Marist College a den of paedophilia?

johnboy 11 July 2009 64

The Canberra Times has been crunching the numbers on all the sex abuse cases coming out of Canberra’s Marist College and are now speculating as to whether it represents a “paedophile ring”.

    Canberra Times investigation has found that five known child molesters, four of whom were convicted of child sex offences after leaving the school, taught at the school between 1976 and 1992.

    A further seven former staff members are the subject of civil allegations of child sex abuse.

And just for the record, the convicted teachers are: Kostka Chute, Gregory Sutton, Gregory Carter, and Peter Spratt.

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64 Responses to Marist College a den of paedophilia?
Chicka Chicka 8:28 am 09 Oct 09

I have discovered this thread late but have to comment (although normally I wouldn’t). I attended Marist Pearce from 1977 until 1983. From the youngest age the students were aware of the sexual abuse that happened there but were too ashamed or traumatised to mention it to anyone else. The fact that the children understood the problem all too well and the abuse continued for such a long time before the tragic suicides of a number of abused former pupils brought the whole squalid institution into the harsh light of judicial scrutiny, is testament to the strength of the taboo surrounding this subject.

If the children well understood the nature of the abuse, the men who lived side by side with the men who perpetrated the abuse and the lay teachers who worked so closely alongside them absolutely did. To the extent that, in the best case scenario, they closed their eyes to it, they are as culpable as if they had have directly participated. I know that the number of people prosecuted for crimes against children at marist Pearce in no way reflects the number of persons who participated in the abuse.

In many ways one of the most disturbing aspects of this is the willingness of apologists for paedophilia to defend the institution by claiming that it was a “small minority” or one or two bad eggs. Fact is everyone who worked or was educated there knew of the abuse and chose to ignore it. For the record, the school was atrocious. Very low educational standards dished out by the mentally challenged. Often the teachers at marist had no formal educational qualifications. At the very best students received a poor education, at the very worst – well we know the very worst. To read people on this site saying that they would send their children to this disgusting institution after all that has happened and as the institution is trying to screw its victims out of just compensation by arguing that they owed their underage charges no duty of care beggars belief. That it happened at all is bad enough. That current management would treat the victims in this manner is outrageous and disgusting. The people who apologise for these people in this and other fora should take a good look at themselves.

Benji1966 Benji1966 1:03 pm 14 Sep 09

Okay, so this is my last rant here at Riot act. I went to St. Edmund’s from 1978 to 1980. There were words spoken about teachers who were queer and letting it all hang out at the Kambah swimming area next to the river, a teacher who flashed a student, and a ped. But I never encountered anything. You have to remember, that catholics are the BAD guys. We never did the right thing. We were using porn at around 13 years old. It was the late Seventies, before aids and the religious right movement of the 80’s. Porn was sold on the schoolground. So if some old fellar got a bit horny around hot young bods, then that’s just the way it was. And so it is in the past… They WERE better days!
Antichrist benji

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 10:41 am 09 Aug 09

Anna Key said :

From the article

There have been police investigations and prosecutions, and we remain determined to leave no stone unturned to reach out and assist any current or former student who has been adversely affected

Unless if course it goes to court then we will deny liability and hush it up as quickly as possible. May the Lord be with you (and may the courts be with us)

The criminal investigation at Marist to date only looked at Kostka and there a whole bunch of questions left unanswered. For example, the school promised a full investigation when the article first appeared in the paper some 18 months ago. A few related questions now are: Where are the findings of this investigation? What was the process? Who was questioned and by whom? Was it an independent inquiry? and more importantly, Was this inquiry ever launched? All this, though, is secondary to asking why the church is allowed to run internal investigations at all, after all they’ve done such a stirling job in the past. Make no mistake, no detailed investigation has been made into Marist having several pedophiles working at the school at the same time. Spending a few weeks sporadically asking those with a vested interest in keeping this situation quite if they knew about over a coffee isn’t an investigation!

There are also a few old ‘n bold police in the ACT that were around in the 70’s though 90’s who say they knew of claims of sexual abuse of students at the school way back then but they could do nothing as no formal complaint had been made. Luckily for kids these days things have changes somewhat. Not so lucky, though, for the victims of Marist and Dara and the other ACT catholic schools in the past (we have had ex-students come to us from other catholic schools is the ACT claiming abuse at the hands of priests and Brother).

The really sad part is that the catholic church had a great chance here to wipe the slate clean in the ACT once and for all, and this is slowly but surely slipping away from them. All they had to do is let the matter go to court, face the consequences and move on. They talk about protecting current and future students from ridicule and teasing etc. from other kids but how can they argue this when their own action prevent these wounds being healed publically. Without this transparency there won’t ever be closure and the schools future and current student will, unfortunately, continue to be at risk.

