Posts Tagged ‘Pedophilia’

Craig Stanley and Rebecca Michels

Ten months’ jail for child sex offences

Mark Russell

July 4, 2012 – 4:30PM

A man who was on the run with his fiancee for 21 days after a child pornography raid on their Langwarrin home had been a nudist since he was 16, a court heard today.

Craig Stanley would attend nudist swimming nights for adults and children at Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre.

Children aged under 18 have since been barred from attending the fortnightly events.

Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today on child pornography charges.

Stanley, a former soldier and private detective, pleaded guilty to three charges of making, possessing and transmitting child pornography.

Michels pleaded guilty to making child pornography. This charge carries a maximum 10 years’ jail.

Magistrate Jack Vandersteen said the couple had exploited an innocent and vulnerable young girl by taking pornographic photographs of her.

He jailed Stanley for a minimum of 10 months and ordered he be placed on the serious sex offenders register for life. Stanley has been in custody for 229 days since his arrest.

Michels was placed on an 18-month community corrections order and will be on the serious sex offenders register for eight years.

Prosecutor Anne Hassan told the court Michels had moved from Darwin to live with Stanley in January last year.

The couple had been in a relationship when Michels was in her teens and got back together after Stanley contacted her again.

Police raided their home on October 27 last year after a tip-off from the FBI and found Stanley’s large collection of child pornography, including more than 17,000 photographs and 531 videos.

The collection included a total of 279 home-made pornographic photographs of a young girl taken over a two-year period from when she was aged from about seven to 10 years old.

Ten of the photos were of the young girl and Michels taken on August 27 last year during two photo sessions when they were both naked.

When later interviewed by police, the young girl said Stanley had given her gifts, including a pink hippopotamus.

Ms Hassan said Stanley had been “grooming” the young girl.

“She’s a deeply exploited child in my submission,” the prosecutor said.

She urged Mr Vandersteen not to accept a psychological report which claimed Stanley was not a paedophile and his risk of re-offending was low.

Stanley and Michels were on the run for 21 days after the police raid on their home before being arrested in Dimboola, near Horsham, on November 18.Defence lawyer Jim Dounias, for S

Tanley, told the court the young girl had been photographed naked after nights spent at the Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre night-time nudist swimming sessions.

Asked by Mr Vandersteen why Stanley crossed the line and start to take pornographic pictures of the young girl, Mr Dounias said it was unclear.

Mr Vandersteen said that at some point Stanley had gained the child’s trust to do what she did.

“This doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” he said.

Mr Dounias said the line was crossed in the setting of “a nudist environment” as the young girl would regularly go along to the nudist swimming sessions.

He said Stanley accepted full responsibility for what had happened and Michels was not to blame.

Fugitive couple plead guilty to child porn

Shannon Deery

From: Herald Sun

July 04, 2012 1:52PM

A FUGITIVE couple who spent 21 days on the run after police raided their home last year have pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.

Craig Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, were arrested in Dimboola in November after a three-week police hunt for the pair.

The couple fled after a police raid of their home sparked by a tip off from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

At the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today it was alleged more than 80,000 pornographic images were uncovered during the raids.

Of them more than 17,000 images and 531 videos depicting child pornography, including children as young as one-year-old, were found.

Prosecutor Anne Hassan told the court some images showed Michels posing naked and semi-naked with a 10-year-old girl.

The court heard Michels appeared naked alongside the girl in 10 images.

Ms Hassan said it was believed the girl was as young as seven when the first naked photos of her were taken in 2009.

It was alleged the girl’s father and stepmother were also naked in some of the 279 images that were taken over a two-year period and showed close-up shots of the girl’s genitals.

The court heard the couples were nudists who met at a public pool.

As a result of police inquiries the other couple are also facing charges.

Michels, who is on bail, pleaded guilty to one count of making child porn.

Her parents walked out of court as details of the charges were read out.

Stanley, who is in custody, pleaded guilty to three charges including making, possessing and transmitting child porn.

Other charges against the pair were dropped.

Ms Hassan said the young girl told police Stanley and Michels were her “aunty and uncle” and that her dad “doesn’t do anything to hurt me”.

She said the girl, who appeared “distressed” during a police interview, was a “deeply exploitive child”.

The court heard the girl was involved in a series of photo “sessions” with one allegedly lasting up to five hours.

Images depicting the girl were all deemed to be in a low category of child pornography, the court heard.

But some images downloaded by Stanley included sadism and bestiality, it was alleged.

Jim Dounias, for Stanley, said his client had been “immersed in pornography” since the age of 13.

“We don’t blame Ms Michels for anything, we take full responsibility for everything,” he said.

Mr Dounias said while more than 17,000 images of child pornography were allegedly found on Stanley’s computer, he had not viewed all the content.

But Magistrate Jack Vandersteen questioned why it had been downloaded at all.

“How do you download stuff and not look at it and not know what you’re doing?” he said.

Michels will be assessed for a community corrections order this afternoon.

The couple are expected to be sentenced later today.

Fugitive couple pleads guilty to various charges

ABC Updated July 4, 2012, 1:11 pm

A Melbourne court has heard a couple who evaded police for three weeks during a child pornography investigation, gave gifts to a young girl who posed in photos with them.

The Magistrates Court was told Rebecca Michels and Craig Stanley went on the run late last year before being arrested near Dimboola, in Victoria’s north west.

The two were in court today as prosecutors outlined the case against them.

The court heard 28 year old Stanley is a private detective, who was in possession of more than 17 thousand graphic images, including some with children as young as one.

Prosecutors also said the couple made their own child pornography, using a girl known to them, who was between 7 and 10 years of age.

The court heard Michels and Stanley gave the girl gifts when they returned from holidays to Darwin and Hollywood.

The couple has pleaded guilty to a range of offences,

Former fugitives Craig Stanley and Rebecca Michels to plead guilty to making child pornography

Norrie Ross

From: Herald Sun

May 18, 2012 12:51PM

A COUPLE who sparked a 21-day nationwide manhunt when they went on the run after a police raid have admitted they were involved in making child pornography, a court heard today.

Lawyers for Rebecca Michels, 25, and Craig Stanley, 28, of Frankston, indicated they will plead guilty to charges when their case is before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court again in July.

Michels, who was in court today, will plead guilty to one count of making child pornography and Stanley will plead guilty to charges of making, possessing and transmitting child pornography.

Magistrate Jack Vandersteen agreed to a request from defence lawyers that he grant summary jurisdiction in the case, meaning the couple will not have to face the County Court for plea and sentencing.

Mr Vandersteen continued Michels’ bail and he was told that Stanley may apply for bail in the next few weeks.

Michels and Stanley fled after police seized more than 40,000 images and about 400 videos of child pornography from their Frankston home.

They were eventually arrested in Dimboola, near Horsham, in November last year.

An earlier court hearing was told Michels loved Stanley but she pleaded with strangers to alert the police so they would be found.

Sen-Det Rosemary Ross told the earlier court appearance that Michels described Stanley as a “sex fiend”.

Computer files seized from the couple’s home revealed 76 images of a naked and semi-naked Ms Michels, who looks much younger than her years.

In a number of photos, she was posing with a 10-year-old girl.

“The accused is laughing and she appeared to be a willing participant,” the detective said.

After three weeks on the run Michels waited until Stanley left their bush camp site to obtain supplies before revealing to strangers that they were fugitives.

Mr Vandersteen adjourned the case until July 4.

Child-porn runaway accused in court

Mark Russell

April 26, 2012 – 12:22PM

A woman who allegedly went on the run with her fiance for 21 days after a child porn raid on their Langwarrin home travelled from Darwin to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today.

Prosecutor Marisa DiPietrantonio told the court more time was need to resolve discussions with lawyers for Rebecca Michels, 25.

Ms DiPietrantonio said the issues in contention were “quite defined”.

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Magistrate Felicity Broughton adjourned the matter for a committal case conference on May 18.

Bail for Ms Michels, who has been living with her family in Darwin, was continued.

Ms Michels’ fiance, Craig Stanley, 28, later appeared via video link and was remanded in custody to also appear on May 18.

The couple have been charged with making, possessing and transmitting child pornography, and committing indecent acts with a child under 16.

Ms Michels was granted bail at her court appearance in December when her father agreed to put up a $100,000 surety.

During this previous hearing, the court was told the couple had been on the run for 21 days after police raided their Langwarrin home.

Police had seized computer files which allegedly included 76 images of a naked and semi-naked Ms Michels and in several photographs she was posing with a 10-year-old girl.

Thousands of other child pornography images were allegedly found on computers taken from their home.

Ms Michels and Mr Stanley were arrested at a bush camp 400 kilometres north-west of Melbourne on November 18.

Run-away Frankston pair in court on child porn counts

Mark Russell

March 23, 2012 – 1:18PM

A woman who allegedly went on the run with her fiance for 21 days after a child porn raid on their Langwarrin home appeared in court today via videolink from Darwin where she is on bail.

Rebecca Michels, 25, appeared before Magistrate Duncan Reynolds, who was told the matter needed to be adjourned for ongoing plea negotiations.

Ms Michels, who told the court she had hired a lawyer from Sydney, agreed for her case to be put off until April 26.

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Her fiance, Craig Stanley, 28, also appeared via videolink where his defence lawyer Jim Dounias told the court there were a number of matters to be sorted out.

“There are some unusual aspects to this case,” Mr Dounias said.

Mr Stanley was also remanded to appear again on April 26.

The couple have been charged with making, possessing and transmitting child pornography, and committing indecent acts with a child under 16.

Ms Michels was granted bail at her last court appearance in December when her father agreed to put up a $100,000 surety and the prosecution submitted she was not expected to offend again on bail.

During this previous hearing, the court was told the couple had been on the run for 21 days after police had raided their Langwarrin home.

Police had seized computer files which allegedly revealed 76 images of a naked and semi-naked Ms Michels and in a number of photographs she was posing with a 10-year-old girl.

There were allegedly thousands of other child pornography images found on computers taken from their home.

Ms Michels and Mr Stanley were arrested at a bush camp 400 kilometres north-west of Melbourne on November 18.

City swim centre linked to child porn case


21 Dec, 2011 01:00 AM

MARIBYRNONG Council is threatening to permanantly shut down a regular, night-time nudist swimming session at a public pool, after a couple who attended were later found in possession of child pornography.

Langwarrin couple Craig Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, face charges relating to possessing child pornography, producing child porn and performing an indecent act with a child.

Court documents from Michels’ bail hearing revealed the couple appeared in dozens of photos posing semi-naked and naked with a 10-year-old girl.

The parents of the 10-year-old – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – also appear in the photos. Both couples are believed to have attended Solar West naturist club’s fortnightly swimming nights at Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre. A club spokesman, who declined to be named, confirmed Stanley had been a member of the club “years previously” and attended a swim night once in May this year.

One of the parents was also believed to have attended that night session. It was not known whether the child was also present.

After the allegations emerged, the council met with the club, the spokesman said.

Earlier this month, the council informed the club its night sessions were “suspended indefinitely” until the court case had been resolved, a club spokesman said.

Solar West naturist club had been running regular nudist swim nights every second Saturday at the Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre for over 20 years “without incident”, he said.

The spokesman said the club had no knowledge or involvement, and police had not contacted them.

He said Solar West had been unfairly implicated. “Like any social or sports club, we are not responsible for our members. What they do in their own time is nothing to do with us,” the spokesman said.

He maintained “nothing untoward or suspicious” took place in May. “There is nothing sexual about [the naturist] lifestyle,” he added.

It is not known whether the two couples met at the swim night or previously knew each other.

Court documents revealed the parents had “made admissions” relating to taking photographs with their daughter.

Michels and Stanley were arrested in Dimboola in November. They had gone missing after being linked to an FBI child porn investigation.

Police found the photos of the girl along with 40,000 images alleged to be child pornography when they seized computers and cameras in October.

The parents of the child are yet to be formally charged but were expected to be charged on summons.

Girl’s parents linked to porn case

Anna Whitelaw

December 11, 2011

POLICE have seized computers belonging to the parents of a 10-year-old girl who appeared nude in photos with Frankston couple Craig Stanley and Rebecca Michels.

The parents, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were questioned by police after they were found to appear in nude photographs with their daughter.

Stanley, 28, and Michels, 25, face charges relating to possessing child pornography and producing child pornography, as well as committing an indecent act with a child.

Police found the images of the girl when they confiscated computers and cameras from the Langwarrin couple’s home after an email address associated with the couple was linked to an FBI investigation into an online child porn ring.

Stanley and Michels went missing after police searched their home, and were arrested in Dimboola following a 21-day manhunt.

Court documents from Michels’ bail hearing revealed the 10-year-old’s parents had ”made admissions” to being involved in taking the photographs with their daughter.

Both couples appeared in the photographs naked with the girl. They are believed to have attended a regular nudist swimming night held at a Maribyrnong public swimming pool.

The parents of the girl have yet to be charged but are expected to be charged on summons.

Detective Leading Senior Constable Rosemary Ross, from Frankston police’s sex offences unit, said the parents were co-operating with police. ”[The girl’s parents] are the subject of an ongoing investigation,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Solar West naturist club confirmed Stanley and Michels had attended its nudist night in May, along with one of the 10-year-old’s parents.

