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Marist College abuse case now before the ACT Supreme Court

By 25 February 2008 29

For those of you not playing along at home, we have previously had coverage on this ongoing story here, here, here, and the original story here.

According to this News.com.au article the lawsuit has been filed in the ACT Supreme Court against the Marist College trustees, in which is claimed the school “brushed aside or failed to act on complaints and warnings from students, parents and teachers alleging abuse starting in 1970 and continuing until 1993″.

This follows Brother John Kostka pleading guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court last Thursday to molesting four students between 1986 and 1987, when they were aged 13 and 14, and several charges needing to be dropped after a statute of limitations had expired.

The article raises the following points which have been alleged by Porter’s Lawyers:
1) This may be the largest case of its kind in Australian history.
2) There are allegedly five former teachers (both lay teachers and Marist brothers) involved, of which Broth Kostka was the last.
3) There are apparently ‘several dozen complainants’, not ‘several dozen complaints’.
4) There was allegedly an incident in New Zealand in the late 70′s which seems very very strange.
5) In the early 80′s there were some as yet unnamed lay teachers allegedly persuading parents to let them do things that seem very bizarre.
6) There is apparently no evidence suggesting the school reported these incidents to police after the school was made aware of them.

According to this ABC Online article, the School and its Trustees have until March to formulate and file their defence.

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29 Responses to Marist College abuse case now before the ACT Supreme Court
#1
BerraBoy681:00 am, 26 Feb 08

I eagerly await the finger-pointing that will start amongst the Marist stakeholders in all this. I can’t wait to see the evidence that comes up in court and who is cordially invited to attend by the legal beagled on both sides.

Best of all I wonder who they’ll get to play me in the mini-series! Hope its not Russel Crow. Maybe Glen Robins will be available.

#2
OpenYourMind27:43 am, 26 Feb 08

I have a friend who was a victim of what went on at Marist. The school has actively worked to cover up what went on. They are still acting in the same way.

The scariest thing is that there is suggestion that a number of teachers acted in collusion.

Shame on Marist.

#3
Holden Caulfield3:38 pm, 26 Feb 08

Apart from stating the bleeding obvious, this story is pretty bloody horrible. :(

Hearing of alleged acts of collusion and cover ups is almost as unforgivable as the deeds themselves.

#4
pptvb8:23 pm, 26 Feb 08

Broth Kostka was very involved in Schoolboy rugby.
NZ was probably a tour.
There will be more teachers named yet.This, sadly, runs much deeper.

#5
BerraBoy688:46 pm, 26 Feb 08

Sorry for being a regular poster on this topic but I knew Kostka, Lyons et la very well… as did many Old Boiz.

I want to know what the teachers who have been at Marist for the past 25 years have known. And yes in this I include the following: Mr’s O’Shea, Fairburn, Tan, Guy, Winchester, Johnson etc.. and Ms Robertson et al…

How can they have worked at Marist all this time yet not even heard a whisper of all this??? I cannot believe they did not even have a suspicion or heard rumors. Where was their duty of care???

Also, the lay teacher who advised boys on the NZ rugby tour to keep their doors locked and not let brothers in… Why did he not take his concern to the police when he came back to Aust? This also makes him culpable in my eyes.

#6
Skidbladnir9:30 am, 27 Feb 08

If you’re after someone who worked there for years and seemed to have total recall abilities even though he was as old as the hills…

He’d been teaching with Marist since before they were in Canberra (came with the institution from Sydney, and was a Marist Canberra teacher before there were buildings iirc).

Mr Barry Cronan, assuming he’s still alive.

#7
Duke11:19 am, 27 Feb 08

For sure, Skid. Barry Cronan made it his business to know everybody’s business.

#8
Skidbladnir11:46 am, 27 Feb 08

Barry Cronin, rather.

#9
Skidbladnir11:46 am, 27 Feb 08

By the way, once again the CT is late delivering news.
http://canberra.yourguide.com.au/articles/1190148.html?src=topstories

#10
sisterofstudents6:55 pm, 28 Feb 08

My family has been involved with Marist from the beginning. My brothers are OK – I hope. What an unspeakable betrayal of the trust of our parents this is. Like many families, we went without certain things to be able to afford a Catholic education. Some of these men were welcomed in our home, work colleagues of our mother, and trusted implicitly by our parents. We are all drawn into this ugly web because of the deeds of seriously needy men who behaved without care or concern for the young people in their care. Unfortunately, this will take a long and painful unravelling – hopefully no stone is left unturned in the search for these pedophiles.

#11
BerraBoy687:13 pm, 28 Feb 08

sisterofstudents – If your brothers were there in the 80′s I probably knew them. The fact is that by the Order, Headmasters etc. covering up the problem, every single boy that was at Marist in the 70′s 80′s and 90′s was a potential victim. It was a lottery whether we were sexually abused or not. The only factors in being chosen was the personal taste of the individual peopdophile, they’re risk assessment of each intended victim and the opportunity each had to indulge themselves in our childhood.

I’ve said it before – I was very lucky. I was on Lyons shopping list but somehow got off it. I have so many answers I want answered I’m taking this matter further.

