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Canberra Marist College on Lateline!

By 22 October 2008 161

[First filed: October 20, 2008 @ 23:05]

Not good news for them.

Video to follow

Video now available, transcript to follow.

Now here’s a question for whichever local politicians are not transfixed by fear of pederasts…

Will they allow a school with a history of proven child sexual abuse, and no known body responsible for its continuing behaviour, to continue to take children into its care next year?

Or is this an injustice that can be tolerated as long as it mollifies the Catholic vote?

Once more for the slow of uptake.

It is a proven fact that children in the care of this school have been sexually abused. There is no entity taking responsibility for this abuse. More children are being put into this school’s care next year. This is, apparently, an acceptable state of affairs for our elected leaders.

UPDATED: For those who can’t do video the transcript is now online.

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161 Responses to Canberra Marist College on Lateline!
#1
Granny11:49 pm, 20 Oct 08

I’m getting a message that the video is no longer available, JB.

#2
johnboy11:51 pm, 20 Oct 08

Still processing… patience grasshopper.

#3
johnboy11:52 pm, 20 Oct 08

up now.

#4
Holden Caulfield12:01 am, 21 Oct 08

Yikes! Thanks for posting that johnboy, hard to speak so definitively without having all the facts at hand, but this addition to this whole sorry saga appears to make an already disgraceful situation even worse, if that were possible.

Thoughts to all those affected who must be really struggling with this. :(

#5
Granny12:02 am, 21 Oct 08

Thank you, Master, but it’s been 45 years and I still can’t snatch that darn pebble ….

*chuckle*

#6
ant12:13 am, 21 Oct 08

I wandered in to Lateline half way through this, and was very pleased to see the ABC fighting the good fight of real investigative journalism, finding things taht weren’t meant to be found and asking some very hard questions.

This really has to be resolved, and soon. It can’t go on. As a mean and tricky way of evading responsibility it has to be either allowed to stand (with all that means for the school, see the OP) or it needs to be kicked into the weeds.

#7
Aubergine12:13 am, 21 Oct 08

Unbelievable. I was astounded to hear their defence that they owed no duty of care to the students. This is the hallmark of an organisation – the Catholic Church and its many offshoots – that has utterly failed to deal with its rotten core. Time and time again they strive to cover things up and denigrate the victims, taking responsibility in only the most limited ways and specific, undeniable examples of criminal activity. Then it’s back on with the silly clothes and the multi-billion dollar business and property portfolio to manage. Now the Marist Brothers Trust insults its victims by pretending it never ran the school. It fails to say who does – probably because it’s busy setting up a shell company in the Netherlands to take the fall for them. I can only imagine how sickened the victims must feel. Time to withdraw all government funding for these hypocrites.

#8
Granny12:25 am, 21 Oct 08

Enough is enough. This is ridiculous. I can’t stand sexual predators, but even less those who defend and protect them.

It is time for churches everywhere to begin to practice what they preach if they want any respect from anybody. I can be as cowardly as the next person, but there comes a time when you have to say I did this and I was wrong – no matter what the consequences or the shame.

Somebody must be running the school! I have never heard anything so disgraceful. Trying to weasel out of responsibility for crimes perpetrated against children in their care. Shame on you, Marist! Shame!

The pain in that man’s voice was so haunting, especially when he spoke of the blood in his underwear. No child should live through that horror.

I actually seriously think we should all be down there protesting and agitating for change. Or at least set up a page where people can email the new legislative assembly.

If we don’t protect our kids, who will?

Certainly not the school ….

#9
ant1:02 am, 21 Oct 08

I was stunned to hear two mothers, some months back, discussing which school to send their boys to, Marist or St Eddies. The first of these articles had been appearing on Riotact, plus the news reportage, and I was startled. Eventually, I muttered something about this business, and both women quickly brushed it aside as all in the past and all gone now.

Well, I don’t get it. I really don’t. Plainly there’s an attitude out there that I just do not understand. I don’t like children very much, but this is too much. It’s just plain cruelty, and yet apparently they think it can be swept under the carpet, and from the mothers’ attitudes, maybe they’re on to something. What the hell is going on?

#10
minime22:11 am, 21 Oct 08

Blame the school … ? when the PARENTS keep burying their heads and in the sand and keep sending their children into these dens of iniqity (don’t get to say THAT very often)year after year; court case after court case.
“No child should go throught that horror…” you are so right Granny; and add the horror that they KNOW their parents) sent them there; they will KNOW that the parents) knew; they will have to deal with that betrayal as well… being sacrificed to their parent’s egos, religious fears and guilt. They will know in the end that the blame is on their very own loving, caring, God-fearing, church-loving, truth-denying parents. The ones that took them to the gates of hell called a Catholic School and offered them up to men of the cloth who saw them as their own to-do-with-as-they-wished; butt-fodder given over to them by mum and dad. Yeah, go ahead and blame the school.