Maribyrnong City Council had ”suspended indefinitely” the swim nights following the allegations, the spokesman said.

Michels and Stanley both face committal hearings on February 24. Michels has been released on $100,000 bail, while Mr Stanley has yet to apply for bail.

The girl has been taken into the care of the Department of Human Services.

Fugitive woman ‘posed naked with 10yo girl’

Yahoo!7 December 2, 2011, 3:20 pm

Detectives say the Victorian couple on the run from police last month were both naked in photos with a ten-year-old girl.

The woman allegedly involved, Rebecca Michels, 25, has now been granted bail until her child pornography charges are heard.

Ms Michels and her fiance Craig Stanley, 28, were on the run for three weeks last month after police raided their Langwarrin home.

The couple were arrested at a campsite near Dimboola in western Victoria after Ms Michels asked a fellow camper to tip off police as to her whereabouts.

The accused says she then left a trail so police could track them down, and she described Stanley as a sex fiend.

Today, police told the Magistrates’ Court they found tens of thousands of child pornography images on computers at the couple’s home.

Senior Detective Rosemary Ross told the court Ms Michels appears in 76 of them, and in a number of the photographs she was posing with a 10-year-old child.

Many also feature Stanley and the girl’s parents, who have been charged by police, the court heard.

The girl is now in the care of the Department of Human Services.

Ms Michels’ stepfather has put up $100,000 in surety and she was granted bail to live with her parents in Darwin.

Outside court, Ms Michels’ barrister, Ben Archibold, said: “They’ll be happy to take her back to the Northern Territory. She’ll be safe and well with them and she’ll return to fight the matter before the court.”

Detectives still have to go through another 40,000 photos found on computers seized from the couple’s home in a process likely to take months.

The images are so graphic and disturbing, police can only look at them for a couple of hours at a time.

The court also heard the Dimboola supermarket owner, who reported seeing Craig Stanley, had since received a threatening letter.

It read: ‘In the bikie world, give up snitches like you are dealt with a broken arm or leg, but in your case, we’ll just burn ya shop down.”

Rebecca Michels tipped off campers she was on the run, court told

By Norrie Ross

Herald Sun

December 02, 2011 2:23PM

A WOMAN who went on the run with her fiancé after a child porn raid on their Frankston home pleaded with people to alert the police so they would be found, a magistrate heard today.

Sen-Det Rosemary Ross told a bail hearing that seized computer files revealed 76 images of a naked and semi-naked Rebecca Michels, 25, and in a number of photographs she was posing with a 10-year-old girl.

Thousands of other child pornography images, some of the most extreme and upsetting kind, had been found on computers taken from their home.

Sen-Det Ross said that after 21 days on the run Ms Michels waited until co-accused and partner Craig Stanley, 28, left their camp site to obtain supplies before revealing to members of the public that they were fugitives.

Ms Michels said that if Mr Stanley found out police were on to them he would “do a runner or harm himself” and she said he would never be found because he was army trained.

Sen-Det Ross said that when police arrived at Dimboola she told them they lived on carp and baked beans and they planned to survive on $100 a week which would last them until 2012.

“She was aware police were looking for them both but they did not want to be found and wanted to spend as much time together until police found them both, because she loved him,” the detective told Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Dan Muling today grant bail to Ms Michels after hearing her father would put up a $100,000 surety and a prosecution submission they did not believe she would offend again while on bail.

Mr Muling ordered that Ms Michels live with her family in Darwin, she was ordered to forfeit her passport and he also said she could not contact her co-accused or access the internet except for work.

Ms Michels and Mr Stanley were arrested at a bush camp, 400km northwest of Melbourne on November 18

Mr Stanley was nabbed while shopping for groceries in a Dimboola supermarket.

They were charged with making, possessing and transmitting child pornography, and committing indecent acts with a child under 16.

Ms Michels, who is tiny and has a child-like stature, smiled and nodded from the prisoner’s dock to her father, Ross McAdie, who travelled to Melbourne for the bail hearing.

Sen-Det Ross said the FBI alerted Australian Federal Police that a number of child pornography images had been uploaded to a website from an email address in Australia that contained the word “lolitasforever”.

On October 27 police raided the Langwarrin home of Mr Stanley and Ms Michels and seized a number of computers and storage devices and two days later the couple went missing after telling friends they were going gold prospecting near Ballarat.

Sen-Det Ross said that examination of the computer files revealed a number of images of Ms Michels, Mr Stanley and two other adults sitting naked on a couch together with a 10-year-old girl.

As a result of police inquiries the other couple are facing charges and the child is in the care of the DHS.

Under cross examination from defence barrister James Trevallion the detective said it appeared Mr Stanley was a “controlling person” and a witness had described him as being possessive.

But Sen-Det Ross said that in the pornographic images with the child Ms Michel appeared to enjoying herself.

“The accused is laughing and she appeared to be a willing participant,” the detective said.

Outside court Ms Michels’ solicitor, Ben Archbold said his client was happy to be allowed to return to her family in Darwin until the case continues next year.

Frankston woman released on bail as police sift through child porn images

Nino Bucci

December 2, 2011 – 12:44PM

A Frankston woman who led police on a three-week search has been released on bail.

Lawyers for Rebecca Michels, 25, successfully argued she was not a flight risk after she and fiance Craig Stanley were found at a campsite in Victoria’s west on November 19.

Michels is charged with one count of an indecent act with a child under 16, two counts of having made or produced child pornography, and one count of knowingly having possessed child pornography.

Stanley, 28, faces five similar charges, including one count of an indecent act with a child under 16 after police allegedly found 40,000 child pornography images, including depictions of sadism, beastiality and humiliation which can include bondage. Police have also have been analysing about 400 videos.

It will be alleged that Michels posed naked and in various states of undress in 76 photos with a 10-year-old, her partner and two other adults, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard today.

Detective Leading Senior Constable Rosemary Ross told the court Michels was in various positions  in the photographs but they did not depict sexual activity.

The couple had been missing from their Langwarrin home in Melbourne’s south-east following a police raid on October 27, sparking a statewide search and appeals from Michels’ distraught family.

Michels was  granted bail on a $100,000 surety and on the condition she reside with her family in Darwin, where she is originally from.

Lawyer, James Trevallion, argued the fact Michels’ had given herself up to police while camping in Dimboola meant that if bailed she would not be flight risk.

“A person doesn’t give themselves up so that later if they’re granted bail they can flee,” Mr Trevallion said.

“It doesn’t make sense.”

Senior Constable Ross said police were concerned that witnesses had been intimidated, as the manager of the Dimboola IGA, where Stanley was caught by police, had been sent a death threat.

Stanley has made no application for bail and remains in custody.

Frankston couple arrested after FBI tip

by: Anthony Dowsley

From: Herald Sun

November 29, 2011 12:00AM

A FRANKSTON couple who spent 21 days on the run were the target of a police operation tipped off by the FBI.

Craig Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, who were arrested in Dimboola on November 18, were raided after photos allegedly depicting child pornography were detected by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A subsequent raid and seizure of computers led to a second couple – who knew Mr Stanley and Ms Michels – being investigated.

It is believed both couples are nudists and met at a public pool during a naked swimming night.

Some charges emanate from a later gathering at a house in Melbourne’s west.

It is not known if the second couple have been formally interviewed by police.

The FBI allegedly found transmissions from a computer, which were tracked to an internet protocol address – a registered number attached to computers and other devices.

The FBI notified the Australian Federal Police, which sent the information to Victoria Police, which executed warrants on a Langwarrin property on October 27.

The Langwarrin couple were charged with crimes involving a minor aged between 10 and 16.

Both Mr Stanley and Ms Michels have applied for bail.

Mr Stanley is listed to appear in court today and Ms Michels on Wednesday.

Part of what has been recovered is a 15-second video, which allegedly shows a naked 10-year-old.

More than 30,000 images have been analysed by police.

Ms Michels was apparently unaware of the national manhunt for her and her fiance.

Craig Stanley, 28, and fiance Rebecca Michels, 25, plan to ask for bail

by: Shannon Deery

From: Herald Sun

November 22, 2011 12:00AM

A COUPLE who were the targets of a 21-day manhunt before being arrested and charged with child porn offences plan to ask for bail.

Craig Stanley, 28, and fiance Rebecca Michels, 25, briefly faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court yesterday, at separate hearings.

They were arrested last week after they were found at a bush camp, 400km northwest of Melbourne.

They were charged with making, possessing and transmitting child pornography, and committing indecent acts with a child under 16. Mr Stanley was charged with posing naked for photographs with a child under 16.

They had disappeared last month after police raided their Langwarrin home and seized their computers.

An alleged victim had spoken to police.

Mr Stanley’s lawyer, Jim Dounias, told the court his client was entitled to the presumption of innocence, and he was concerned media coverage could prejudice any trial.

He said a bail application would be made next Tuesday.

Spiros Prapas, for Ms Michels, said she also planned to ask for bail.

The couple were arrested last week after campers in Little Desert National Park reported them to police.

They were remanded in custody until next week.

Couple in court on child porn charges

Adam Cooper

November 21, 2011

Couple in court on child porn charges

A Langwarrin couple arrested last Friday, weeks after they disappeared, have been remanded in custody to return to court next week.

Craig Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, were last week charged with child sex offences and today separately fronted Melbourne Magistrates Court.

The couple was arrested last Friday in Dimboola, in north-west Victoria, after they disappeared a day after Michels’ birthday last month.

Stanley has been charged with five offences, including committing an indecent act with a child under 16, and making child pornography.

He wore a grey t-shirt with a logo on the front and kept his head bowed during his brief court hearing.

Stanley’s lawyer, Jim Dounias, requested details of the case not be released to the media as the couple’s disappearance had already attracted “sufficient publicity” and that there was more information to be released.

“There is a great deal of water to go under the bridge before matters are determined,” Mr Dounias said.

But magistrate Lance Martin allowed details of the charges to be released, as the media’s request was nothing out of the ordinary.

The court heard Stanley planned to apply for bail in his next court appearance.

Michels was also remanded in custody to reappear next Tuesday, but her lawyer, Ben Archbold, did not say whether his client planned to apply for bail.

Michels, who wore a grey zip up jacket, kept her head down throughout the hearing except for an occasional glance to her parents and at one stage wiped a tear away with her sleeve.

As she was escorted out of the dock, Michels mouthed the words “I love you” to her parents, who were in the gallery.

Stanley was arrested while shopping for groceries in a supermarket after the store owner recognised him from a police description.

Michels was arrested soon after at a campsite by the Wimmera River, in the Little Desert National Park. Stanley led police to Michels.

Missing couple arrested

|  November 19th, 2011

A FRANKSTON couple have appeared in court and been charged with indecent acts and making child pornography.

Craig Stanley, 28, a former Geelong gaol employee, and Rebecca Michels, 25, appeared separately before Horsham Magistrates’ Court yesterday afternoon after being arrested yesterday morning following three weeks on the run.

Both have been charged with indecent acts with a child under 16, making child pornography, possessing child pornography and transmitting child pornography.

The pair have been remanded in custody to appear on Monday at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

The couple was arrested after a tip-off from campers who spotted their bush hideaway in Dimboola, almost 400km northwest of Melbourne.

Mr Stanley was spotted at an IGA supermarket and arrested about 9.40am.

Police then went to a campsite at a nearby national park where they arrested Ms Michels, his fiancee, in Dimboola about an hour later.

Police said other campers also in the national park raised the alarm after recognising the pair from media reports.

They had been holed up in a bush campsite on a river bed in the Dimboola National Park, police said.

Speaking outside the Frankston Police Station, Detective Inspector Shayne Pannell said police had made contact with the couples’ families.

He said police were uncertain how long the pair had been camping, but said it had been at least “several days”.

He said the pair appeared to have lost some weight, but had not attempted to disguise their appearance and were both arrested without incident.

“It was an approach to Craig, (he was) identified and taken into custody. When police attended the campsite on the river bank, Rebecca came forward and identified herself,” he said.

The couple had been aware of the media coverage about their case, but he was unsure whether that included pleas for them to come forward from their families.

Ms Michel’s father, Ross McAdie, told the Herald Sun that her family was “very, very relieved” they had been found safe.

“It’s been a long time,” he said.

“We haven’t spoken to her yet, but from a parent’s point of view you hope every minute of the day it was going to end. Thankfully we are there.”

Mr McAdie was due to fly from Darwin to Melbourne, with wife Patricia, last night or this morning.

“Now we can turn our attention to defending the allegations,” he said.

Police arrest missing Frankston couple

Jordan Oliver, Amelia Elliston, Andy Park, Adam Cooper

November 18, 2011

A Frankston couple on the run for three weeks have been arrested in Dimboola and charged with sex offences after one of the pair was spotted in a supermarket.

Police say Craig Stanley was identified and arrested at the supermarket in the western Victorian town at 10.40am.

His fiancee, Rebecca Michels, was arrested soon after at a bush campsite in the nearby Little Desert National Park.

At a media conference this afternoon, Detective Inspector Shayne Pannell from Victoria Police said the couple came willingly but looked thinner than usual.

‘‘We were tipped off by campers at the national park and they alerted local police, then we searched the area and that’s when we came across Craig in a local supermarket … I take it that they were aware they were wanted.”

