Marist Brother sentenced to two years

By 23 June 2008 27

The ABC reports that John Kostka Chute has been sentenced to two years in jail, and a further twelve months of weekend detention, following his conviction on 19 acts of indecency.

Justice Gray noted that the sentence, which also includes a three-year good behaviour bond (presumably from the time of release), took into account Chute’s age, ill-health and remorse.

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27 Responses to
Marist Brother sentenced to two years
Cameron 3:49 pm
23 Jun 08

I’d be surprised if the victims consider 2 years (irrespective of his age, ill-health and apparent remorse) adequate penance for his crimes.

I sure don’t.

dalryk 4:17 pm
23 Jun 08

Like I said in another thread, old + remorse = less guilty.

So the lesson to be learned is; it doesn’t matter how horrific your crime is, just make sure that it gets covered up till you’re old, say you’re sorry, and enjoy your weekend detention.

And if you’re already old? well, that’s literally a licence to do whatever the f*ck you want, cause you’re old so it’s OK. This must be Robert Mugabe’s line of reasoning – I’m old so I can order the torture and death of anyone who gets in my way and no-one will hold me accountable.

BerraBoy68 4:59 pm
23 Jun 08

Nowhere near long enough as far as I’m concerned, especially noting it was 19 counts of indecency (not counting those omitted through the ACT’s ridiculous Statute of Limitations). So that’s just over a month prison on each count! There’s always the chance he’ll die inside so it becomes a life sentence.

The message this sends is if you can avoid detection long enough (or your employer is corrupt enough to hide your behavior), you’ll get off light.

Groundhog 5:27 pm
23 Jun 08

You might like to note the CT article that gives a little more on the sentencing, and for those who are following this case closely, you might like to actually read the judge’s sentencing remarks.

Personally, the light sentence is outrageous. Legal precedent and reasoning, however, might simply be something that I can’t comprehend. 18 counts each have a max imprisonment period of 10 years. 10 years each! The other count, 5 years. A total of 185 years possible imprisonment. Reduced to 6 years technically, and two and a bit practically. Roughly 1.3% practically of the max sentencing guidelines.


Feel free to play with the math to arrive at your own recommended sentencing. Here’s my attempt.

- 25% off for confession of guilt, remorse and having sought and followed a treatment program. Seems to be standard practice as far as the judge is concerned
- 25% off because they’re not the *worst* possible assaults in a physical sense
- 25% off because he’s old, sick, loosing his memory, likely to die soon anyway, and needs to be kept separately from other inmates (we could have a whole discussion about whether this should occur frankly – perhpas law of the inmate jungle should be allowed to work sometimes?)
- 10% off because he’s in such a state that he’s unlikely to be able to re-offend even if he wanted to
- 5% off because as judge for the first time I feel magnanimous and want to get a name as a compassionate fellow

TOTAL: 90% reduction in total possible max imprisonment. EQUALS 10% imprisonment, which roughly equates to 18.5 years. You can take the .5 as periodic detention if you’re still alive Koska.

What’s your verdict?

Feel free to break out the items I included, leave some out altogether or add some more…

hax 6:46 pm
23 Jun 08

So how long would he have spent in jail if he got caught closer to the time of the offences? Since then he’s been a free man, and now gets next to nothing because he’s old. Poor thing.
Just doesn’t sound right to me.

VicePope 7:33 pm
23 Jun 08

I read the sentencing decision on the ACT Supreme Court site. Went through the offences, expressed disgust and the carefully sentenced on each offence, with use of consecutive and concurrent sentences. That was difficult – with mostly similar behaviour in relation to several victims.

The judge looks like he started towards the top of the range and then took into account, as he would have had to, the offender’s age, poor health, remorse, loss of reputation, attempts to rectify his condition and the notoriously hard time he would have in prison. As I read it, I thought it was heading to something non-custodial (and even I would have thought that a bit soft), but it wound up as two years full time and one year periodic detention. Some would probably have preferred more, but it seemed reasonable as an outside observer.

Hax’s point is fair – if he had been charged twenty years ago, he would have been younger and most probably healthier and that might have pushed the sentence out.

ant 8:18 pm
23 Jun 08

I suspect that older people like this get less custodial time because the gaol time is going to be tougher on them. It’s entirely likely that he’ll be knocked around a bit too, as prisoners (and the prison staff) hate pedophiles and child abusers. Then he gets the periodic detention thing, a constant reminder that society is calling him to account, and then (according to the ABC report) he has several years on probation/bond, another reminder.