#11
Wide Boy Jake4:27 am, 21 Oct 08

Is it any wonder people refer to the Catholic church as The Church of Pedophilia.

#12
Tempestas6:59 am, 21 Oct 08

Defund them now and revoke the lease.

#13
realityskin7:37 am, 21 Oct 08

its f*cking disgusting

#14
jessieduck8:04 am, 21 Oct 08

That’s a disgrace and against so many Christian values I don’t know where to begin.

Horrible things happened at that school and their duty of care was not upheld. It is so obvious and slimy that they are trying to get out of paying their dues.

PS- mimime2- shutup. Plenty of bad things go on in state schools as well.

#15
Granny8:09 am, 21 Oct 08

I agree, Jessieduck.

Of the two paedophiles who have preyed on my children over the years, one was a ‘Christian’ but not Catholic friend of my father, and the other was a mentally ill ex-partner of mine.

Pogroms are not cool.

#16
Ozhair8:44 am, 21 Oct 08

To hell with ‘em (literally). Shut the place down.

If they want to say that there is no legal entity running the place, then they can take the consequences of that.

Once again, and alledgedly Christian organisation proves that it is anything but :-P

#17
Granny8:50 am, 21 Oct 08

They can’t have it both ways. The whole thing makes me sick.

#18
tylersmayhem9:00 am, 21 Oct 08

From my perceptive, I think that the likelihood of any further abuse occurring at Marist is quite unlikely, so future students will be safe. My big question is the principal of parents sending their kids to a school that is refusing to take responsibility for abused children under their care.

This whole thing stinks, and while I would have once considered sending my kids there in the future, I now refuse to even think about it.

As the public, I think we should be doing more. In the good ole’ days when communities were more active, people would turn up to the school by the hundreds and hold a demonstration until the problem received the appropriate attention by the government. I have never been to a protest, but I would come and support and partake in a demonstration against Marist. By us citizens of Canberra sitting idly by and only talking about how much this sucks, we are allowing the disregard for what has happened, continue.

#19
captainwhorebags9:10 am, 21 Oct 08

Such a pity that a school with a long standing good reputation in this city has chosen a path that will bring shame upon its staff and students.

The school had an excellent name (until recently) of providing a very good education and most Canberrans would have known someone who went there. In my experience the teachers by and large were dedicated, caring and talented individuals. The opportunities provided to steudents were many and varied.

I was glad to see the allegations all come out in the public eye and I hoped that the school would deal with them in a responsible, caring way that ensured the victims received what they were entitled to and guaranteed the safety of current and future students.

To see the management of the school abandon their Christian ethos so easily is sickening. I think the best course isn’t to shut the school down, it’s to establish who is in charge, appoint someone if necessary, and make good on the offer of reconciliation. That way the victims can move on with their lives and the staff and students can continue in the process of education.

#20
Granny9:17 am, 21 Oct 08

I agree, Tyler.

Sitting around talking about it does very little, although we do sometimes see the power of the Riot in action. Nevertheless, a hundred good men and women who care enough could make a real difference for these people.

They shouldn’t have to fight alone. They’ve been fighting all their lives. It really is time that we took a stand as a community and went shoulder to shoulder in solidarity.

#21
fnaah9:56 am, 21 Oct 08

As a former student (but fortunately, not a former victim), this continues to sadden, outrage and terrify me.

I was lucky to only have received a good education, however I would happily protest the continued government funding of Marist College.

Kick the Catholics out, keep the teachers and non-religious administrators by oeffering them jobs at their current pay level, and run it as an ACT public school. Sieze the momentous trust funds and use them to finance the salaries. (I know that none of this will happen, and it probably doesn’t even add up financially, but it’s a nice pipe dream).

#22
johnboy10:17 am, 21 Oct 08

The main reason I’d suggest draconian action against the school is it might force whomever’s running the place to fight it.

And then we’d know.

#23
politikos10:33 am, 21 Oct 08

I don’t understand why so many of the people in positions of power don’t speak out firmly about things like this. Don’t they understand that you can’t forgive someone if you haven’t admitted they’ve done something wrong in the first place? Justice has to be done! I find the defensiveness really sickening. If they’d just condemn the crimes, root out the problem, and ensure it never happens again the issue would go away. But the way they wriggle and squirm is simply sickening. Someone needs to get to the bottom of this.

#24
johnboy10:36 am, 21 Oct 08

Also for those saying “it can’t happen now” I would like to point out that the same things were being said at every time that Kostka and Lyons were committing their atrocities.