The key question is what are the Marists and the Catholic Church so afraid of that they fight so hard to avoid the courts? If they were as clean as they claim to be you’d think they’d welcome the chance to be found as such in court. Their problem is that if it goes to court, their financial liability to the victims will likely be significantly higher than if they can make the victims feel desperate enough for closure and settle the matter out of court, either through Jason Parkinson or the very dubious and incredibly one sided ‘Towards Healing’ process.

Make no mistake about where we are in this process, though. Victims being paid out behind closed doors and without the schools/Orders accepting responsibility makes no difference to the fight for justice for the victims. There are still victims out there too damages to seek help and we can keep this going for years, if we need to to help these guys. Also,the issue of ex-student suicides is also shortly to be addressed as we believe these guys also deserve recognition for their pain and suffering. I have been advised that on average, for every victim of sexual abuse that comes forward there are at least 5 that remain silent. Do the math and you can feel confident we’re only at the top of a very nasty and very scary ice-burg here in the ACT.

Anna Key Anna Key 11:23 pm 08 Aug 09

From the article

There have been police investigations and prosecutions, and we remain determined to leave no stone unturned to reach out and assist any current or former student who has been adversely affected

Unless if course it goes to court then we will deny liability and hush it up as quickly as possible. May the Lord be with you (and may the courts be with us)

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 6:00 pm 08 Aug 09

Catholic Voice article for anyone who wants to know what Berraboy has mentioned\quoted.

Berraboy68: The answer to your PS is ‘both, technically’.

housebound housebound 5:40 pm 08 Aug 09

Sorry to double post – the magazine is intended for parents. the schools are just the distribution channel.

housebound housebound 5:39 pm 08 Aug 09

On a slightly related note: Catholic Voice is handed out to catholic school children of ALL ages – even the littlies. Our culture should focus on teaching children how to protect themselves (without too much detail so as to avoid secondary trauma), rather than publishing (presumably denialist) information like this on the cover of material distributed in schools.

Note – haven’t read the article, but trusting the bb86 on this one.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 1:14 pm 08 Aug 09

Stonefish – the ‘accepting of responsibility as you put it is part of the problem, particularly as out of Court settlements are a way of making the problem go away cheaper than they would if the case went to court. In fact given the current Statute of Limitation that stops the case going to court, some victims feel they have no option but to settle out of court, hence the process at this time.

In fact, as these cases are being settled out of court no-one can be, or is, actually being held responsible. Those that go through this process have to acknowledge legally that even though a sum has been paid to them it in no way makes Marist responsible for what happened. What it also means, however, is that the victims that have their cases settled must, in all effect, go away quietly and never talk of their settlement to anyone, ever.

We support whatever choices the victims make in moving forward, whether that be to settle out of court of keep trying to get the case to court. As long as they are satisfied we’re happy. However, there are also some victims that have been paid out who state they will continue fighting for the truth to come out. It’s hard for the Marist to stop that one!

On the first question – I am informed that some cases being settled were part of the Kostka court action others were not. However, cases continue to come forward, and it appears they will continue to do so for some time yet.

stonefish stonefish 12:49 pm 08 Aug 09

BerraBoy – getting back to post #49 – would the “out of court settlements” happen to be with all or some of the actual victims in respect of whom Chute pleaded guilty?
Although undoubtedly “terms not to be disclosed”, it would appear that the Marists are accepting responsibility for Chute’s activities to at least some extent.
Although I’ve addressed this specifically to BerraBoy, if there is anyone else who can shed light on this issue, please do!

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 9:07 pm 05 Aug 09

Anybody see the recent issue of ‘Catholic Voice’? Don’t worry, the question was rhetorical. This is RioACT so I know we’re going to hell in a handbasket.

There is a front page article in this paper stating that the Brothers are saying they’ve conducted a thorough investigation into the existance of a peadophile ring at the school in the 1970’s though 90’s. The victims support group ‘Time for Healing ACT’ has written a letter in response to this article but it was difficult as they only had 300 words in which to respond via a letter to the Ed. I reproduce it here as I doubt the Catholic Voice will print it:

“Having just read the article ‘Marist Denies College Ring of Abuse’ (August 2009) I feel it important to respond in my role as Founder and co-Spokesman of ‘Time For Healing ACT’, a support group established to support the victims of sexual abuse at Marist and Daramalan colleges.

Bro. Crowe’s comment that the Order conducted an investigation into this ‘paedophile ring‘ is curious and makes one wonder what type of ‘investigation’ can occur in just the three weeks that have passed since this claim first appeared in teh media. In reality, it seems this ‘investigation’ consisted of simply asking a few elderly Brothers, who may be implicated in later ‘cover-ups, whether they knew of this ‘peadophile ring’. As such the findings of this ‘in-house’ and superficial investigation must be treated with a ‘grain of salt’, particularly noting the ongoing attempts by some senior Marist Brothers to mislead victims and their supporters over exactly what the Order did, or did not, know about the abuse of students. The fact that several known paedophiles simultaneously worked at this school remains simply extraordinary.

