Salesian priest Frank De Dood admits child sex crimes

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Rupertswood Mansion in Sunbury, where some of the abuse took place. Picture: Susan Windmiller

Rupertswood Mansion in Sunbury, where some of the abuse took place. Picture: Susan Windmiller

The Herald Sun  (Australia)

27 July 2017 4:29am

ANOTHER priest has admitted sex crimes against children at the ­notorious Salesian College in Rupertswood.

Frank De Dood on Thursday admitted abusing five boys, four of them at the Sunbury college while he taught there between 1978 and 1983.

Dozens of young pupils have emerged as victims of relentless abuse at the hands of the Salesian priests, who ran what has been dubbed a “school of horrors”.

At the County Court on Thursday, De Dood, 64, pleaded guilty to six indecent assault charges against the five, aged 11 to 16. He abused one of the boys at the Salesian campus at Chadstone.

The court heard how he abused boys at random, sometimes as punishment and sometimes to “teach them about love”.

For a brief period De Dood was responsible for monitoring the dormitory where the boys slept.

Salesian priest Frank De Dood outside court last year. Picture: Sarah Matray

He committed acts of abuse while in that role, telling one boy that no one would believe his complaints and he would be expelled if he told anyone.

On Thursday De Dood almost broke down in court, telling Judge Susan Cohen he suffered from depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

He sat with his head in his hands as details of his offences were read out.

Defence counsel Ashley Halphen conceded that a prison term was warranted, but urged the judge to consider imposing one of three years or less so that the ­option of a suspended sentence remained open.

At least five former staff at the Rupertswood college, including principals, have been jailed for child sex crimes.

A total of eight former teachers were accused of abuse. Salesian chiefs have admitted paying out thousands of dollars to victims.

Former students say a sickening club of paedophiles roamed its grand halls and manned its dormitories.

In 2011, former Salesian head Fr Frank Moloney told the Herald Sun that De Dood had not had contact with children for many years:

“He works as a farmhand and doing maintenance at our property in ­Lysterfield,” he said.

But he was also sometimes loaned out to parishes as a stand-in priest.

In 2004, the Australian chapter of the Salesians — the world’s second-largest Catholic order — was engulfed in scandal after it was alleged local superiors knowingly moved priests accused of sexual assault across state borders and even abroad to evade authorities.

One, Michael Aulsebrook, became principal of a college in South Australia.

Julian Fox, a former ­Rupertswood principal, ­became a Salesian rector in Fiji before being moved to Rome. Last year he was jailed for four years.

shannon.deery@news.com.au

1 Response to Salesian priest Frank De Dood admits child sex crimes

  1. Sylvia says:

    On Thursday De Dood almost broke down in court, telling Judge Susan Cohen he suffered from depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

    I hope and pray that there is a little bit of a guilty conscience at play here, and if that happens to be the case, that he is now prepared to spend the rest of his days on his knees praying without ceasing for the boys he so cruelly and selfishly molested.

    A question? How I wonder could he assist at local parishes (as “a stand-in”) without being around children?

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