With the school dodging responsibility for past crimes are you sure they’ve really cleaned up their act?

#25
Skidbladnir10:44 am, 21 Oct 08

Management’s planning horizon will probably be “until the next board election”.
Insurer’s view will probably be “Any outcome that costs more than the total of the defense team’s bill and advice will affect shareholder value”
Legal’s view will probably be “any form of compromise which results in less than total success is unacceptable, my perceived value in future defenses will be diminished”.

Ideally it would be “what is best for the long-term viability of the school, is actually the best action to take today”, “whatever works, we will just increase their premium anyway”, and “If there has been a wrong perpetrated here, justice should be served” respectively, but we’re not in a perfect world.

As a former student, I’d be more willing to send my swarm of children to a place that admitted there were dark times once, which were learned from, dealt with appropriately, and raised their accountability and child protection standards as a consequence.
They are, afterall, in the business of learning and teaching by example.

#26
Granny11:17 am, 21 Oct 08

johnboy said :

Also for those saying “it can’t happen now” I would like to point out that the same things were being said at every time that Kostka and Lyons were committing their atrocities.

With the school dodging responsibility for past crimes are you sure they’ve really cleaned up their act?

I totally agree with Johnboy on this. These people are masters at manipulating children into silence, or discrediting them if they do speak out. How do we know it’s not happening if they will not take responsibility for legally proven instances of the past. The only reason these victims can speak out is that they’re now adults. The children are still powerless. Damn straight we want some assurances that things have changed.

#27
Skidbladnir11:25 am, 21 Oct 08

I sent an email to Mike Desmond a while back about how Mr Sidorko was originally doing a fair job of juggling four chainsaws with only two hands (need to run a trusted school everyday, need to show duty-of-care, need to keep the Order happy, and the need to stay within the boundaries defined by his legal team) and how while nobody would openly help him, it was going to be spectacular once he dropped the first one…

Now lets see how Sidorko dodges the remaining three.

#28
ACT Light Rail11:55 am, 21 Oct 08

as in everything – follow the money.

#29
Clown Killer12:22 pm, 21 Oct 08

The bit I don’t understand is how the school is still running. Who the hell looks at the available schools that they could send their kids to and chooses one where the possibility of your children being sexually abused is part of the curriculum!

#30
radonezh12:32 pm, 21 Oct 08

fnaah said :

Kick the Catholics out, keep the teachers and non-religious administrators by oeffering them jobs at their current pay level, and run it as an ACT public school. Sieze the momentous trust funds and use them to finance the salaries. (I know that none of this will happen, and it probably doesn’t even add up financially, but it’s a nice pipe dream).

I am outraged at how easily abusers are able to burrow their way into otherwise worthy institutions. I went to a State public school in another state, and I can say categorically that sexual abuse was there also, as well as racism and bullying (from teachers). It needs to be remembered that there are abusers in many households, from all walks of life. That’s the insidious thing about child abusers is that they can hide anywhere. They are not any more the product of religion than any other any other sort of education system or institution – they are the product of evil pure and simple, and being the parasites that they are, they are happy to inhabit whatever host will hide and feed their activities. Besides the tragic effect on their victims, they also create a situation where their host (in this case Catholic Education) is thrown into disrepute.

I am not a Catholic, but I strongly support the rights of the Catholic Church (or any other Church) to establish and run institutions on a religious basis. This is one of the fundamental freedoms of our society. Without the the institutions that the Catholic Church established, such as schools and hospitals, our society would be a lot poorer (and one of my children would not be alive today). The solution is not to

Putting aside emotion, the destruction of the Catholic Education system or the Catholic Church would not be a desirable outcome for Australian society since it would not address the issue to any degree and would create more problems than it would solve. Rather, the desired outcome is that hosts (schools) are permanently made immune from these parasitic life forms (child abusers).

Really, what needs to happen is that schools everywhere in Australia, whether they be religious or not, need to be subjected to a properly formulated and targeted program the includes such things as:

a) Regular random audits including interviews of children by trained child psychologists aimed at uncovering abuse
b) Provision of systems and resources to assist schools, students and parents in combating the problem
c) Psychometric screening of people in positions of power in institutions where children are taught (this must be applied retrospectively, not just to new employees/volunteers in the institutions)

Finally, we all need to understand that the overwhelming MAJORITY of people in positions of power, whether they be clergy, teachers, principals, parents etc, are NOT abusers. The abusers would not be able to hide easily of they were the majority. We need to support those who are good and earnest in their work. We need to empower them so that they can identify and combat abuse. We need them to get better at doing their jobs – and that means we need to support them.

I’ll climb off my soapbox now.

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