Michels, 25, faced the first bail hearing on four charges – one count of an indecent act with a child under 16, two counts of having made or produced child pornography and one count of knowingly having possessed child pornography.

She did not apply for bail but Magistrate Richard Pithouse noted Michels had never been arrested before and told police to note that because of the nature of her charges she was at risk in the prison system.

Michels sat in the dock quietly with her head down during the bail hearing.

Stanley faced five charges, including one count of an indecent act with a child under 16, two counts of having made or produced child pornography and two counts of knowingly having possessed child pornography.

Stanley also made no application for bail and Mr Pithouse told police again to note that because of the nature of his charges he was at risk in the prison system.

Both were remanded in custody to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.

Stanley led officers to Michels, her lawyer Ben Archbold said.

The couple went missing last month following a raid on a house. Police said they executed search warrants on the couple’s Langwarrin home on October 27, the day of their disappearance.

Mr Archbold said he was extremely relieved his client had been arrested.

‘‘This is the first time I’ve been happy for one of my clients to be arrested because now I know she is safe and well,’’ he said. ‘‘Obviously there was serious concerns for the welfare of both of them.

‘‘We were just hoping they didn’t do anything to themselves.

‘‘Because this is a unique situation, I’ve spoken to the parents and I’m being instructed by them. But I still have to speak to my client.

‘‘I’ve spoken to the father. The police have been fantastic, they let the family know as soon as the two of them were found,’’ he said.

‘‘He was in getting food in the supermarket. The police have then been called, they’ve come, they’ve arrested him and they’ve said ‘where is she’ and he’s led them to a camp in the national park.’’

The couple initially told friends they planned to go camping at Bendigo, before using a hire car to travel to Ballarat.

Stanley, 28, a private detective and former defence force recruit, arranged for the rented gold Nissan X-Trail to be taken back to Frankston by a car transport firm in Ross Creek.

Clothing, camping gear and a metal detector were inside the rental car when it was returned.

Police say the circumstances surrounding the case were particularly strange.

Earlier this month, The Age revealed that Stanley had a fascination with ghost hunting, scanning country Victoria in search of the paranormal.

Shortly after the couple went missing, family and friends set up a Facebook page, pleading for them to come home.

The page had more than 3000 members when it was shut down – about the time police revealed the pair were fugitives rather than missing persons.

‘‘They have been aware of the media coverage but I’m not sure about their knowledge about their family and how much contact they’ve had with the outside world,’’ Inspector Pannell said.

‘‘I’ve had my detectives contact both families and they are both relieved, like we are, that they’re well fed and alive.’’

Michels’ father, Ross McAdie, this morning told radio station 3AW that he was ‘‘completely ecstatic’’  his daughter had been found.

He said he was yet to speak to Ms Michels and thanked police for acting quickly at a ‘‘very trying time’’.

‘‘I’m assured by our solicitor that we should be able to speak to her today.’’

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‘Monster’ Phillip Turtur sexually abused girl as her family grieved each week

Paedophile loses sentence appeal

ABC December 5, 2012, 3:52 pm

A paedophile who abused two young girls throughout their childhoods has lost an appeal to have his lengthy jail sentence reduced.

Phillip Turtur, 64, is serving a 23-year jail sentence with a non-parole period of 15 years for several child sex crimes.

The sentencing judge described the crimes as grotesque and said the ‘indescribable horror’ the victims endured for years was something no child should have to go through.

South Australia’s Court of Criminal Appeal unanimously dismissed Turtur’s appeal against his sentence.

Paedophile can challenge 23-year sentence

  • Chief Court Reporter Sean Fewster
  • AdelaideNow
  • August 20, 2012 1:05PM

ONE of the state’s worst paedophiles has won the right to challenge his 23-year jail term because a judge is concerned he will be “quite old” when paroled.

Supreme Court Justice David Peek this morning granted Phillip Turtur – who abused one of his victims every week for four years – permission to appeal his sentence.

Despite the objections of prosecutors, Justice Peek said the length of the sentence, and state law about paedophiles, made the case worthy of consideration by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

“(Turtur) is just about to turn 65, and will be 79 at the end of his non-parole period,” he said.

“Under legislation relating to this particular type of offending he will only be eligible for release, he will not be automatically considered.

“Without expressing any view as to the grounds of the appeal, I’m disposed to grant permission having regard to the fact this is a large sentence and the accused will be quite old at the time he is eligible for parole.”

Turtur, of Salisbury, pleaded guilty to one count of persistent sexual exploitation of a child, 12 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and one count of indecent assault.

He repeatedly abused two girls, while in a position of trust, between 1982 and 1994.

The first victim was sexually abused every Sunday while her family visited her grandfather’s grave.

Turtur also held a butcher’s knife to her throat while another girl was locked in the laundry.

He threatened to harm the girl’s family if she exposed his perverted actions.

The second victim was abused by Turtur about three or four times a week for six years.

In one incident, he had sex with her on the bathroom floor moments after she attempted to commit suicide saying “this will comfort you”.

Today Dr Peter Salu, for Turtur, said his client’s sentence was manifestly excessive.

He said persons accused of historical sex offences should receive substantial sentencing discounts for pleading guilty.

That, he said, would encourage others to do the same and cut down on the number of trials.

“My client did not want to subject the victims to any more pain and suffering,” Dr Salu said.

“Despite having no memory of a lot of the facts, for reasons of remorse and contrition, he pleaded guilty.

“The sentencing judge should have given greater weight to this, but he did not.”

Karen Ingleton, prosecuting, said Turtur had received all the leniency he was due.

She said his final sentence included a 22 per cent discount for pleading guilty, and a further 18 per cent reduction on account of his age.

“There are simply some cases where a long sentence, a deterrent sentence, is warranted – and the offending in this matter is one of those circumstances,” she said.

“It is a long sentence, but this is one of those matters in which a long sentence was inevitable.”

Justice Peek said the appeal should go ahead.

“I agree a long sentence was inevitable, it’s just a question of precisely how long,” he said.

Turtur’s appeal will be heard later this year.


Paedophile Phillip Turtur jailed for ‘indescribable horror’

Court Reporter Hannah Silverman

May 29, 2012 11:00PM

SHE was sexually assaulted weekly, threatened with a knife and scared out of exposing years of abuse, but today Joanne is anything but the victim she was 30 years ago.

Now a brave survivor of child sex abuse, Joanne was relieved yesterday to watch her former uncle Phillip Turtur, one of the state’s worst paedophiles, sentenced in the District Court to 23 years’ jail.

With a smile Joanne, 37, who did not want her surname published, said justice had finally been served for the crimes Turtur, 64, of Salisbury, committed against her and another victim during the 1980s and 1990s.

“The pain and suffering is something that is still there, but I’m happy in my life now. It is just something that I’ll never forget,” she said.

Joanne and her husband of 4½ years are the brains behind Angry Anderson, The Flyers & Before The Aftermath: Benefit Concert. Proceeds from the one-night-only benefit at The Gov will go to Bravehearts for victims of child sexual abuse.

Related Coverage

For four years, from the age of seven, Joanne was sexually abused every Sunday while her family visited her grandfather’s grave.

During the period Joanne describes as a “reign of terror”, Turtur also held a  butcher’s knife to her  throat while another girl  was locked in the laundry.

Turtur previously pleaded guilty to 12 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, one count of indecent assault and one count of persistent sexual exploitation of a child.

In sentencing yesterday, Judge Geoffrey Muecke said Turtur would make threats to harm Joanne’s family after abusing her in order to keep his perverted secret.

Another girl, who cannot be identified, was later abused by Turtur about three or four times a week for six years.

In one incident Turtur had sex with her on the bathroom floor moments after she attempted to commit suicide in a desperate cry for help.

“You got some Band-Aids from the kitchen and tried to stop the bleeding,” Judge Muecke said yesterday.

“(Then you said) `this will comfort you’ and she knew immediately that you were about to rape her.”

Judge Muecke said the girl’s mother was undergoing cancer treatment and he used that to frighten his victim from “shocking” her mother to death with news of his deviant behaviour.

Turtur will be eligible for parole in 15 years.


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Serial paedophile’s jail appeal fails

Tim Clarke

November 5, 2014, 10:14 am

Former Katanning hostel warden Dennis John McKenna has failed in his bid to appeal against his jail sentence for the sexual abuse of 17 boarders entrusted to his care.

McKenna had attempted to lodge an appeal against the nine-year jail term imposed for his final of three lots of convictions, claiming it was crushing.

But the WA Appeal Court today comprehensively threw out the application – saying McKenna’s offending meant he had forfeited the right to a useful life after his release.

“The total sentence the subject of this appeal reflects a carefully calibrated and moderated exercise of the sentencing discretion. There is no merit in the appellant’s claim that the total effective sentence infringes the first limb of the totality principle,” Justice McLure said.

“Even if, contrary to my view, the total sentence could be characterised as crushing, the appellant’s offending as a whole is of such seriousness in its nature, extent and effect that he must be regarded as having forfeited the right to an expectation of a useful life after release.”

The 69-year-old was sentenced in February last year to nine years jail for 34 sex offences committed between 1976 and 1988.

Judge Kevin Sleight ordered the sentence be served on top of a six-year and four-month jail term imposed in 2011 for 10 offences committed against six boys.

Judge Sleight also took into account a six-year and nine-month jail term imposed in 1991 for the sexual abuse of five boarders.

He said in total, the 69-year-old had been sentenced to 22 years jail for 63 offences against 28 boys at the State-run boarding facility.

As a result of the final sentence, McKenna will have served 13 years when he becomes eligible for parole in November 2024.

The appeal bid had outraged some of McKenna’s victims, who said the legal challenge demonstrated McKenna’s complete lack of remorse for the abuse he had inflicted.

“He is still in denial,” Todd Jefferis, who was molested by McKenna many times between 1989 and 1990, said.

“That guy has got absolutely no right to ever walk the streets . . . why would the community want a monster like that walking the streets.

New charges for serial paedophile

Sam Tomlin The West AustralianJune 20, 2014, 4:27 pm

Serial paedophile Dennis McKenna is facing fresh child abuse charges stemming from his time in charge of the Katanning Hostel.

McKenna was charged with two additional offences following what police said was a long-running and exhaustive investigation into the 69-year-old’s time as warden of the hostel between 1976 and 1988.

McKenna is serving nine years in prison for abusing 17 boarders at the hostel during that period.

He is due to appear in Katanning Magistrates Court on July 15.

Notorious WA paedophile Dennis McKenna lodges appeal against nine-year jail term

Updated Wed 14 May 2014, 1:38pm AEST

A notorious West Australian paedophile has lodged an appeal against a jail term imposed on him more than a year ago for child sexual offences committed at a government-run hostel in the 1970s and 80s.

Dennis McKenna was sentenced to a further nine years’ jail in February last year after pleading guilty to 34 offences committed against boarders at the St Andrews hostel in Katanning.

McKenna was already in jail after being sentenced in 2011 to six years and four months for similar offences.

He was also jailed in 1991 for molesting boys.

McKenna was the warden at the hostel between 1975 and 1990 and used his position to sexually abuse 28 boys.

The sentencing judge said McKenna had committed a gross breach of trust, and manipulated people and situations for his own sexual gratification.

The nine-year sentence was made cumulative on that term, meaning McKenna’s earliest possible release date is in 2024.

McKenna lodged documents with the Supreme Court today in an attempt to have the term reduced.

The bid is well beyond the usual 21-day appeal period.


Victim ‘floored’ by McKenna’s bid for freedom

Former St Andrews pupil Darryl Stephens said the appeal was another example of McKenna’s contempt for his victims and the latest in a string of legal games.

“He’s done it all the way through – sacked lawyers and done this sort of thing all along,” Mr Stephens said.

“It is disappointing but it’s not surprising if you know what I mean, because he’s played these tricks all along.

“It’s probably another trick he’s slept on and thought, ‘I’ll have a go at that’.”

Abuse survivor Kim Daniels was also disappointed by McKenna’s bid.

“He wants his sentence reduced, none of us can get our sentence reduced,” he said.

“He’s full of games.”

Albany contractor and abuse survivor Todd Jefferis said other victims were also upset by McKenna’s bid.

“I’ve already spoken to a couple of them and they’re very upset about the whole situation. It’s not going to be nice for them,” he said.

“He’s [McKenna] going to try to get free and have a quality of life which none of the boys have had for a long time and some of them are still struggling to get that back. It’s ridiculous.

“I’ll be absolutely floored if he gets any time off this … if he gets time off on this appeal it’s an absolute travesty of justice, it already wasn’t heavy enough.

“He’s destroyed so many boys’ lives and he doesn’t have this right, in my opinion.”

Katanning hostel pedophile Dennis McKenna gets extra nine years jail

  • by: Angie Raphael
  • From: AAP
  • February 18, 2013 11:19AM

SERIAL pedophile Dennis McKenna has been sentenced to an additional nine years in jail over a further 34 charges of sexually abusing boys while he was the warden at a West Australian hostel.

McKenna, 68, is already serving a six-year prison term since July 2011 for molesting boys at St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning between 1975 and 1990, and was previously jailed in 1991 for similar offences.

He was sentenced in Perth’s District Court today to an additional nine years to be served cumulatively with his 2011 sentence.

