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Marist College abuse case now before the ACT Supreme Court

By Skidbladnir 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 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.

What’s Your opinion?

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29 Responses to
Marist College abuse case now before the ACT Supreme Court
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Zilog 5:51 am 25 May 09

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


Child sex tourism, anyone?

stonefish 7:54 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.

ned MC76-81 11:10 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?

martha 12:48 am 15 Mar 08




martha 12:46 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.

BerraBoy68 6:31 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

Absent Diane 9:45 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.

BerraBoy68 8:05 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.

proudmccoldboy 10:48 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.

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