This man’s going to have a very uncomfortable, fairly miserable old age. In the end, nothing really can make up for all the lives he ruined, but I think they can draw some satisfaction from the next 6 or so years this man’s going to live through. Plus, he did plead guilty, sparing the men from having to be cross-examined in court. And Marist has apologised publicly to the men and taken responsibility.

Not a perfect outcome, but not a bad one either.

utah 9:04 pm
23 Jun 08

took into account Chute’s age, ill-health and remorse.
Remorse expressed prior to being caught and charged, I assume.

OpenYourMind2 9:07 pm
23 Jun 08

So what about a sentence for all the Marist staff complicit in allowing this guy to stay employed for 18 years after it was first reported. What about a sentence for the clowns who argue that the school had ‘no duty of care’.

realityskin 9:51 pm
23 Jun 08

OpenYourMind2 said :

So what about a sentence for all the Marist staff complicit in allowing this guy to stay employed for 18 years after it was first reported. What about a sentence for the clowns who argue that the school had ‘no duty of care’.

That comes next in the form of monetary compensation..

Canberra Gardener 10:26 pm
23 Jun 08

The ACT Judiciary has a lot to answer for…..this is a bullshit sentence and an insult to the victims involved.

Karma will catch up with Kostka…….and Marist College’s ex employees, principle’s and silent co conspirators….it always does.

VicePope 10:42 pm
23 Jun 08

The victims can probably feel the accused has got off lightly, but would they have accepted any sentence short of the maximum possible? If the sentence was not within a proper range, DPP can consider an appeal. Otherwise, leave the miserable creature to live out what’s left of his life and, in doing so, set yourself at least a little bit free.

Greg 7:25 am
24 Jun 08

The judge “took into account Chute’s age, ill-health and remorse.”

Did Kotska take into account his victims age, naivity and fear? Yes he did, all to his own benefit.

One can only hope that these next two year feel as long for him as year 7 with him as form master and year 8 with Paul Lyons as form master felt to me. Then again, I doubt it will hurt as much as the life sentence the family of at least one student in my year are suffering who’s son committed suicide, apparently as a result of kotska’s abuse.

As an ex-student of the school, it surprises me that there has never been any contact from the school or the old boys association that I know of to offer former students assistance if they were victims. That this was allowed to go on for so long is something that the Marist order should have to pay for, if the civil claims against them hurt them financially all the better. What is most insulting is Marist trying to find a legal loophole to shirk their duty of care.

There was a time I was proud to say I was a Marist student, now all I can say is I am proud to have the friends I made there and that we turned out ok despite being students at the school. I would love to see a class action on behalf of our parents to recoup the very hard earned money they spent sending us there, 18 years of school fees in total for my brother and I, they thought they were doing the best for us and were lied to. They sacrificed a lot to send us there and to what end? To be fodder for these predators to pick and choose from.

Mick1965 11:09 am
24 Jun 08

I took this as a bit of a slap in the face too.

I heard the news from someone in the legal system, and when I told him I was disappointed, he said not to be (and it relly helps, coming from him). He explained this is just as much time as we could expect an angry judge to give, and it’s likely Kostka WILL die in prison. Does that really help? I don’t know…but it helps me a little.

How can Kostka be appropriately punished?

Maybe he really should be left with the parents of victims – even just make him try to explain himself to them. The legal system does not really seem to be the most effective system to deal with this maniac.

dalryk 12:10 pm
24 Jun 08

So, given his obvious remorse, I take it that he will be assisting all civil claims against the school? maybe helping investigators locate other abused students who have yet to come forward? maybe giving evidence against other people who were part of the cover-up?

Oh, I forgot, he’s old. And he has trouble remembering… poor dear.

Mick1965 12:29 pm
24 Jun 08

See that’s just spot on. The legal sysem is not effective here. Kostka REALLY should step forward now and give full confessions about all his victims. The school should fund a society for victims. etc, etc.


Canberra Gardener 12:53 pm
24 Jun 08

Update from ABC Online

More civil claims to be lodged against Marist Brothers

A class action against Marist Brothers and the Catholic Church will come to a head in Canberra this week when about 20 claims of sexual abuse are lodged in the ACT Supreme Court.
Three civil claims have been lodged in the ACT Supreme Court against the Trustees of the Marist Brothers and about 20 more are expected to be lodged by the end of the week.
The victims are seeking compensation for the abuse they suffered by John William Chute who taught at Marist College as well as the late Paul Lyons who taught at Marist and Daramalan colleges.
Chute – who taught under the religious name Brother Kostka – was yesterday sentenced to two years jail for molesting six of his male students at Marist College between 1985 and 1989.

Jason Parkinson, who represents about 32 victims, says they deserve compensation.
“They were children at the time, they’re now adults who have never been in gainful employment,” he said.
“Some of them don’t have a roof over their head.
“I’ve got one bloke who lives in a garage.
“Others have been able to fashion a life but some of them have never married.”