It means McKenna has now been sentenced to 22 years and one month in prison for committing 63 offences against 28 victims.

The sentence came after McKenna pleaded guilty to a string of new charges including several counts of unlawful indecent dealings, carnal knowledge against the order of nature and gross indecency.

McKenna’s abuse included forcing boys to watch pornography with him and plying them with alcohol before sexually abusing them.

In sentencing, Judge Kevin Sleight said McKenna had committed a “gross breach of trust”.

McKenna’s lawyer Patti Chong previously read a statement to the court from McKenna to his victims, in which he said he regretted breaching their trust and asked for their forgiveness.

“I robbed the victims of their innocence, corrupted them, destroyed their lives, caused them and their families profound sorrow and committed acts which have had grave lifelong consequences for them and their families,” the statement read.

“I sincerely and truly apologise to all the victims of my abuse, their friends and families, and express my deep remorse and contrition for my conduct.”

Ms Chong reiterated McKenna’s remorse on Monday but Judge Sleight said it was “a long time coming”.

McKenna will be eligible for parole after serving 13 years and four months in prison from July 2011.

The case prompted an inquiry last year into whether authorities knew about the sexual abuse at the Katanning hostel.

The scope of the inquiry was later expanded to include St Christopher’s hostel at Northam, Hardie House at South Hedland and St Michael’s House at Merredin.

WA Premier Colin Barnett apologised to the victims and said they could apply for up to $45,000 in compensation.

Pedophile Dennis McKenna admits 34 more sex abuse charges

  • PerthNow
  • October 24, 2012 2:57PM

pedophile Dennis McKenna has admitted to more than 30 further child abuse charges while he was a warden at a Katanning hostel.

Appearing via video-link in Perth Magistrate’s Court, McKenna pleaded guilty to 34 child sex offences against boarders at the St Andrew’s Hostel.

Prosecutors dropped 35 additional charges against McKenna, who is already serving a jail term for child sex offences, this morning.

McKenna was warden of the State-run hostel between 1975 and 1990.

He will be sentenced in the District Court.

WA pedophile’s brother jailed for raping girl

Neil Vincent McKenna, 53, was sentenced in the West Australian District Court on Wednesday for one count of aggravated sexual penetration and two counts of aggravated indecent assault while he was a senior supervisor and acting warden at St Andrews Hostel in the wheat-belt town of Katanning from 1986 to 1991.

Dennis McKenna, 66, who is currently serving six years in jail after pleading guilty last year to 10 charges of sexually abusing six boys in his care aged 13 to 15.
Dennis McKenna was a warden at St Andrews from 1975 to 1990 and is the subject of an ongoing special inquiry into sex abuse at the Katanning Hostel after previously being jailed in 1991 for similar offences.
He was recently charged with another 66 offences relating to the sexual abuse of children in his care.

By Cortlan Bennett

From: AAP

May 09, 2012 3:01PM

THE brother of a convicted serial pedophile has been jailed for more than six years for raping a 15-year-old girl in his care at a state-run student hostel in Western Australia.

Neil Vincent McKenna, 53, was sentenced in the West Australian District Court on Wednesday for one count of aggravated sexual penetration and two counts of aggravated indecent assault while he was a senior supervisor and acting warden at St Andrews Hostel in the wheatbelt town of Katanning from 1986 to 1991.

McKenna was sentenced to a total of six years and three months but will be eligible for parole after four years and three months.

He is the younger brother of Dennis McKenna, 66, who is currently serving six years in jail after pleading guilty last year to 10 charges of sexually abusing six boys in his care aged 13 to 15.

Dennis McKenna was a warden at St Andrews from 1975 to 1990 and is the subject of an ongoing special inquiry into sex abuse at the Katanning Hostel after previously being jailed in 1991 for similar offences.

He was recently charged with another 66 offences relating to the sexual abuse of children in his care.

During the sentencing of Neil McKenna on Wednesday, Judge Anthony Derrick said his actions were a “terrible breach of trust” with an “element of preparation and grooming”.

During the judge-alone trial, evidence was heard that McKenna had taken sexual advantage of three girls aged 13 to 16 in his care at the hostel – having sex with one of them in his bedroom while his wife was in hospital with their first child – but charges relating to two of the girls could not be proved.

Justice Derrick found that while there was clearly sexual activity between McKenna and those two girls, the charges of “defilement by a schoolmaster” could not be proven because he did not meet the legal definition of a schoolmaster.

“While I found beyond reasonable doubt that you engaged in sexual activity with (the other two girls) … the state could not satisfy certain elements to prove the charges,” the judge said to McKenna in sentencing.

Justice Derrick said that was the reason he could not accept defence lawyer Patti Chong’s submission that the proven charges in relation to the third girl were isolated events.

The judge said that in the case of the third girl, McKenna had driven her in a school bus to an isolated road at night, locked the doors, and raped her on the back seat.

The other two charges of aggravated indecent assault related to incidents at the hostel where McKenna had taken advantage of the girl to kiss and touch her in an inappropriate manner.

The judge said McKenna had not used violence towards the girl, but he did not have to as he was in a position of authority.

Nonetheless, he found that McKenna was a “good husband and father” and his wife and three daughters continued to stand by him throughout the trial and sentencing.

He said McKenna had been forced to sell the family home to pay for his defence, which would leave his family in economic hardship, but he had shown no remorse for his actions and continued to deny them.

Outside the court, Ms Chong said her client maintained his innocence and would appeal against his conviction.
The wife of one of Dennis McKenna’s victims, Tonia Brown, said she was not surprised that Neil McKenna had shown a “complete lack of remorse” as he continued to deny any wrongdoing.

She said the three girls he had had sex with, including the rape victim, would be satisfied with the sentence.

“It’s not a sentence worth damaging someone’s life for, but it’s much more than we expected, and I think the girls will get some sense of justice,” Mrs Brown said.

Katanning child abuser to be sentenced

Anne-Louise Brown

May 9, 2012 – 2:00AM

The younger brother of a Western Australian serial paedophile will today be sentenced for child sex offences.

Neil Vincent McKenna, 53, was convicted in the WA District Court last month of three charges relating to the abuse of a girl when he worked at the now infamous St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning between 1986 and 1991.

McKenna’s older brother, Dennis McKenna, 66, who was warden of St Andrew’s from 1975 to 1990, is currently in jail for numerous offences against boys in his care and is the focus of an ongoing special inquiry into allegations there was a cover-up of sexual abuse at the hostel.

Neil McKenna had been charged with 10 offences related to three girls aged 13-16, but he was acquitted of charges relating to two of the victims.

He was found guilty of one count of aggravated sexual assault and two of aggravated indecent assault against a victim who was aged 14 to 15 at the time.

A report into the alleged cover-up of sexual abuse at the Katanning hostel is due for release on May 31.

Neil Vincent McKenna found guilty of abusing girl in his care

  • From: AAP
  • April 04, 2012 10:51AM

THE brother of a convicted serial pedophile has himself been found guilty of sexually abusing a girl in his care.

Neil Vincent McKenna, 53, was found guilty in the West Australian District Court on Wednesday of three charges relating to the abuse of a girl in his care when he was a senior supervisor and acting warden at St Andrews Hostel in the WA wheatbelt town of Katanning.

He had pleaded not guilty to a total of 10 charges, including aggravated sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and defilement by a schoolmaster.

He is the younger brother of Dennis McKenna, 66, who was a warden at the hostel from 1975 to 1990 and is the subject of an ongoing special inquiry into whether there was a cover-up of sexual abuse at St Andrews.

Dennis McKenna is serving six years in jail after pleading guilty last year to 10 charges of sexually abusing six boys in his care aged 13 to 15.

He had previously been jailed in 1991 for similar offences.

The judge-only trial before Justice Anthony Derrick heard from one of the alleged victims, now aged 39, that McKenna first had sex with her when she was 13 or 14 in his home, which was attached to the hostel where she was boarding and going to school.

Neil McKenna was found guilty after a judge-alone trial in front of Justice Anthony Derrick.

Justice Derrick said there was “an extreme likelihood if not inevitability” of a prison term.

Outside the court a former St Andrews hostel student said she was “absolutely disgusted” with McKenna.

“He’s a man; he’s breached his power of trust,” she said.

As McKenna’s wife and daughter left the court, supporters of the victims called out, “Shame, shame on you”.

The pair refused to comment to reporters on the verdict.

Outside the court, former St Andrews hostel student Jan Brown said she was “absolutely disgusted” with McKenna.

“He’s a man; he’s breached his power of trust,” she said.

As McKenna’s wife and daughter left the court, supporters of the victims called out, “Shame, shame on you”.

Paedophile’s brother ‘groomed girls’ at hostel

Aja Styles

March 27, 2012 – 10:23AM

The school master at a state-run hostel in Katanning who is the brother of a convicted pedophile groomed his female students to fulfill his sexual desires, a state prosecutor has argued.

Neil Vincent McKenna, 53, worked at St Andrew’s Hostel in the Wheatbelt town from 1986 to 1991, during which time he allegedly sexually abused three girls then aged 13 to 16.

Mr McKenna is on trial before a District Court judge without a jury after being charged with 10 offences, including aggravated sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and defilement by a schoolmaster.

Mr McKenna is the brother of jailed serial paedophile Dennis McKenna, 66, who was warden at the hostel from 1975 to 1990 and is the subject of a continuing special inquiry into whether there was a cover-up of sexual abuse at the state-run facility.

‘He chose opportune places’

State prosecutor Mark Trowell, QC, yesterday claimed that the complaints against the younger Mr McKenna occurred exactly how they were described by the alleged victims because they happened at opportune places such as the cinema or the bus.

“The cinema is an ideal place because cinemas are dark and everybody is looking forward,” he argued.

He said a room next door to the cinema, known as the “red room”, may have been less discreet “but that depends if there was a door”.

“If there was a door you would expect it to be closed,” he said.

“…[If] complainants are to be believed it is assumed he was a risk taker and someone who was confident he could do this without being found out.”

He said another ideal situation to disguise his sexual activities was on the bus because it was essentially a “transportable room” with which he could take female students on rides to remote locations.

“These girls were groomed and he was able to commit these offences because he had known them over time,” Mr Trowell said. “Each one was young and naive.”

He said they were vulnerable and he had admitted during police interviews that they developed “crushes” on him as a father figure.

“[They had] become emotionally dependent upon him. Something he was very much aware of in his police record of interview,” Mr Trowell said.

“…He exploited that affection and naivety and took sexual advantage of them. He was the person in authority, not only to groom but to compel them to his sexual desires.”

He said the women were “overwhelmed” and one woman described feeling detached form her body during one incident on the school bus.

‘Girls were intimidated’

He said it was also made difficult for them to complain because when rumour reached other supervisors the girls were made to face middle aged men and it was an “intimidating situation” that they shrank from.

He also argued that there was no evidence of collaboration or collusion by the women who made the complaints.

He said only one of them received $13,000 through a state government Redress scheme and she dismissed it as insufficient compensation for “what happened to her”.

She also denied having any knowledge of how to chase criminal compensation or “celebrity (compensation) lawyer John Hammond” as suggested by Mr McKenna’s lawyer Patti Chong.

‘Flaws in the women’s stories’

Ms Chong yesterday argued that the events could not have occurred as the women described.

She took particular objection to one woman’s testimony, who described that she had taken a shower and slept in Mr McKenna’s marital bed before sneaking back to the hostel dormitory at 5am.

She said the only way for opening the dormitory door was breaking open a glass box and using the key and even if she had left it unlocked there was “no way” she could have gotten through the double glass doors.

“There were doors after doors after doors,” Ms Chong said. “And that’s what you expect in a dormitory house so that kids won’t get up to pranks such as sneaking out at night.”

She said that Mr McKenna’s father Doug McKenna testified that he had come to stay with his son at the time in question because it was when the Mckennas were having their first child and it was memorable because it was around April Fool’s Day.

“Never did he see girls in the house,” she argued.

She said it would also have been impossible for the then-girl’s absence not to be noted by a supervisor since they carried out head counts day and night.

She said that the woman also testified that most of the offending occurred when she was doing ironing at their house in 1986 but they only moved into the larger family home in 1987.

Mr McKenna’s wife Wendy, who also worked at the hostel, yesterday testified that she never saw her husband acting inappropriately with boarders.

When questioned over her observation skills since she claimed that she was unaware of Dennis McKenna’s systematic and long-standing sexual abuse of boys at the hostel, she replied she was observant but knew nothing about the allegation.

She said the first she learned of it was when Dennis McKenna was charged in 1991.

That same year, the board running the hostel held a meeting at which sexual abuse allegations were raised against Neil McKenna.

He resigned that afternoon and he and his wife left the hostel that night.

“We left because it was a shock,” Mrs McKenna said, agreeing her husband had told her he had been “set up” by the girls involved in the accusations.

When asked by Mr Trowell if she had heard any whispers about anything inappropriate her husband had been doing at the hostel, Mrs McKenna said she had not.

District Court judge Anthony Derrick has reserved his decision, which is expected to be handed down next week.

– with AAP

McKenna’s wife says she saw nothing suspicious

Updated March 26, 2012 21:29:24

The wife of a man on trial for sex offences at a Katanning hostel says she never saw her husband doing anything inappropriate with female boarders.