If I was a staff member of Marist over this period I’d want this sorted out ASAP. Until it is they are all suspect in my mind.

I’m also considering starting a lobby/support group for Old Boys and their families. Would your family be interested in such a group?

#12
Carlito10:39 pm, 28 Feb 08

This totally sickens me to the core and i would be more then willing to join an sort of lobby. The issue is this isnt just a marist problem and just as there is ads and commercials on rape there should be on pedophilea.

#13
Zilog2:12 pm, 01 Mar 08

I know Barry well; we had a memorable run-in he’d remember. My rservation is I suspect he’s a lapsed marist seminarian, as a few were. I have details for Shane Hilton (socialised with Lyons), Jan Lieber, Sheelagh Egan, John Bulters, Barry, etc, and intend to meet with them. Kostka’s behaviour was commonly known among the wider marist community by the mid-80′s. Even among families who hadn’t had a boy there for some years. Go figure. Keep you posted…

#14
twist111:36 pm, 04 Mar 08

I was at Marist at the time this was happening in the 80′s. Older students that I knew warned me to stay away from certains teachers and Brothers. Thank God I was never molested. I still feel that the other teachers could have done more, they must have known it more that a rumor.
I probably know some of the people whow are victims, and hope they can stand strong and put these people to justice.

#15
martha3:39 am, 05 Mar 08

WELL, WELL, WELL…… THE TIME HAS COME FOR THE ”brother kosta” TO PAY HIS DUES . AS THEY SAY EVERY ‘DOG’ HAS HIS DAY. I HAVE ONLY RECENTLY DISCOVERED THAT MY BROTHER WAS SEXUALLY MOLESTED, HUMILIATED, WHIPPED ON HIS BACKSIDE WITH THE CANE AND… WITH HIS SCHOOL TROUSERS PULLED DOWN BY brother kosta. HE HAD ALSO HAD HIS HAIR PULLED SO HARD THAT MY MOTHER REMEMBERS SEEING BLOOD IN HIS SCALP. AS A CHILD, I USE TO WONDER WHY MY BROTHER CAME HOME WITH BRUISES ON HIS BODY AND WHY HE HAD DETENTION QUITE OFTEN IN THE AFTERNOON’S WHEN SCHOOL HAD CLOSED… SO TODAY, I NOW HAVE THE ANSWERS AS TO WHY MY BROTHER HAS HAD A FEW ”ISSUES IN HIS LIFE AND I CAN HONESTLY AND TRUTHFULLY BIELEVE THAT THIS UTMOST DISGUSTING TREATMENT HE ENDURED IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SOME OF HIS ACTIONS-INDEFINATELY !
I TRY TO IMAGINE HOW HE MUST HAVE FELT AT THE TIME THIS HAPPENED TO HIM AND THE HURT, ANGER, HELPLESSNESS HE WOULD HAVE CONSTANTLY RE-LIVED EVERY DAY OF HIS LIFE… RIGHT UP UNTIL THIS PRESENT DAY, I CANNOT IMAGINE.
… TO END, I AM GOING TO DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO SEE THAT THIS ‘PIG OF A MAN brother kosta’ gets what he deserves for molesting MY BROTHER ,…… BURN…. IN ….HELL…. BROTHER KOSTA …….. .

#16
martha3:41 am, 05 Mar 08

……….BURN ………IN ………HELL KOSTA !!!!!!

#17
Mr Evil10:14 am, 05 Mar 08

Don’t hold back, Martha! :)

#18
Thumper10:16 am, 05 Mar 08

Indeed, tell us what you really think….

#19
Thumper10:20 am, 05 Mar 08

Maintain the rage people but don’t let it blind you in your ultimate goal of achieving justice.

#20
wishuwell11:26 am, 05 Mar 08

Hi Thumper I agree maintain the rage but in my case (I was at Darra for a while) I have made a decision that no child of my mine will ever be subjected to that type of “education”. My personal protest. Having said that maybe some thought should be given to withdrawring Govt. funding to institutions that have seemingly condoned this type of behaviour over many many years, maybe a sinbin situation until they can prove they have their house in order and made good to all the damaged goods they have produced over the decades. But for me that will still never be enough.

#21
proudmccoldboy10:48 pm, 05 Mar 08

I understand that many many people are hurt and enraged by the betrayal of trust that this has all constituted. Many parents sent their kids to Marist under the impression that their kids will receive an excellent education and eventually graduate as well-rounded young men with excellent Christian morals. And indeed I know of many instances where this was the case. But I’m sure there were indeed many who were subjected to torturous things: I hope they’re all represented in this case but also that all of their claims are legit.

I am a proud Marist graduate, albeit of a different generation and was thankfully not exposed to any similar situations or an environment where such was in any way imaginable. I am a happy, confident and talented person and I belief I owe a lot of this to my time at Marist.

What I want people to understand is that the people who are now going to suffer and pay as a result of this lawsuit are not the deviants who misbehaved, nor the administrators who enabled these dreadful things. The great current teachers and brothers of Marist College who’ve inherited these issues deserve help and support from the wider community as they too try to resolve these issues with the best interests of the poor victims at heart. I for one hope this is solved soon, before any more current students are verbally or physically attacked and hospitalised.

