News National Christian Brother admitted abuse in 1950s

Christian Brother admitted abuse in 1950s

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A Christian Brother who sexually abused boys in his care in Western Australia admitted his conduct to the order in 1953 but was left to his own devices, an inquiry has heard.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is hearing testimony from the order’s former provincial leader in WA and SA, Brother Anthony Shanahan.

The commission heard a man known as Brother Parker came clean to his superiors about his struggle with the order’s “second vow” of celibacy in 1953.

A 1953 visitation report from Bindoon noted Br Parker as being “still beset by his own inner troubles about which he spoke with complete candour”.

“The second vow has long been of difficulty for him. No individual is involved … in his own interests his contact with the boys ought to be reduced.”

Council assisting Gail Furness asked Br Shanahan if it was likely Br Parker was left to his own devices to manage his conduct himself.

“Yes,” he said.

The commission has heard from 11 men abused at four WA Christian Brothers institutions between 1947 and 1968.

Br Parker was eventually moved from St Joseph’s Farm and Trade School, Bindoon, in the early 1960s to Tasmania after a boy complained of abuse.

The commission on Tuesday heard the order documented a series of complaints against 70 brothers of physical and sexual abuse across the country between 1919 and 1969.

It also heard a 1947 visitation report to Bindoon found it was “never fitted out as a school and was never intended to take boys who should really be under a woman’s care”.

At the time, child migrants from England and Malta were sent to schools in Tardun, Bindoon, Clontarf and Castledare – sometimes without the knowledge of their parents.

The hearings continue.