Neil McKenna is on trial in the Perth district court for a string of sexual assault charges against teenage girls between 1986 and 1991 while he was working at the St Andrews hostel.

His wife testified that she is an observant person and never saw or heard anything that would make her think her husband was assaulting girls.

Under cross-examination the prosecutor, Mark Trowell QC, put to Mrs McKenna that if she was so observant why had she not noticed her brother-in-law Dennis McKenna was performing widespread and systematic abuse of boarders.

Dennis McKenna is currently in jail for sexually assaulting boys at the hostel.

Mrs McKenna told the court her husband resigned the same day allegations of sexual assault were put to him in 1991.

He has repeatedly denied the charges.

In a recording of a police interview played to the court last week, McKenna said girls developed crushes on him and he favoured some students he felt sorry for but never inappropriately touched them.

He said sometimes he would jokingly hug boarders at the hostel.

One woman has testified McKenna would molest her whenever he could.

She told the court dates and times were hard to remember but events were not.

A second woman has also told the court that McKenna would indecently touch her, saying it occurred so regularly she could not remember exactly how many times it happened.

She said when she was about 14 she used to go to his house to do ironing and he would kiss and grope her.

She said they later escalated into regularly having sex, including on one occasion when his wife was in hospital having their first child.

Mr Trowell told the court Neil McKenna exploited the affection and dependency of the boarders and took advantage of them.

In her closing address, defence lawyer Patti Chong said the alleged victims’ memories were hazy and unreliable, and the state had failed to prove any of the charges beyond reasonable doubt.

The trial is being heard by Judge Anthony Derrick SC who is sitting without a jury.

His verdict is expected to be handed down next week.

Neil McKenna denies Katanning hostel sex abuse of girls

  • by: Staff Writers
  • From: AAP
  • March 23, 2012 4:42PM

A MAN on trial for sexually abusing teenage girls under his care at a hostel has told a court he never had sex with any girls but some may have had “crushes” on him and other staff members.

Neil Vincent McKenna, 53, was a senior supervisor and acting warden at St Andrew’s Hostel in the WA wheatbelt town of Katanning from 1986 to 1991, when he allegedly sexually abused three girls in his care, then aged 13 to 16.

McKenna is being tried by a District Court judge without a jury after being charged with 10 counts, including aggravated sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and defilement by a schoolmaster.

The court today was shown a video of McKenna being interviewed by detectives in October 2010.

In the video, McKenna said his memory was not very sharp and he had forgot half the students at the hostel, but he did remember bits and pieces that stood out in his mind.

McKenna denied ever having had sex with the girls, kissing them or fondling their breasts.

“I never touched any girl there,” he said.

Regarding one victim, McKenna said that during a camping trip in Albany he was walking with a female student and may have “accidentally” touched her on the shoulder to guide her through a gate.

“I never touched her except for on the shoulder,” he said.

Regarding a second alleged victim, McKenna said he’d once sat with her at the back of a cinema, but there was “no way” he’d ever touched her or forced her to touch him, as she alleges.

He said he may have touched her with his elbow but never behaved inappropriately with her.

Asked if he ever touched a girl while she ironed at his home and then had sex with her in his bed, McKenna denied the allegation but said he remembered looking for something in his bedroom wardrobe when the girl came in with some ironing.

The detectives also asked McKenna if he’d ever had sex with a girl on a bus or station wagon. He denied the suggestion.

He said he took some students for driving lessons and on bus trips for excursions, but never had sex with any teenage girls.

McKenna said it was normal to have a “joke and a laugh” with some of the students whom he became close to because the boarders were far away from their families and he felt “sorry” for them.

He said some boarders developed “crushes” and followed staff around and some saw supervisors as a “father figure”.

“I just can’t believe they’re saying all these things,” he said.

McKenna is the brother of jailed serial pedophile Dennis McKenna, 66, who was a warden at the hostel from 1975 to 1990 and is the subject of an ongoing special inquiry into whether there was a cover-up of sexual abuse at the state-run facility.

Former hostel warden Cornelius Burro also testified on Friday via video link.

McKenna had been filling in as warden after his brother Dennis left the hostel when Mr Burro came in as his permanent replacement in 1991.

Mr Burro said distressed students had come forward with allegations against Neil McKenna in October 1991.

He said McKenna was confronted by the board about the allegations and, after asking for a five-minute break, he returned with a resignation letter.

Mr Burro said McKenna cited what had happened to his brother as one of the reasons for his resignation.

“He got very upset saying that, you know, he’d been set up,” Mr Burro said.

The trial before Judge Anthony Derrick continues.

Raped girl suddenly ‘not welcome’, court told

  • by: Cortlan Bennett
  • From: AAP
  • March 21, 2012 4:52PM

A 13-year-old girl was sexually abused for two years by a male supervisor at a state-run hostel before being abruptly told she was no longer welcome there, a Perth court has heard.

Neil Vincent McKenna, 53, was a senior supervisor and acting warden at St Andrew’s Hostel in the West Australian wheatbelt town of Katanning from 1986 to 1991, when he allegedly sexually abused three girls in his care, then aged 13 to 16.

McKenna is the brother of jailed serial pedophile Dennis McKenna, 66, who was a warden at the hostel from 1975 to 1990 and is the subject of an ongoing special inquiry into whether there was a cover-up of sexual abuse at the government-run facility.

Neil McKenna is being tried by a District Court judge without a jury after being charged with 10 counts, including aggravated sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and defilement by a schoolmaster.

Today, the court heard from a witness who claimed McKenna often fondled her in the back row of a cinema where she worked as a volunteer usher, as well as on a school bus after other students had been dropped off.

Usually, she would sit next to McKenna after the movie started and place her hand on his crotch while he fondled her breasts and genitals, she testified.

On one occasion, the pair left during the movie and went to an adjacent music room where McKenna allegedly raped her with his fingers.

“He put his hand up my skirt, and he put his finger in my vagina,” the now 36-year-old witness said via video link.

“I was 13 or 14 at the time.”

The witness said McKenna would often ask her to go on bus drives with him and would molest her “whenever we were alone on the bus – at any time of the day”.

On another occasion, McKenna drove the witness home to Bremer Bay, about 150km south of Katanning, after she’d had her appendix removed.

Her parents were not home when they arrived and McKenna proceeded to molest her again, she testified.

“We were kissing – tongue kissing – and Neil would feel my breasts and rub my vagina,” she told the court.

After two years of attending Katanning Senior High School and boarding at St Andrews, which were in the same compound, the witness said Dennis McKenna sent a letter to her parents at the end of 1989 informing them she “was not welcome back”.

She said she didn’t know the reason.

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Patti Chong, the witness said she couldn’t remember who instigated the sexual activity and couldn’t remember exact dates.

She said she had never received any redress from the WA government over the sex abuse she had suffered at the govertnment-run hostel and had not colluded with other witnesses.

Earlier, the court had heard from a witness, now 39, who said McKenna didn’t wear a condom and she was not on the pill when he allegedly raped her repeatedly over the course of four years.

She said McKenna’s wife, Wendy McKenna, who was also a supervisor at the hostel, was “like a mother to me”.

She testified that she and McKenna had sex in his bedroom while his wife was in hospital after giving birth to their first child.

The trial before Judge Anthony Derrick continues.

Schoolgirl ‘was raped anywhere and often’

Kate Campbell, The West Australian Updated March 21, 2012, 3:00 am

A woman has told how the brother of serial paedophile Dennis McKenna sexually abused her “anywhere the opportunity arose” over her four years as a teenage boarder at a now-infamous Katanning hostel.

The woman, now 39, testified in the District Court that Neil Vincent McKenna, 53, molested and raped her regularly, including at his home and in a spa when his wife was in hospital after the birth of their first child, in a school bus and in the hostel cinema.

Neil McKenna is fighting 10 charges of sexually abusing three teenage girls between 1986 and 1991 at a judge-alone trial.

The girls were boarding at State-run St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning when he was a senior supervisor and his brother was warden.

Prosecutor Mark Trowell said some abuse of one victim was after Neil McKenna became acting warden for a year in 1991 after his brother was jailed for sex offences against boys.

Dennis McKenna was jailed in 1991 for molesting five boys and later for six years for abusing six other boys.

The woman who testified yesterday said Neil McKenna’s abuse began as kissing, groping and fondling but soon escalated to sex.

Mr Trowell said the woman felt compelled to submit to him.

The woman said she was about 13 or 14 when Neil McKenna first raped her at his home on hostel grounds, where she often ironed for him and his wife.

She said at 16 he molested her in the hostel spa and raped her at his home when his wife was in hospital.

“(It happened) anywhere the opportunity arose,” she said. “It just seemed to happen all the time.”

The woman rejected suggestions by defence lawyer Patti Chong that the abuse “simply did not happen”.

Ms Chong put it to her that other people would have been around or Mr McKenna would have been supervising the boys’ dormitory at the time of some of the alleged incidents.

Mr Trowell said the alleged abuse involving the other two girls was at the hostel cinema, on a camping trip and when Mr McKenna took one girl to her parents’ home in Bremer Bay after her appendix was removed.

He said that in 1991, Mr McKenna raped an alleged victim on a school bus and then had her lie on the back seat as he drove back to the hostel so no one would see her.

Sex abuse claims hit McKenna’s brother

Aja Styles

March 20, 2012 – 11:50AM

The younger brother of convicted paedophile Dennis McKenna has stood trial accused of sexually assaulting three teenage girls in his care at the Katanning hostels where both brothers were in supervisory roles in the 1980s and ’90s.

Neil Vincent McKenna has denied 10 charges ranging from breast fondling to sexual intercourse with three girls aged under 17 while in his care as a school master at the St Andrew’s hostel from 1986-1991.

He is on a judge-only trial in the Perth District Court before Judge Anthony Derrick.

Mr McKenna was 27 or 28 in 1986 and married when he was accused of molesting and forcing himself upon a girl as young as 13 who did domestic chores in his accommodation that was adjacent to the boarding rooms, the court heard.

State prosecutor Mark Trowell said she had been ironing one day, when he came up behind her and touched her breast and started kissing her neck.

Mr Trowell said Mr McKenna led her to the bedroom where he bent her over and had sex with her.

“It didn’t go on for very long,” he said.

He said the girl felt a stinging because it was the first time she had ever had sex.

“She was intimidated by the accused and felt compelled to submit to him,” he said.

He said there was a subsequent “spa incident” in April 1989 when she was 16 and Mr McKenna’s wife Wendy was in hospital after the child was born.

Mr Trowell said she again submitted to sexual acts in Mr McKenna’s spa with him before going inside the home to have sex.

A second student who was 13 in 1988 and whose family were from Bremer Bay came to the hostel in Year Eight.

“She remembers Dennis McKenna being a warden, and his brother and his wife being supervisors,” Mr Trowell said.

He said Neil McKenna was sexually intimate with her a number of times, including on two occasions while she worked as an usher at the cinema that the brothers ran.

Mr Trowell said she would sit next to Mr McKenna and rub his genitals and there were four sexual acts that took place over the two occasions.

He said there was also a “music room incident” when she was alone in the dark with the accused in the music room and he tongue kissed her and put his hand up her skirt and touched her.

Mr Trowell said Mr McKenna also drove her to her parent’s house in Bremer Bay and began kissing her, and fondled her breasts and genitals in her parent’s home.

By the end of Year Nine she was not welcomed back and was given “no reason” despite being a good student, Mr Trowell today the court.

Towards the end of 1990, after his older brother had been charged with child sexual offences, Mr McKenna escalated his flirtation towards a then-15-year-old girl who worked as an usher at the cinema.

He also forced her to have sex with him, Mr Trowell said.

On a weekend camp to Albany, Mr McKenna kissed her on the mouth while they were walking alone on the beach and she later returned and cried in her cabin about the incident, Mr Trowell said.

He said Mr McKenna also pulled her onto his lap and had sex with her in the school bus.

He drove her to a remote location and had sex with her which caused her bleeding and she was “frightened”, Mr Trowell said.

She was told to lie back on the seats so that other students wouldn’t see her before she managed to get to a toilet, the court heard.

She tried never to be alone with him again but early in 1991 there was a blackout at the hostel and the accused touched her on the breast in the dark and asked her to come for a bus ride but she refused, Mr Trowell said.

Mr McKenna’s defence lawyer Patti Chong did not make an opening address except to ask that references to Dennis McKenna be refrained.

“Because what Dennis did has got nothing to do with my client is alleged to have done,” she told the judge.

Judge Derrick reassured her that it only provided some of the narrative.

The trial continues.

Brother replaced sex offender as hostel warden

ABC March 2, 2012, 2:27 pm

An inquiry investigating child sex abuse at a boarding hostel in country Western Australia has been told the brother of a convicted child abuser should not have been allowed to take over as warden.

The inquiry led by former Supreme Court Judge Peter Blaxell is investigating who knew about the long term serial abuse of boarders by the then warden Dennis McKenna.

McKenna ran the hostel from 1975 to 1990, until he was charged and convicted of abusing boys at the St Andrew’s hostel in Katanning in the 70s and 80s.

His brother Neil was working as a supervisor at the hostel and took over when Dennis McKenna was sent to jail.

