell.

Brother Peter Clinch told commissioner Peter McClellan he believes the Christian Brothers are able to fund compensation and ongoing help for abuse victims.

PETER CLINCH: It’s my understanding that we would have assets at this stage for ongoing – yes.

PETER MCCLELLAN: We’ve heard in diocesan arrangements of the problem of assets being tied up in trusts and not accessible. Is that the position with the brotherhood? How are the assets held?

PETER CLINCH: The information I have that, that money is being available and we have downloaded I know some monies recently to meet the settlement payments that are going at a rapid pace in Perth this year. I know that some property has been sold, yes.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Late last year the Truth, Justice and Healing Council which is coordinating the church’s response to the royal commission outraged many in the Catholic hierarchy worldwide by acknowledging a possible link between the vow of celibacy and the abuse of children.

The commission chairman Peter McClellan asked Brother Clinch if he believes there is a link.

PETER CLINCH: But I don’t believe it’s solely that. It could exacerbate it if a person is not suited to the celibate way of life and I think it comes to me back is the ability to have mature adult relationships. So those brothers that I know that have offended, often they have shown signs of immaturity with adults.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Commissioner McClellan asked Peter Clinch why some Christian Brothers treated children so brutally.

PETER MCCLELLAN: The evidence that we have received, it’s not uncommon to find that the abuse of the child is both sexual and physical. Very considerable violence is visited upon children. Can you tell us why it happened?

PETER CLINCH: As a recent conversation that I had with a very elderly brother in Brisbane, an 88-year-old and he had a very good insight. He said, “We lost our way and we came to see reputation of our schools and institutions as number one rather than the service of children,” and that physical violence, corporal punishment as we softly called it, but it was violence, became a nearly common practice. Some, as I only heard during this week, were just beyond any realm of punishment. It was just brutality.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Commissioner Andrew Murray suggested to Peter Clinch that the Christian Brothers who abused children had not only lost their way but were unsuited to a Christian mission.

PETER CLINCH: I can say there is a pathology, they were very sick men and I’d say the environment in which they were living exacerbated that sickness along.

ANDREW MURRAY: Would you describe them as un-Christian?

PETER CLINCH: Certainly their actions are totally un-Christian and abhorrent to me and abhorrent to the gospel.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The Catholic Church has this afternoon confirmed that no church parties will seek to question the survivor witnesses about their evidence at this week’s Ballarat hearings.

PM understands that means the two witnesses who accused Cardinal George Pell this week of bribery and knowing about abuse in Ballarat will not be cross examined.

Cardinal Pell has indicated he is happy to provide a statement to the commission. The hearings continue in Ballarat on Monday.

PETER LLOYD: Samantha Donovan reporting.

_________________________________________

Paedophile still a Christian Brother, royal commission told

Herald Sun  )Melbourne Australia)

Brother Robert Best is serving a minimum 11-year jail term for the sexual abuse of young

Brother Robert Best is serving a minimum 11-year jail term for the sexual abuse of young boys.

ONE of Victoria’s worst paedophiles remains a Christian Brother, with no plans to expel him from the order, a royal commission has heard.

Brother Robert Best is serving a minimum 11-year jail term for the sexual abuse of young boys over two decades at three Victorian schools.

Among them was a nine-year-old disabled boy who was raped by Best.

Despite the shocking history of offending, current Christian Brothers provincial Brother Peter Clinch said Best remained a member of the order.

Br Clinch told the hearing there were no plans to rid Best from the order and said he remained free to call himself a brother.

But he said he would be uncomfortable with him doing so now, or on his release from prison.

Br Clinch told the hearing, sitting in Ballarat, the order paid more than $1.5 million in legal fees for Best, who contested most of the charges against him and later appealed his convictions in a bid to have them overturned.

His evil history of abuse related to 11 boys he taught at St Alipius Primary School in Ballarat, St Leo’s College in Box Hill, and St Joseph’s College in Geelong between 1969 and 1988.

The former school principal was found guilty at trial of 21 charges and later pleaded guilty to a further six.

Best unsuccessfully appealed seven convictions for indecently assaulting a schoolboy between 1971 and 74 while principal at St Alipius Primary School.

It comes as pressure is increasing on Cardinal George Pell to face the Royal Commission with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten calling for him to return to Australia.

“I am shocked by the stories of the victims and survivors of decades of institutional abuse,” he said this morning.

“I was raised Catholic — I am ashamed when I hear the reports on the radio of what survivors have had to put up with.

“I do believe that George Pell should cooperate and help the Royal Commission deal with these problems which have been going on for far too long, and if that means that he should come home to Australia to help the Royal Commission, Cardinal Pell should do that.”