#22
BerraBoy688:05 am, 06 Mar 08

proudmccoldboy – those responsible for any beatings of current students must include the the teachers and hierarchy of Marist that allowed these events to happen in the past -not to excuse the A***holes who engage in such beatings, of course. BTW: I know there are still teachers at marist who were there when Kostka et. al. were doing there thing in the 80′s. I don’t trust any of them.

BTW: I once went to the Headmaster (Marist 1984)seeking advice on how to treat a another student – 3 years junior to me – who was making a pest of himself on the bus on the way home. The advice according to this wonderful Christian Gent was to “smack him in the head a few times – he sounds like he needs it”. I did, and still feel the shame of it now. What wonderful caring advice I received in conflict resolution by a very senior Marist Brother.

#23
Absent Diane9:45 am, 06 Mar 08

Christian morals are corrupt. If you need a god to make you moral then you are morally corrupt to begin with.

@Martha – understand your emotional attachment to it – but getting emotional like that won’t help you or your brother. Maintain inner calm, be rational and practical – and the fucker will go down.

#24
BerraBoy686:31 pm, 06 Mar 08

So anybody else want to come and cheer loudly when he gets sentenced?

I’ll be the one telling him loudly that he’s wasted 50 yrs in Gods service when he’ll be spending eternity with Beelzebub.(I would have said Satan but wanted to lighten the mood just a little). I am serious about going to court though… Anybody interested please respond in this forum

#25
martha12:46 am, 15 Mar 08

… Thankyou ”Absent Diane” but I really had to let off some ‘steam…………. If u only knew how much this has effected my brother over the years. My parents went thru so much since the day I can remember trying to help him & im still just so shocked ! As I said before we have the answers now ! it took too long. Also, thankfully my brother is still Alive.

#26
martha12:48 am, 15 Mar 08

BERRA BOY…. YES !

I DEFINATELY WANT TO COME CHEER VERY LOUDLY !!

AND YES, I AM SERIOUS….. PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHEN, WHERE ETC…..

#27
ned MC76-8111:10 am, 11 Apr 08

I knew kostka and spratt when I was there. Couple of questions to clear things up for me.
This teacher Lyons was he a science teacher at Marist in the 70′s?
Was there a male teacher possible surname Barber or Barbra at Marist in the 70′s early 80′s?
Any ideas on who these other suspected lay teachers are?

#28
stonefish7:54 pm, 16 Jun 08

I went to a Marist Secondary College in Sydney in the mid to late 60s. One of our feeder schools was in Hunters Hill, and I remember hearing of Kostka although he never taught where I was. “Tosca” was a popular sweet then, hence his name stuck in my mind. I also remember his name because most of the brothers at our place had everyday names like Brother Michael and Brother John. All I remember hearing was that he was head of the primary there, and was a good art teacher.

There was a group of practising homosexual students the year below me who were careless enough to allow a graphic note to be found. Every boy in the form was interrogated about the group’s identities by one or more of the brothers. So far as I know, everyone who did know kept silent, although when I heard about the investigation and started making my own enquiries, I had no trouble finding out who they were. I was just a curious 15 year old who wanted to know who the poofters were so I could avoid them. The latest business makes me wonder why the brothers wanted to know. I know that some would now say they wanted to groom them, and others may say they wanted to try and help them. I used to think the latter. Now I wonder!

I’ve seen a lot of names on the many postings about the Marist Brothers on this site, and have also looked at Broken Rites and MAKO. None of them ever taught at my school while I was there. However one brother we had definitely was gay, and I saw him in Sydney city on a street corner years later in civvies approaching adult men. As for whether he liked little boys and/or did anything to any of my fellow students I don’t know. He appeared to be targeting men well above school age that night!

A lay teacher taught there for a few months before not turning up for work suddenly. He was replaced soon after, and many of us asked where he was because he had some exam papers for marking which we never got back. No one ever got an answer, although I heard many years later through my work that he is serving a very long sentence for child sex offences. It appears that the explanation for his sudden disappearance was that he’d either tried something with one of us or the brothers got wind of his inclinations and/or past deeds and moved him on fast. Sound typical?

I am a criminal defence lawyer and know Kostka’s lawyer although I haven’t discussed the case with him, and won’t be. For my part, however, I think Kostka will serve some time – 75 years old or not! He would if he was before a Sydney Court for those offences in my view. We’ll all find out soon. But Greg will do his best to prevent it. That’s his job.

As for a group of Canberra ex-students going along to the sentence, that happens from time to time in Sydney. Please remember that a result which pleases you may not necessarily give you closure, and a result which does not will hit much harder with Kostka there hearing it too. Whatever happens will be a matter of public record shortly anyway.

#29
Zilog5:51 am, 25 May 09

Can anyone guess what the real purpose of the Marist mission in the Solomon Islands is?

Hmmmmmmmmmm?

Child sex tourism, anyone?

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