Neil McKenna will face a judge-alone trial this month, over accusations that he abused girls while working at the hostel.

Parent Ken Reddington told the inquiry today it was inappropriate to replace Dennis with his brother.

The inquiry continues.

Brother accused of sex abuse

Amanda Banks and Gary Adshead, The West Australian November 19, 2011, 7:28 am

The brother of a convicted serial paedophile, whose crimes have triggered an inquiry into sex abuse at a State-run boarding hostel, will stand trial next month charged with molesting two students at the same government facility.

Details of the case emerged in the District Court on Thursday when defence lawyer Patti Chong unsuccessfully applied to adjourn the December trial of Neil Vincent McKenna.

Ms Chong argued that the case should be adjourned because of publicity over Dennis John McKenna’s convictions and a pending inquiry into the St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning.

Neil McKenna, who was not in court because he was working on a mine site, submitted through his lawyer copies of articles published in The West Australian and extracts from speeches in State Parliament Hansard in an affidavit.

Ms Chong said the publicity began with an article published in The West Australian on November 5 and also included a story published on November 7.

She told the court that the articles were with respect to Neil McKenna’s older brother Dennis McKenna, a former warden at St Andrew’s Hostel who was recently sentenced to six years jail for his abuse of children aged between 13 and 16 at the hostel.

In 1991, Dennis McKenna was convicted of sexual offences against five victims.

Neil McKenna is alleged to have sexually abused two complainants between 1986 and 1991 when he was employed as a supervisor and senior supervisor at the hostel.

Addressing the court less than half an hour before Premier Colin Barnett announced the details of an inquiry headed by retired Supreme Court judge Peter Blaxell, Ms Chong said the form of the inquiry was not yet known.

She argued that if an inquiry was announced, it would greatly prejudice Neil McKenna.

The State opposed the adjournment of the trial, submitting that the publicity had been directed at the convictions against the accused man’s brother and the jury could be adequately directed to guard against any prejudice.

Refusing Ms Chong’s application, District Court Chief Judge Peter Martino said it was important that none of the publicity had concerned Neil McKenna and there had been no reference to him.

He said the trial judge would be likely to instruct the jury to disregard anything that they had read or heard outside the court.

Judge Martino said the jury could be expected to do their duty and comply with the direction, which would still mean Neil McKenna would receive a fair trial.

He said the fact the Government had announced it was considering an inquiry was, at that stage, no basis for adjourning the trial.


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Egan has been named as the child rapist who was saved from deportation by Administrative Appeals Tribunal.



Finian Egan is due to be released on parole tomorrow. Tuesday 19th December 2017.


‘It’s been 33 years in the making’: ex-priest charged over sexual abuse

May 1, 2012

A retired Catholic priest and a one-time close personal friend of the Attorney-General, Greg Smith, has been charged over alleged sexual abuse of four children in the 1970s and ’80s.

Father Finian Egan

Father Finian Egan, who maintains his innocence, arrived at Ryde police station by appointment shortly before 11am.

It is understood his legal representative was already at the station.

Mr Egan has been the subject of a police investigation that began in 2010 following complaints he abused five young girls 30 years ago.

A number of women went to police following media reports about previous claims made within the Catholic Church.

Two of his alleged female victims were waiting at Ryde police station when Mr Egan arrived. He had to be helped out of the car by detectives before he made the short walk inside with the aid of a walking stick.

One of the women said she did not think this day would ever arrive.

“It’s been 33 years in the making; it’s been the majority of my life that I’ve been waiting for this day,” she said.

“The last four years I’ve been advocating for his arrest. It was such a relief to see him walk into the station.”

In 2010, the Herald revealed that the church’s independent assessor had upheld claims of sexual molestation against Mr Egan after two sisters complained they were groped by him in the 1980s.

He was subsequently suspended from the church but was allowed to officiate at eight services while under investigation.

Mr Smith has also come under fire for his alleged links to the case, after a claim that he said one of Mr Egan’s alleged victims was “just trying to get $1 million from the church”.

Mr Smith has strongly denied these claims and said he “would never suggest any victim of sexual abuse was motivated by a desire to claim a financial payout”.

Father Finian Egan, arrives at the police station to be charged

Priest arrested over child sex offences

May 1, 2012 – 12:34PM

A Catholic priest who is a friend of NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith has been arrested in relation to child sex offences.

Police say the 77-year-old priest is being questioned at Ryde police station and is expected to be charged.

The priest was the subject of a police investigation that began in 2010 following complaints he abused young girls 30 years ago.

He has maintained his innocence.

One of his alleged victims told the ABC last month the case had been on the desk of the NSW director of public prosecutions awaiting a signature for seven months.

Police have not confirmed if Tuesday’s likely charges relate to alleged victims who made complaints in the past.

Outside Ryde police station, one of the priest’s alleged victims said she had been waiting for this day.

“The majority of my life I have been waiting for this day,” she told reporters.

New questions over AG’s link to embattled priest

Saturday, April 07, 2012

New questions are being asked about the link between the New South Wales Attorney-General and a retired Catholic priest who allegedly abused a number of female children during his time in the church.

Father Finian Egan’s more than 50 years as a priest took him to at least half a dozen churches in and around Sydney.

But the priest’s service in the Catholic church came to an end when a number of women came forward to accuse him of abusing them when they were children.

Within weeks of 7.30 airing a series of stories on Father Egan, at least five people had gone to police and a widespread investigation was underway.

But nearly two years later, the priest has not been arrested or charged.

One of his alleged victims, Nikki Wells, says there is no reason the case should be taking so long.

“The wait has been absolutely horrendous. It’s been really traumatic. The statements with the police have been finalised in 2010,” she said.

“We’ve been told the case is on the DPP’s desk, but it’s been on the DPP’s desk for seven months. Now they keep telling us they’re just waiting for a signature, so it’s beyond me how it’s been so long. The case has been investigated. It’s very clear the evidence is there from all the witnesses, so I don’t understand why he hasn’t been charged.”

Father Egan has always denied the allegations, and as the case dragged on questions were raised elsewhere in the media about the alleged sex offender’s long-time association with Attorney-General Greg Smith.

Mr Smith and Father Egan go back some years, and when Mr Smith was elected to Parliament five years ago he cited Father Egan’s influence in his maiden speech to Parliament.

“At St Gerard’s, Father Finian Egan charmed us with his Irish wit and his pastoral devotion to his flock,” he said in the speech.

Damien Tudehope, now the Attorney-General’s chief of staff, also knows Father Egan well, attending the priest’s church and, as a solicitor, defending him against sexual abuse allegations.

The ABC does not suggest that either Mr Smith or Mr Tudehope have interfered with the potential prosecution involving Father Egan, but critics argue there is an appearance of a potential conflict which the A-G should address.

‘Completely horrified’

But 7:30 can reveal discussions it is alleged the Attorney-General has had regarding the Egan matter which cast doubt over his impartiality.

Last year Ms Wells spoke to another Catholic priest about her frustration at the delay.

That priest, who the ABC has agreed not to name, says he then met Mr Smith last July.

After that meeting the priest detailed his version of what was said in an email to Ms Wells which the ABC has obtained.

In the email the priest says Mr Smith told him he thought Ms Wells was trying to take money from the church.

“I was with Greg Smith the other day and I raised your case with him. He commented that ‘you were just trying to get $1m from the church’,” the priest said in the email.

Ms Wells says the conversation was completely inappropriate.

“I was completely horrified that the chief lawmaker in the state could comment on an open criminal case for a start,” she said.

“Secondly, that he’d pass judgment on someone he doesn’t even know and just disbelief that the whole matter that our Attorney-General could speak so publicly about me and my case and a criminal matter. Clearly he thinks I’m a liar and that other witnesses are liars too because I’m not the only victim in this matter – a clear lack of empathy and devastating unprofessionalism.”

The ABC asked Mr Smith if the priest’s email description of the meeting and what was said was correct, and in response the Attorney-General issued a statement saying he “recalls no such conversation”.

“The Attorney-General recalls no such conversation and notes that 7.30 has failed to provide any detail which would help his recall,” the statement said.

“He says he would never suggest any victim of sexual abuse was simply motivated by a desire to claim a financial payout.”


Beyond the alleged comment that Ms Wells was just after money,  the email raises other questions.

In fact Ms Wells said she had discussed a $1 million figure with the church, not for herself, but as a loan for a charity she was running to care for survivors of childhood abuse.

She was shocked the Attorney-General would know anything about the $1 million figure, something she had raised only with senior churchmen, and she said so in her email reply to the priest.

“I am horrified that Greg Smith knows about us seeking assistance for the Sunrise Centre – I am also further disgusted that he said that I just wanted to get $1 million out of the church,” she wrote in the email to the priest.

The priest replied, saying he had similar concerns about the fact Mr Smith knew about the $1 million figure.

“This is what he had heard and that concerns me where this had come from,” he said.

“He is well connected within the church – he seems to know all the hierarchy – much more in the know than I am.”

Those connections troubled Greens MP David Shoebridge, who put a series of questions about the matter to Mr Smith on notice in Parliament.

“In my dealings with him, it’s an attorney that’s more likely to defend the church than to get out and defend the victims,” he said.

Among the questions, he asked Mr Smith whether he had had any communication with anyone beyond the DPP regarding the Egan case.

But Mr Shoebridge says in his answers Mr Smith did not address that issue, only stating that his office had not been in contact with the DPP about it.

“That’s a remarkable lack of candour… it was a very specific question capable of a very precise answer and we simply didn’t get that,” Mr Shoebridge said.

“If the half of the answer you don’t give is the core of the information, you’ve got to ask whether or not that is misleading.”

Smith accused of bias in priest sex case

April 5, 2012

Accused … the NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith.

THE NSW Attorney-General, Greg Smith, has been accused of denigrating a woman who made sexual abuse allegations against a Sydney priest who is a friend of his as ”just trying to get $1 million from the church”.

Mr Smith is alleged to have made the comment when he was asked about child abuse allegations against Father Finian Egan, according to the ABC’s 7.30 program last night.

A spokesman for Mr Smith said: ”The Attorney-General recalls no such conversation. He says he would never suggest any victim of sexual abuse was simply motivated by a desire to claim a financial payout.”

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A Catholic Church investigation upheld claims of molestation against Father Egan in 2009 brought by two Sydney women who said he repeatedly groped them in the 1980s when he was their parish priest. One took her claims to the police. In 2010, police began investigating new claims by two sisters.

Mr Smith mentioned Father Egan in his inaugural speech to the NSW Parliament in 2007, noting he had ”charmed us with his Irish wit and … devotion to his flock”.

According to 7.30, an alleged victim, Nikki Wells, spoke to another priest about her frustration at the lack of action. The priest, not named, was said to have met Mr Smith last July to discuss her concerns.

In an email to Ms Wells, the priest says: ”I was with Greg Smith the other day and I raised you [sic] case with him. He commented that ‘you were just trying to get $1m from the church.’ ”

Ms Wells told the program she was ”horrified that the chief lawmaker in the state could comment on an open criminal case [and] that he’d pass judgment on someone he doesn’t even know”.

Church encouraged Fr Egan complainants to see police: Bishop

Published: May 18, 2010

Bishop David Walker

Bishop David Walker of the Diocese of Broken Bay said news reports saying the Church had failed to act on abuse allegations agains Father Finian Egan were “grossly inaccurate”, and he encouraged complainants to go to the police.

“As with all matters of this nature, notification of the allegations was sent to the NSW Government Ombudsman and to the police,” Bishop Walker said in response to news articles in Fairfax newspapers, which featured stories from two women who said they were abused by the priest.

“The two claimants chose not to take their claims to the Police, despite being encouraged to do so on many occasions.

“The claimants chose to participate in the Church’s, Towards Healing process, which works towards seeking justice and pastoral healing for all concerned.

“Fr Egan was asked to stand aside from ministry while the process took place. He currently remains suspended from public ministry.”

Bishop Walker said it has been his practice during the Towards Healing process that he must explicitly approve any involvement in events such as weddings or other celebrations by the accused priest – and a Mass con-celebrated by Fr Egan in 2009 to commemorate his Jubilee of priesthood “was undertaken without my approval”.

“The initial Towards Healing process of investigation has now been completed, and I acknowledge that this initial process has taken some time, which may have caused additional stress to those involved.

“Throughout this process Fr Egan has denied the claims. As the Church’s process does not determine guilt or innocence, but a finding based on a ‘balance of probability’ standard, Fr Egan’s future must be very carefully discerned.

“After the Towards Healing process, I have to further investigate the issue before making a final determination as to Fr Egan’s future in ministry. My determination can be further appealed according to Canon Law, therefore must be well grounded as Canon Law requires a higher degree of certitude than ‘balance of probability’.

“When I do make my final decision, it must be submitted to the NSW Government Ombudsman, who has the power to request a review.

“It is in the best interest of all concerned that a complainant goes to the Police. To do so means that matters can be investigated with the full resources of the State and ultimately decided in a way that is acceptable to the community – ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’

“Abuse is a crime that cannot be tolerated,” he added, saying the diocese is committed to acting “with diligence, with justice to all and with due process” on any complaint of abuse.