The hearing has adjourned for the week and will resume on Monday.

____________________________________

Pedophile Best still a Christian Brother

The Australian

A cross

The Christian Brothers have not removed convicted pedophile Robert Charles Best from the order. Source: AAP

THE Christian Brothers have still not made any move to expel convicted pedophile Robert Best from the Catholic order, four years after his latest conviction.

BEST has not asked from his jail cell to be removed from the Brotherhood and no-one in the order has taken any initiative to kick him out, the child sex abuse royal commission has heard.

Christian Brothers Oceania Province leader Brother Peter Clinch, who has been in the role since July, said he has not raised the issue of Best’s dispensation process with Rome.

“The matter has not come to my attention yet because he’s still in prison and it hasn’t come to my attention to take it further at this stage,” he told the commission on Friday.

He said Best will be in his 80s when he gets out of jail.

“So what do we do with an elderly man in his 80s? So some would say, leave him where he is,” Br Clinch said.

“Well I’m not sure how I would respond, is probably my best answer at this stage.”

Best does not call himself Brother in jail, though Br Clinch said he would be very uncomfortable if he did so once he was released.

“I am of the conviction that anybody that committed the crimes that he has done, how could he ever live a life of a Christian Brother?”

He said he had been advised that the dispensation process was very long and complicated.

The only Christian Brother he knew of to be dispensed of his vows is pedophile Edward Dowlan, who has changed his name to Ted Bales.

He said Dowlan had thought about returning to the congregation but that was not permitted.

Best, Dowlan and Brother Stephen Farrell have all been convicted of abusing students at St Alipius Primary School in Ballarat East in the 1970s. The Christian Brothers admit another teacher, Brother Gerald Fitzgerald, who died in 1987, was also a pedophile.

Farrell had not taken his final vows and voluntarily left the Brothers. The royal commission also heard the Christian Brothers spent $1.53 million on legal fees for Best, the principal at St Alipius.

Best was sentenced in 2011 to 14 years and nine months’ jail for abusing 11 boys over a 20-year period at three schools, including St Alipius. It included the rape of a nine-year-old disabled boy.

Br Clinch said the Christian Brothers’ Professional Standards Office has been inundated with abuse claims, particularly from Perth.

“That’s our struggle, finding that money and we just haven’t got it in cash so we are trying to realise that now.”

Br Clinch said young people are no longer interested in becoming a Christian Brother, as they don’t see it as an option for them as a way of life.

The Christian Brothers have not had a novice stay with the order in Australia and New Zealand for more than 25 years, although the Oceania Province does have some novices in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

Br Clinch said the average age of Christian Brothers in Australia is 75. “Our way of life is coming to an end,” he said.

_______________________________________

Paedophile Best still a Christian Brother

Sky News   Australia

Published: 4:11 pm, Friday, 22 May 2015

The Christian Brothers still have not expelled convicted paedophile Robert Best from the Catholic order.

The Christian Brothers have still not made any move to expel convicted paedophile Robert Best from the Catholic order, four years after his latest conviction.

Best has not asked from his jail cell to be removed from the Brotherhood and no-one in the order has taken any initiative to kick him out, the child sex abuse royal commission has heard.

Christian Brothers Oceania Province leader Brother Peter Clinch, who has been in the role since July, said he has not raised the issue of Best’s dispensation process with Rome.

‘The matter has not come to my attention yet because he’s still in prison and it hasn’t come to my attention to take it further at this stage,’ he told the commission on Friday.

He said Best will be in his 80s when he gets out of jail.

‘So what do we do with an elderly man in his 80s? So some would say, leave him where he is,’ Br Clinch said.

‘Well I’m not sure how I would respond, is probably my best answer at this stage.’

Best does not call himself Brother in jail, though Br Clinch said he would be very uncomfortable if he did so once he was released.

‘I am of the conviction that anybody that committed the crimes that he has done, how could he ever live a life of a Christian Brother?’

He said he had been advised that the dispensation process was very long and complicated.

The only Christian Brother he knew of to be dispensed of his vows is paedophile Edward Dowlan, who has changed his name to Ted Bales.

He said Dowlan had thought about returning to the congregation but that was not permitted.

Best, Dowlan and Brother Stephen Farrell have all been convicted of abusing students at St Alipius Primary School in Ballarat East in the 1970s. The Christian Brothers admit

teacher, Brother Gerald Fitzgerald, who died in 1987, was also a paedophile.

Farrell had not taken his final vows and voluntarily left the Brothers.

The royal commission also heard the Christian Brothers spent $1.53 million on legal fees for Best, the principal at St Alipius.

Best was sentenced in 2011 to 14 years and nine months’ jail for abusing 11 boys over a 20-year period at three schools, including St Alipius.