Furthermore, despite claiming they are sorry for the abuses the Marist Order continues to instruct their lawyers to keep the victims claims out of Court. Their actions includes both issuing writs seeking to have the victims claims struck-out as ‘vexatious’ as well as their use of a bazaar defence claiming the Order has no idea who owned their school during the 1970’s – 90’s. As such, many victims and their supporters believe the real aim of the Brothers is hiding the facts of the abuse to help the Catholic Church protect its considerable bank balance.

We continue to urge the Brothers to stop hiding behind lawyers and allow this case to go to court where the facts can be heard and justice prevail. I believe Jesus would expect nothing else.

Fight the good fight!”

BTW: is the ‘Catholic Voice’ a real news paper or just a propoganda tool for the Church?

housebound housebound 9:38 pm 02 Aug 09

The court process is normal. Lawyers once told me that you don’t go to court for justice. I’m not sure what it is there for – other than perhaps a means to an end.

Good on you for standing your ground against an intransigent opponent. And please keep trying the RA ‘patience’ – it is the only way that some of this story will ever get onto the public record.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 7:14 pm 02 Aug 09

RayP said :

And where is the ACT Government in all this?

Do they have a role?

Should they have a role?

RayP – they do and they are. We;ve met with the Lib’s, Green and Labor have all been very supportive of the victims. It’s all I can say at the moment, but stay tuned!

RayP RayP 12:09 pm 02 Aug 09

And where is the ACT Government in all this?

Do they have a role?

Should they have a role?

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 11:59 am 02 Aug 09

Cheers Ant. I have to say (I should have done so earlier) Jason Parkinson and his team are doing a really great fantastic job helping the known victims. Of course, it would have been better had the ACT not had laws in place that stop the boys getting thier cases to court but we’ll get to the bottom of it all eventually. And I really would love to say more about what’s going on but can’t at this time.

Patience relly is a requisite characteristic when dealing with this stuff!

ant ant 11:38 am 02 Aug 09

I can’t speak for others, berraboy, but your information is a real eye-opener for me. To see how things are being done away from the news, to see how the law really works, to get a glimpse into the thinking of others. eg what you say about the order viewing it as “minor” gives a clue as to their thinking, it’s stuff we’d never comprehend independantly.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 10:37 am 02 Aug 09

Stonefish – the current state is that some cases are being settled out of court, while others languish in the twilight zone between court and settlement. However, since the article in the CT a few seeks ago more victims have come forward. There is still a long way to go, however, as there are still more victims known to the support/lobby group (i.e. Time For Healing ACT) who are too damaged to come forward yet. Also, there can be expected to be a large number of unknown victims who also are yet to come forward (I have been told that on average for every 1 case that come forward, 5 will not).

There is also a lot of work to do bringing the Marist order into the 21st century and some work is going on behind the scenes on this which I’ll have to report on at a later date. However, after a recent meeting with the Order I had to call a break in proceedings when a senior member of the Order tried to play down the abuse, stating that in the case of one boy his abuse was “minor stuff, nothing realy”. I know the boy in question and what kostka did to him was far from minor and typical of Kostka’s abuses, but we’re working on this and as I say – I can’t say too much at this point other than that also present at this meeting were the usual lies that other parents and victims have been told by the Order’s representatives when kostka’s actions first came to light.

There’s still a long way to go in all this and there are a lot of people that want answers and will demand these regardless of what else happens (i.e. there are too manmy unansered questions). Finally, we’re still working on being able to get the cases (current and future) into court where the Brothers will have to be answerable for their actions and failure to act when told of the abuses.

Finally, and interestingly, I’ve also been discussing how we get the issue of suicide of ex-students out into the light (and there have been many) and we’re about to start working on this. A lot of people, including some sources surprisingly close to the school (past and present) have approached us advising that the school won’t be able to move forward unless this issue is addressed once and for all.

There is still a lot more to say but I don’t want to bore the RA populace, noting their patience on this issue to date. If you want further info just ask here or, alternately, feel free to e-mail me at

stonefish stonefish 10:07 am 02 Aug 09

Hi guys – I haven’t called by for a while because I noticed how things here re anything Marist seemed to cool down after Kostka Chute was gaoled. I was wrong!!!

I don’t live in Canberra. I’m an ex-Marist student from Sydney.

How is the Porters-Marist case going? Can anyone tell me the current state of play? BerraBoy, Canberra Gardiner or Mick1965 perhaps? Mick ended up being one of the plaintiff group, didn’t he?

Granny Granny 2:59 pm 14 Jul 09

They should certainly take responsibility. They had a duty of care to those children and they failed abysmally. They ruined lives, some irrevocably. They did it. They knew about it. They allowed it. They perpetrated it.

And they’re still too immoral to stand up and face what they did wrong. Give me the Alan Bonds of the world any day who will do the time for the crime than the Christopher Skases who are beneath contempt.


Jim Jones Jim Jones 2:56 pm 14 Jul 09

appy polly logies

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 2:56 pm 14 Jul 09

In the absence of Johnboy:
Stay on topic.

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