Fears Australia ‘abuse’ priest is working in Ireland

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

CONCERNS have been raised that a Sydney-based Irish priest who the church found guilty of sexually abusing two girls – continues to travel between Ireland and Australia and is not being monitored.

Two years ago, Fr Finian Egan was allowed to go home to Ireland and celebrate mass despite being banned from doing so in Australia while he was under church investigation.

Egan was subsequently found by the church to have abused two girls. He denies all of the allegations against him.

A church investigation found that Egan groped two girls over several years in the 1980s, but despite this, he was praised at a public mass in Australia last year for his 50 years in the priesthood.

Fresh concerns have now emerged that Egan may be trying to carry out church services in Ireland as he regularly visits Ireland.

Independent TD Finian McGrath raised his concerns about Fr Egan’s activities in Ireland in the Dáil recently. “It is a concern if he’s here and not being monitored and it’s been expressed to me that he may still be celebrating mass and at other church functions,” said McGrath.

“In the eyes of his own church, he’s guilty, so he should be monitored carefully here.”

In response, justice minister Dermot Ahern said that all registered sex offenders, under 2001 legislation, must notify gardaí if they enter Ireland.

However, as Egan has not been convicted of sexual abuse, he is not on the sex offenders’ register.

In July, Bishop David Walker of Sydney admitted to TV network ABC that he had not informed church authorities in Ireland that Egan was under investigation and banned from ministry in Australia.

In correspondence received by McGrath from a citizen in Australia in recent weeks, it was stated that Egan continued to travel back and forth between Australia and Ireland and “conduct[ed] church services including weddings, baptisms and funerals and put the Irish community at risk. I have tried to alert people over there as to the great risk the Australian Catholic church is putting on the Irish. However, nothing has been done.”


This sick ex priest paedophile is very dangerous around children.He is soon finished being under supervision.He has decades of abuse under his belt…BEWARE

Church warning after paedophile flees

ABC September 7, 2012, 5:18 pm

One of Tasmania’s worst serial paedophiles has fled the state and gone to Africa, sparking fears he will reoffend.

Paul Ronald Goldsmith abused 20 adolescent boys during the 1970s and 1980s while working as an athletics coach at Marist College in Burnie.

In 2005, Goldsmith pleaded guilty to 42 sex crimes.

The former trainee priest was sentenced to six and a half years jail with a four-year, non-parole period.

He was released two years ago, his parole ended in May this year and he is now in Tanzania.

The Archbishop of Hobart Adrian Doyle is concerned Goldsmith will reoffend and has alerted his colleagues in Africa.

“I said you need to be very, very careful, watch him all the time,” the Archbishop said.

“I don’t know what the Tanzanian authorities might be able to do, or want to do, if they become aware of his background but I think the point is the capacity to be there in contact with a new group of young people is what we’ve got to avoid.”

Tasmanian and Federal police have been alerted but they are refusing to comment on the case.


Horror endures for paedophile‘s victims


29 Apr, 2012 08:14 AM

TWENTY-four years ago, convicted serial paedophile Paul Ronald Goldsmith was minutes away from having his life taken by a man who claims that Goldsmith took his.

On a Friday night in 1988, Michael*, who was 13 years old when he was sexually abused by Goldsmith, sat hidden in bush and holding a loaded rifle at the top of the driveway of Goldsmith’s Port Sorell home.

For up to an hour he waited for his tormentor to return home from work, but was frightened away when a car turned into the street.

He ran home, where he shook with emotion for hours in disbelief that he had almost committed murder.

“If someone gets murdered, they move on to a better place if you believe it,” Michael said.

“A paedophile takes your soul away. For the rest of your life, you are sort of like a zombie.”

Paul Ronald Goldsmith life long paedophile on the streets

Goldsmith, 67, was paroled in 2010 after serving four years of his six-and-a-half-year sentence for a string of sex crimes, most of which took place when he was an athletics coach at Marist College in the 1970s and 1980s.

The supervision period of his parole ends this June.

Michael is afraid that Goldsmith will offend again.

Goldsmith was found guilty in 2005 of 42 sex offences committed against 20 boys, aged 13 to 16, between 1976 and 1987.

Michael said this conviction was just the “tip of the iceberg”.

He believed Goldsmith may have been offending from 1987 until the day he was extradited from Western Australia in 2004 to face paedophilia allegations in the North-West.

“Those people involved in his court case were the only people prepared to come forward,” Michael said.

“There would easily be hundreds (of offences) that he committed.

“I was in that next generation of abused kids, in 1984 to 1986, well after his school days.

“I was one of few kids that the Federal Police managed to track down.

“I can name 21 other guys, and as far as I know there is only me and another guy that signed sworn statements.

“The others just don’t want to do it, whether it is because they are not prepared to deal with their emotions, or drag it back up in their lives, I don’t know.”

Michael, like many other boys, fell for Goldsmith’s charm after meeting him through the local golf club.

“He made himself appear to us as someone to look up to, an idol – someone to aspire to be like, or just like, so you do things for them,” he said.

“You wouldn’t be able to pick him from anyone else in the public as a paedophile.

“He used to give us the belief that he was someone big.

“I suppose that you would call him a manipulator. All paedophiles are crafty and target the weak.

“To prey on youth is one thing but to prey on those not as assertive as others is another thing.”

The friendship involved drinking sessions at Goldsmith’s Rice Street home, followed by overnight stays.

“It started through him giving you lifts home, then you would start to drive his car, sitting on his knee,” Michael said.

“You would go to his home. There would be smokes, grog, cards, and things led off from there.

“If you lost a game of cards, you’d have to show him your personal parts or do something else.

“He slowly worked on you.”

Michael’s abuse started at 13 for two years.

“I would perform sexual acts on him, and him on me – oral sex on each other, I would have to masturbate him and he would masturbate me.

“Then he would sometimes jump into bed with you at night and fondle you.

“As time went on, emotionally you got worse, and you want to stop it but you don’t.

“At the time, you knew it was odd but you didn’t know any better. You were young with no sexual experience.

“You think it was what everyone else does growing up through puberty. You think this is what young blokes do with grown-ups.

“It was only when he wanted sexual intercourse that I knew something was wrong.”

Federal Police tracked Michael down in regional NSW, where he had been living since 1991, and left with a sworn statement that would later help convict Goldsmith.

“It was pretty gut-wrenching – when you start talking about it, you realise it is something you can never really get over,” he said.

“I was relieved that something was being done.

“A paedophile victim suffers for the rest of their lives.

“You question your own sexuality and whether you might be inclined to become a paedophile yourself.

“I attempted suicide at 20, started taking drugs at 15. My education went from near the top to the bottom of the grade.

“At the time, I didn’t know what was wrong with me.”

(*Not his real name)

Catholic Church alerts African bishops to paedophile case

Updated Fri May 7, 2010 8:02am AEST

Hobart’s Catholic Archbishop Adrian Doyle says he has alerted bishops in Africa to the release of a serial paedophile, amid concerns the man wants to work with African children.

Paul Ronald Goldsmith sexually abused 20 boys in Tasmania’s north-west while working as an athletics coach and trainee priest in the 1970s and 1980s.

The 65-year-old has been released on parole after serving four years of his six and a half year jail sentence.

The decision has outraged Goldsmith’s victims and the support group Beyond Abuse.

The group is concerned that Goldsmith is planning to travel to Africa to work with children.

But the Parole Board‘s Andrew McKee says it is not possible for Goldsmith to leave Australia.

“He’ll be under the close supervision of a probation officer,” Mr McKee said.

In a statement, Hobart’s Archbishop Adrian Doyle said he had spoken to bishops in Africa about the concerns, and Goldsmith would not receive any support from the church.

Sex abuse coach set free


07 May, 2010 08:50 AM

A PROLIFIC North-West sex offender who molested 20 young boys while employed as a high school sports coach has been granted parole.

Paul Ronald Goldsmith, 65, was sentenced to six-and-a- half years’ jail in late 2005 for a string of sex crimes committed between 1976 and 1987 against boys aged between 13 and 16.

At the time of his sentencing, the Supreme Court heard the Shearwater man had used his coaching position at Marist College and his involvement with numerous youth groups to access and groom his victims.

He also trained as a priest, but was never ordained.

The court heard Goldsmith’s “open home policy” gave child visitors unlimited access to alcohol and cigarettes and included strip poker sessions that ended in masturbation and oral sex once the boys and Goldsmith were naked.

His lawyer told the court that Goldsmith had been aware of his sexual interest in young boys since he was 15, but had “resisted” for many years before the coaching job “forced him to give in to his attraction”.

Goldsmith would give one of his victims regular “rub- downs” after training and sexually assaulted another on six different occasions.

In total, he was convicted on 36 counts of indecent assault, four counts of maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person under 17, one count of aggravated sexual assault and one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a young person.

Speaking after the sentence was handed down, one victim’s father admitted he had considered cutting off Goldsmith’s genitals.

“Quite often of a night I would put my knife in my pocket, and a couple of times I went to his driveway – I was going to castrate him,” he said.

Outside the court, another victim said he had contemplated suicide and described “intense hatred” for his abuser.

“He made me feel so guilty so I wouldn’t say anything,” he said.

The Parole Board said it had taken several factors into account before granting Goldsmith’s release, including his own written submission, references, his “exemplary” prison record and a written report from prison sex offender program New Directions.

His victims provided the Parole Board with statements detailing the horrific and ongoing impact of the abuse, and requested that he be prevented from contacting them.

The board granted the request and further ordered that Goldsmith have no contact with anyone under the age of 17 “without appropriate supervision” during his parole period – which ends in June 2012.


Serial paedophile out on parole

Updated Thu May 6, 2010 8:23am AEST

A man labelled as one of Tasmania’s worst serial paedophiles has been released from jail on parole after serving two thirds of his sentence.

In late 2005, then 61-year-old Paul Ronald Goldsmith was sentenced to six and a half years jail on 42 sexual offences related to 20 teenage boys on the state’s north-west coast between 1976 and 1987.

An appeal against the sentence was dismissed a year later.

The Tasmanian Parole Board has now released Goldsmith.

The Board said it considered evidence of Goldsmiths ‘exemplary’ prison record and many supportive references.

He has been released on condition that he have no contact with anyone under 17.


Parole Board says Goldsmith not able to leave

Updated May 6, 2010 12:16:00

The Parole Board says one of Tasmania’s worst paedophiles has no plans to work with underprivileged children in Africa.

Paul Ronald Goldsmith abused 20 teenage boys on Tasmania’s north-west coast during the 1970s and 1980s.

The 65-year-old has now been granted parole after serving four years of a six-and-a-half-year jail term.

The group, Beyond Abuse, says it has been told Goldsmith is learning an African language and plans to travel there to work with children.

But the chairman of the Parole Board, Andrew McKee, says Goldsmith told the board he has no such plans.

Mr McKee says while on parole for the next two years Goldsmith will not be able to leave the state without permission and will not be permitted to leave the country.

Beyond Abuse is disappointed Goldsmith is on parole.

“To have him be paroled early is just just amazing news and something that I think has to be looked at,” he said.

“I mean people in this type of position that have committed this amount of heinous crimes like this should serve their whole sentence and not be paroled.”


Pedophile’s parole plan

March 05, 2010 12:01am

THE Catholic Church in Tasmania will try to block any moves by convicted pedophile Paul Goldsmith to work with young people upon his release from jail.

Goldsmith, 65, will be eligible for parole from Risdon Prison on March 12 and concerns have been raised that he may be planning to move to Africa to work with disadvantaged children.

A former inmate, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Mercury members of the church hierarchy visited Goldsmith in Risdon Prison on a regular basis and knew of his plans to head overseas upon his release.

Archdiocese of Hobart business manager Peter Cusick said Catholic chaplains visited the prison on a regular basis along with chaplains of other denominations.

“Any inmate has the opportunity, as permitted by the authorities, to talk to these chaplains,” Mr Cusick said.

“I have no idea what this person’s intentions are when released.

“The Catholic Church would vigorously oppose any activity this person would want to undertake in relation to involvement with young persons.”

Goldsmith was jailed for 6 1/2 years in 2005 after pleading guilty to 42 sex offences against 20 teenage boys.

On Wednesday, Tasmania Police made an application in the Burnie Magistrates Court to have Goldsmith placed on the sex offenders’ register as a reportable offender.

The application was adjourned and will be heard in Hobart on March 30.

If the application is granted, Goldsmith will have to let the Government know if he plans to leave Tasmania for more than seven days.

The former inmate, who said he was in close contact with the convicted pedophile in jail, said Goldsmith “made it quite clear that he planned to work with under-privileged kids in Africa when he got out”.

“He was learning Swahili in line with his African plans, and would continually say he had done nothing wrong,” he said.

Beyond Abuse spokesman Steve Fisher said if the Catholic Church was supporting Goldsmith’s bid to work with children, the church would be culpable if he reoffended.

“The church has always supported the abuser above the victim,” Mr Fisher said.

Goldsmith was arrested in Western Australia in 2005 and extradited to Tasmania to face the charges.

Mr Fisher said he understood the failed priest and former athletics coach had been about to leave for Africa when arrested.


Clamps call for pedophile

March 03, 2010 06:49am

TASMANIA’S most notorious pedophile will be eligible for parole on March 12. 