It included the rape of a nine-year-old disabled boy.

Br Clinch said the Christian Brothers’ Professional Standards Office has been inundated with abuse claims, particularly from Perth.

‘That’s our struggle, finding that money and we just haven’t got it in cash so we are trying to realise that now.’

Br Clinch said young people are no longer interested in becoming a Christian Brother, as they don’t see it as an option for them as a way of life.

The Christian Brothers have not had a novice stay with the order in Australia and New Zealand for more than 25 years, although the Oceania Province does have some novices in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

Br Clinch said the average age of Christian Brothers in Australia is 75.

‘Our way of life is coming to an end,’ he said.

AAP

5 Responses to “Paedophile Robert Best still a Christian Brother” & related articles

  1. Sylvia says:

    Imagine, $1.5M+ in legal fees for ONE predatory Brother!!!

    And, yes, he’s now behind bars where he belongs, and, yes, sad to say, he’s still a Christian Brother.

    Brother Clinch claims that, well, by the time Br. Best gets out of jail he’s (Best) be in his 80s and what do you do with him, the inference being that better to leave well enough and poor Brother Best alone.

    That’s a red herring. There is nothing at all preventing Brother Clinch and whomever else wants to do so of looking after Robert Best after he is removed from the order and dispensed of his vows. Nothing. Robert Best can be removed, and the Christian Brothers can care for him.

  2. jg says:

    “Our way of life is coming to an end”…

    What does that mean?…that the abuse of children, the selfish treason of trusting people, the lust for money and power will finally come to an end?!…

    “We have lost our way”!
    No kidding, brother!… The lessons were meant to bring us into a more caring and Loving relationship with ALL other human being…instead the Divine message of Love unveiled by ALL the prophets was used for evil and it continues under various forms as we speak. It is left to the leaders of our “faiths” to restore some order, a renewed direction towards “good”… Otherwise we are embarked on a ship that will sink in the storm…

    Evil begets evil, good begets good…
    The Church, the Cardinals, the Archbishops…Francis, Pell…all are at a juncture which clearly calls for their surrender so that we can begin to heal our broken civilization…our broken Spirits.

    They can lead with edicts, with Canon Law, with multi-million dollar lawyer payments, with token care for their abused “flock”…or they can lead the best way they could:
    They can lead by example!

    Maybe that is the message we should hope for when the defense at the Royal Commission in Australia decides not to persecute(cross-examine) the victims further…no longer attempts to “break” them to win their case!
    Our sights need to be set much higher than our own courts!…
    The morality of it all has been passed on through the ages but every once in a while, the dumb monkey resurfaces out of nowhere…
    We should have come so much further than we have…
    Dare we hope we are at a beginning rather than at an end?
    jg

  3. Mennais should follow suit says:

    Pedophile brothers need removing from their orders. Think of what the Mennais are doing with Lawrence LAMBERT he self confessed sodomising an 11 year old and remains a brother. Should parents withdraw children from Mennais schools?

  4. jg says:

    I would not repeat that name under any circumstance.
    I would not consider that group of men as having any mission among other men.
    I would not let my child or any child spend one more moment in their shadow.
    They can call themselves what they will, I would only call them to account for their actions or lack thereof …
    They don’t exist if they chose to treat a child with such evil …
    jg

  5. Mike Mc says:

    What I wrote in another section on this site::(copied to here)

    Mike Mc says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    May 23, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Wow…I just took the time (an hr) to read Br Clinch’s Q&A interview by the Panel. Quite a lot to digest. The average age of the order is now 75. He sees their order becoming extinct.

    I bet when he joined in ’72 he never envisioned this. He is now Provincial and yet he says:

    Q. When was it that you first came to understand that
    11 there were an increasing number of complaints of child
    12 sexual abuse against members of your order?
    13 A. I’ve got the clear recollection, the date is a bit
    14 furry, but I’d say it was around the early 1990s, about
    15 1993, and I was in Melbourne at the time, and just seeing
    16 the notifications that became very, very public from
    17 pages of newspapers and it was just so obvious.
    18
    19 Q. So it didn’t come to your attention as a member of the
    20 order, it came to your attention through reading the media?
    21 A. That would be correct, or the starkness of it and the
    22 numeral, the number, yeah.

    Can you imagine???……it was the newspapers he says that broke the horrid news. I find it hard to believe the knowledge of these abusive Brothers was not known within the ranks. And when they did they certainly didn’t expel anyone immediately.

    He addressed no one going into the order these days because of changing times but it’s obvious no one wants to be connected with this order. It seems there are a few African novices but that’s obvious why that is happening.

    This Brother Clinch explains things that are rather unbelievable in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *