Photo: Nic Kocher


UPDATE:  May 2014

Klep has been sentenced in the County Court to jail for 10-and-a-half years for sexually abusing 15 schoolboys.

He will be eligible for parole in six-and-a-half years.

Priest preyed on ill pupils

By Daniella Miletic, County Court Reporter
December 10, 2005

A CATHOLIC priest who taught at a Melbourne college in the 1970s preyed on 10 sick teenagers while they recovered in the school infirmary, a court has heard.

Frank Gerard Klep has pleaded guilty in the County Court to 13 charges of unlawful and indecent assault. He was a teacher at the Salesian order’s Rupertswood College in Sunbury when he sexually abused the boys, aged between 12 and 17.

Crown prosecutor Carolyn Burnside told yesterday’s plea hearing that Klep’s victims were boarders and that he assaulted them while they were in the infirmary. He was then in charge of students in the infirmary.

One victim, 15, said he was fondled by Klep and that Klep gave him oral sex, then told him he would get into trouble if he told anyone. Another boy, 16, was trying to sleep when he felt his pants being pulled down. Kelp then used a sponge to clean his penis. The court heard that one 12-year-old who was in the infirmary because he had measles, remembered Klep staring at his penis, telling him he was “looking for spots”.

Yesterday Klep’s defence counsel, Julie Sutherland, said he might be expelled from his religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, on sentencing. The order had already banned Klep from performing priest’s duties.

She said he felt ostracised and isolated from the order.

Klep had been convicted of indecent assault and sentenced to a nine-month intensive correction order in 1994. More complaints arose following media coverage of that case.

Ms Sutherland said Klep was first interviewed about the allegations in 1996. Two years later he was sent to Samoa, to work at a theological college.

He was charged in 1998, a month after going there. Klep was arrested on his return to Melbourne in June 2004.

Forensic psychologist Jeffrey Cummins said Klep was sexually immature when he joined the order at 18 and that the church offered an oppressive environment where sexuality was never discussed. “He and his colleagues have been incredibly sheltered from the outside world,” Mr Cummins said.

The hearing, before Judge Frances Hogan, was adjourned until next week. Klep’s bail was extended.

Priest faces 29 child sex charges

March 29, 2005 – 3:43PM

A Catholic priest facing 29 child sex charges dating back to the 1970s appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court today for the start of his committal hearing.

Frank Gerard Klep, 61, has been charged by Sexual Crimes Squad detectives with 28 counts of indecent assault and one of buggery.

The offences involve eight boys and were allegedly committed at Sunbury between 1973 and 1979.

Klep, a member of the Salesian order, was a teacher at the order’s Rupertswood College in Sunbury, on Melbourne’s north-west fringe, during the period and eventually rose to become principal.

He left Melbourne in April 1998 to become the senior financial officer at a Salesian theological college in Samoa.

A month later, Klep was charged with five counts of indecent assault involving a 15-year-old student at the college that dated back to 1973.

He has since been charged with a further 24 offences but was released on conditional bail.

In a statement today, the head of the Salesian order’s Australia-Pacific region, Father Ian Murdoch, said Klep remained a member of the order and was living in supervised salesian accommodation in Melbourne.

“As with anyone else while still a member of a religious order, and in keeping with the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing protocol, Klep’s legal fees are being paid for by the Salesians,” Father Murdoch said.

Klep’s term of service with the order runs out at the end of the year, he said.

Magistrate Rowan McIndoe closed the hearing to all members of the public and the media to protect the identities of witnesses in the case.

Prosecutors will present 10 witnesses in the hearing, including the eight alleged victims, the mother of an alleged victim and the police informant, Detective Senior Constable John Raglus of the Sexual Crimes Squad.

Defence counsel Andrew McKenna said media coverage of the case in June and July last year was substandard and urged Mr McIndoe to bar journalists from examining court documents including charge sheets relating to the case, following an application from journalists to view them.

“These reports were demonstrably false in a number of respects and were demonstrably prejudicial in a number of other respects,” Mr McKenna said.

Similar reports of the latest proceedings could cause “a considerable delay in the future (legal) process”, he said.

But Mr McIndoe allowed journalists access to the charge sheet, providing witnesses were not named, saying the public interest was served in the release of details of the charges only.

The hearing continues.


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