VicePope 12:56 pm
24 Jun 08

Bad things happen to good people. But not all the bad things happen because some other bad thing happened first. I worry that this might turn into a Royal Commission on how some people’s lives went bad and the extent to which these offences caused or contributed to it. It won’t help, I fear.

Groundhog 1:01 pm
24 Jun 08

VicePope – Not sure there will be anything like a Royal Commission – sounds like a highly unlikely over reaction to me.

dalryk – gotta say it would be interesting to prod the civil lawyers into requesting Kostka participate to show his remorse, help nail the Marist trustees and/or school by demonstrating when they were told of his activities – by others and himself.

Mick1965 – A full confession? That would be the holy grail he’s already said is impossible because of his memory. I also doubt he’d actually remember every instance and victim anyway – so prolific over such a long period of time. Always worth dreaming though!

Roadrage77 3:51 pm
24 Jun 08

A truly chute-house sentence. Cutting his balls off with a blunt steak knife would’ve been more fitting for that germ.

BerraBoy68 3:53 pm
24 Jun 08

Lets face it, Kostka pleaded guilty not to give anybody any closure, but to save himself and the Marist Order any further humiliation. Everything he has done to date has been self serving:
1. abused boys;
2. claims he himself was abused (an excuse becoming a chestnut for these Pr*cks) despite not providing names of those that abused him;
suddenly decided he needed counselling for a sexual disorder in 2002 (AFTER his mate Lyons tops himself for admitting to kiddy fiddling);
3. Claims he advised the order he needed help in the early 1990′s (now lets see if that gets a chance to play out in court).

I know that when Kostka told me in 2001 that his cassock “hid a whoile host of sins” he was smiling like a cheshire cat. Regretful my ar*e. He only regret’s Lyons admitted anything – after that he started to understand that his getting caught was only a matter of time so he started on his Defence.

Also check out the footage of kostka going into court after first being arrested to how he was yesterday. The first footage makes him look absolutely spriteley.

I am truly sorry to those that feel justice has been done, in my opinion it hasn’t. As for the Marist Order, they placed thousands of innocent kids at risk just to save face in the community. What holy men tell parents they can either go to the police or let the Order handle this internally??? WTF!!! It’s mandatory for teachers to report sexual abuse to the authorities, not hide it.

Wot me Angry? F**k yea!

boomacat 5:02 pm
24 Jun 08

There are also examples of first instance judges giving manifestly excessive sentences in the circumstances, which leads to a successful appeal by the prisoner, which causes untold heartache to the already aggrieved victims.

Most Judicial Officers will tell you that criminal sentencing is the most difficult thing they have to do, it’s like weighing a million contradictory factors and trying to reconcile them in some logical way.

Hopefully the civil action will prove a crushing experience for Marist Brothers and all who failed so terribly their duty of care to those vulnerable children.

VicePope 1:11 pm
25 Jun 08

Boomacat – dead right. I have raved in the past about the difficulty of sentencing. Suffice it to say, it’s not a mass participation sport. The object is not to make anyone happy, and the kind of happiness that might come from the infliction of excessive misery on another person is a pretty crummy kind of happiness.

The objects are to safeguard the community, recognise social abhorrence of the crime, but also to let everyone (victims and, eventually, convicted people) get on with life.

Groundhog 1:14 am
26 Jun 08

VicePope – I agree with your comments #23), but suspect we might have a different – an equally valid and debatable idea – of what “recognise social abhorrence of the crime” should equate to in terms of years in jail. I also wonder if you’re not forgetting the aspect of deterrence to others? Its been a big theme in the comments on this story, and certainly deserves IMO to weigh heavily into the sentencing. I don’t think it counted at all to the judge in this case.

stonefish 6:21 pm
29 Jun 08

As I’ve said elsewhere,I’m a criminal defence lawyer from Sydney, and Old Boy of a Marist Secondary College here.

I’ve read Justice Gray’s sentencing remarks a number of times, and am of the view that His Honour considered all relevant aspects (including especially the offences themselves), and has sentenced fairly.

I don’t for one second condone what Chute did, but if your DPP disgrees with what I have just said, there will be an appeal on the inadequacy of the sentence lodged shortly.

Boomacat and VicePope are IMHO correct.

Zilog 5:24 am
16 Sep 08

Hard time in prison? Are you nuts?


He’s off to spend a few months with his like-minded buddies and a few bent pigs. Probably catch up with a few fellow brothers. What a tough old time it will be…

Zilog 5:50 am
16 Sep 08


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