 In the Burnie Magistrates Court yesterday, Tasmania Police applied to have Paul Ronald Goldsmith placed on the sex offenders’ register as a reportable offender before his release.

Magistrate Don Jones adjourned the application until today when a date will be set for a hearing in Hobart.

Mr Jones indicated Goldsmith might be released from Risdon Prison on bail to appear at the yet-to-be-scheduled hearing.

Beyond Abuse spokesman Steve Fisher said Goldsmith was a notorious offender and it was imperative he was on the register.

“It goes without saying that he be listed and monitored upon release,” Mr Fisher said.

“I don’t believe for one moment he will ever be rehabilitated.”

Goldsmith, now 65, was jailed for 6 1/2 years in 2005 with a non-parole period of four years.

The failed Catholic priest and athletics coach appealed the sentence in 2006 but it was dismissed.

Goldsmith pleaded guilty to 42 sex offences against 20 teenage boys between 1976 and 1987. The victims were aged 13 to 16.

An offender listed as reportable on the sex offenders’ register must report to the registrar within seven days of being released from government custody.

The offender also must

report each time they change their personal details. And an offender must tell the registrar if they intend to leave Tasmania for more than seven days and report within a week of their return.

The public does not have access to the register.

An offender can be fined $5000 and/or be sentenced to six months in jail if they fail to report or provide false or misleading information.


Sex fiend refuses rehab course


18/09/2008 12:00:00 AM

NORTH-WEST child sex monster Paul Ronald Goldsmith can’t wait to get out of jail and go to an African mission farm with access to children, a former prisoner has claimed.

“When he gets out he says he’s going … to a mission,” ex- Risdon inmate Bruce told The Advocate.

“He says he’s going to run a farm for a religious group.”

Bruce claimed notorious sex predator Goldsmith had refused to do a sex offenders’ treatment program in jail.

While Goldsmith had admitted his crimes, he did not believe they were wrong, Bruce said.

Goldsmith was jailed for six- and-a-half years in November 2006.

He had pleaded guilty to 36 counts of indecent assault, four counts of maintaining a sexual relationship with a person under 17, one count of aggravated sexual assault and one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a young person.

He used his membership of various youth groups to meet and befriend young boys.

He was convicted over incidents which occurred between 1976 and 1987, involving 20 boys aged 13-16.

Bruce said Goldsmith was a protected species in jail and appeared to be aided by his connections to the Catholic church.

“He has father this or father that come in, and nuns.

“He complains and it changes.

“He’s got that much pull.”

Prison authorities would not comment on the claims, saying there was a policy of no comment on individual prisoners.

Catholic Archbishop Adrian Doyle said the church’s only involvement with Goldsmith would be through a prison ministry service.

“The Catholic church in Tasmania has no connection with the prisoner, aside from the ministry as outlined above, and has no input into conditions of his incarceration or his alleged plans for the future.”

Victims’ advocate Steve Fisher, from Beyond Abuse, said the sex offenders’ program must be made compulsory.

“Their rationale is if you force them to do it they are not going to do the right things anyway, which is ridiculous to me.”

He said sex offenders should not be let out until they had “passed” the program.


Last Update: Wednesday, November 1, 2006. 1:00pm (AEDT)

Former priest loses appeal against paedophilia jail term

One of Tasmania’s worst paedophiles has lost a Supreme Court appeal against a lengthy jail term imposed last year.

Paul Ronald Goldsmith, 61, was sentenced to six and a half years’ jail in December last year after he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of indecent assault, maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person and aggravated sexual assault between 1976 and 1987.

The former priest and school athletics coach lured teenage boys to his home on the north-west coast with cigarettes and alcohol.

He also abused them on camping trips.

His lawyer had told the Court of Criminal Appeal Goldsmith was writing an autobiography in jail designed to help other paedophiles to control their behaviour.

The three judges all agreed Goldsmith’s appeal should be rejected.

He will be eligible to apply for parole in 2009.

Man’s jail plea to curb sex abuse

PHILIPPA DUNCAN.  The Mercury.  Hobart Town, Tas.:Aug 23, 2006.  p. 1

A MAN dubbed Tasmania’s most prolific pedophile is writing an autobiography

from his prison cell to help other men control their sexual urges for teenage


Paul Ronald Goldsmith, 61, abused 20 teenage boys at his homes on the North-

West Coast and on camping trips between 1976 and 1987.

In December 2005, the failed priest and former school athletics coach was

jailed for 6 1/2 years and will not be eligible for parole until 2009.

Yesterday the Court of Criminal Appeal in Hobart heard Goldsmith’s appeal

against the severity of Justice Peter Evans’ sentence.

Defence council Greg Richardson said the book about the former Port Sorell

man’s life demonstrated Goldsmith’s remorse.

“It’s an attempt by him to help others who may find themselves in the same

position,” he said.

He said Goldsmith’s crimes had been at the “bottom end of the scale” and had

mostly involved “touching people”, not rape.

His client suffered from the condition ephebophilia, ” a sexual attraction to

post-pubescent boys”, and had endured a violent upbringing.

But Crown prosecutor Cath Rheinberger said Justice Evans had considered

Goldsmith’s guilty plea and the court could not ignore the number of boys


“During those 11 years he was creating great misery around the North-West

Coast,” she said.

Goldsmith pleaded guilty in 2005 to 36 counts of indecent assault, four counts

of maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person under 17 and one each

of aggravated sexual assault and unlawful sexual intercourse with a young


He frequently lured teenage boys home with cigarettes and alcohol and grabbed

at their genitals.

Goldsmith also took his victims camping on the West Coast and once asked a boy

to strip and sleep in a sleeping bag with him.

The court reserved its judgment.,5936,17572611%255E3462,00.html

 Teen-sex abuser appeals sentence


A MAN branded Tasmania’s most prolific pedophile is appealing against the severity of his jail sentence.

Paul Ronald Goldsmith, 60, claims his 6-1/2-year jail term for abusing 20 teenage boys is “manifestly excessive”.

Goldsmith was sentenced in the Supreme Court at Burnie earlier this month after pleading guilty to 36 counts of indecent assault, four counts of maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person under the age of 17, and one count each of aggravated sexual assault and unlawful sexual intercourse with a young person.

Justice Peter Evans set a non-parole period of four years.

Goldsmith, formerly from Port Sorell, trained as a priest but was never ordained.

He volunteered as a youth worker and athletics coach in the state’s north-west for many years.

In sentencing, Justice Evans said Goldsmith had used a variety of means to satisfy his attraction to teenage boys. His victims were aged 13 to 16.

Last Update: Friday, December 2, 2005. 2:47pm (AEDT)

Former coach jailed for sexual abuse of boys

A man who sexually abused 20 teenage boys has been sent to jail for six-and-a-half years.

Paul Ronald Goldsmith, 60, committed 42 sex offences 30 years ago.

Goldsmith targeted boys aged between 13 and 16.

He befriended them through his work as an athletics coach at Marist College in Burnie in northern Tasmania, his association with church youth groups and golf clubs, as well as through friendships with their parents.

He took the victims on camping trips and invited them to his home for prayer meetings, frequently plying them with alcohol and giving them cigarettes.

In the Burnie Criminal Court, Justice Peter Evans said Goldsmith’s good repute in the community at the time of the offences exacerbated the harm he caused.

He said some of Goldsmith’s victims have suffered guilt, shame, and lack of self-worth while some have attempted suicide.

Goldsmith will be eligible for parole after four years.,5936,17398327%255E921,00.html

 Sex predator’s reign of terror


A FAILED priest who preyed on teenage boys for more than a decade pleaded guilty to a string of child-sex offences yesterday.

Paul Ronald Goldsmith, 60, who now lives in the Hobart suburb of Lenah Valley, molested 20 boys between 1976 and 1987 at his homes at Ulverstone and Port Sorell in Tasmania’s North-West and on camping trips around the state.

He also attacked boys while coaching athletics at Marist Regional College in Burnie.

In the Supreme Court in Burnie he pleaded guilty to four counts of maintaining a sexual relationship with a person under 17 years, one count of aggravated sexual assault, one count of unlawful sexual intercourse and 36 counts of indecent assault.

Hobart-born Goldsmith trained as a priest but was never ordained.

He spent many years working in the insurance industry in the North-West, retiring in 2000, and was extradited from Western Australia in April last year.

He is a former senior figure in the Lions service club in Tasmania and also held a position on the national executive of the Life Underwriters Association.

Crown prosecutor Cath Rheinberger said it would no doubt be submitted in mitigation that Goldsmith was of good character and contributed to the community during his life.

“From the outset it is our position that, because of the standing he had in the community, he was able to perpetrate these crimes for as long as he did and with so many complainants,” Mrs Rheinberger said.

She detailed more than a decade of abuse during which Goldsmith would lure boys to his home with alcohol and cigarettes.

“The accused had an open-door policy for young boys where they were free to drink alcohol — which he often supplied — they could smoke cigarettes and they could come and go as they liked,” Mrs Rheinberger said.

The court heard he would hold prayer meetings and serve alcohol to teenagers before grabbing at their genitals or sliding his hand into their underwear.

On other occasions he would play strip poker with boys as young as 13 and would make them masturbate if they lost a game.

Mrs Rheinberger told the court of camping trips to Trial and Granville harbours on the West Coast, Bruny Island and other locations around the state.

On one occasion he asked a 14-year-old to strip and sleep in the same sleeping bag with him.

During the night he put his hand on the boy’s penis and placed the boy’s hand on his.

While coaching athletics he was giving one boy a rub-down and touched his genitals.

When the boy refused to take his shorts off, Goldsmith wrestled him to the ground and tried to pull them off, but the boy fought his way free.

Mrs Rheinberger presented victim impact statements from a number of the victims and read three to the court.

One of the victims said he was very angry he had been used to satisfy Goldsmith’s perversion.

“I’m still angry 28 years later,” the man said.

“I’ve tried not to think of it, but certain events trigger memories.”

Another man said he had struggled with Goldsmith’s actions for years.

“He has condemned an innocent child to unhappiness and loneliness,” he said.

“He has taken away from me … the right to happiness and a relationship with other human beings.”

Defence counsel Greg Richardson told the court Goldsmith had grown up as the oldest of seven children and his early memories had been characterised by violence and alcohol abuse.

He said Goldsmith returned to Hobart while studying to be a priest and helped fight the 1967 bushfires.

When he returned to Victoria to resume his training he had a complete emotional breakdown and was never ordained as a priest.

Mr Richardson said Goldsmith had a psycho-sexual problem which had given rise to the charges. He said the condition was known as ephebrophilia.

“His first sexual encounters as a pubescent male were with older males and involved masturbation,” Mr Richardson said.

“None of these factors are put as an excuse, but as to why he ended up with a sexual attraction to young males post-puberty.”

He detailed Goldsmith’s history as a community worker.

“His record demonstrates that, other than in this terrible way — and I don’t want to be saying it — he is a good bloke,” he said.

Justice Peter Evans remanded Goldsmith for sentencing on Friday at 10am in the Supreme Court in Burnie.

Last Update: Monday, November 28, 2005. 9:24pm (AEDT)

Man pleads guilty to abusing teen boys

A man has admitted in the Burnie Supreme Court that he sexually abused teenage boys 30 years ago on Tasmania’s north-west coast.

Sixty-year-old Paul Ronald Goldsmith has pleaded guilty to 42 charges.

The court heard this afternoon that Goldsmith befriended his victims through his work as a volunteer athletics coach at Marist College in Burnie.

He also worked with a church youth group, and met the boys through golf and friendships with their parents.

Goldsmith invited the boys around to his home, gave them alcohol and cigarettes, took them on camping trips and played strip poker with them.

His lawyer told the court he suffers from a condition called ephebophilia, which means he is sexually attracted to boys aged between 13 and 16.

Goldsmith will be sentenced on Friday.


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Paedophile priest Brian Spillane jailed for nine years for sexually abusing boys

By Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop

Posted 32 minutes ago

A serial paedophile priest has been sentenced to at least nine years’ jail for the sexual abuse of boys at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst in central west New South Wales.

Brian Spillane was found guilty last year of sexually abusing seven students in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s when they were as young as 12.

A district court judge today sentenced him to a nine-year non-parole period and a maximum of 13 years for 16 offences including buggery.

Spillane is already serving at least 11 years for other child abuse offences and will not be eligible for parole until 2026.



Notorious paedophile Brian Spillane convicted of more school sex assaults in Bathurst

Notorious paedophile and former priest Brian Joseph Spillane has been found guilty of a string of sexual assaults on students at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst, it can now be revealed.

There has been a complete black-out on Spillane’s cases, which have been running in Sydney courts over several years, including two consecutive trials this year.

In the Downing Centre District Court on Monday, Judge Robyn Tupman revoked the series of non-publication orders that has been in force during court proceedings since 2013.

A jury last week found the 73-year-old guilty of 11 charges, including sexual assault, indecent assault and buggery on four students at the boys’ school in central west NSW between 1976 and 1988.

He was acquitted of one charge of buggery.

Earlier this year, he was convicted of attacks on five students between 1974 and 1990.

Spillane, who has been in custody since 2010, is serving at least 11 years’ jail on previous convictions.

He was sentenced to nine years’ jail in 2012 for attacks on young girls, who he accessed through his role as a priest in Sydney and other parts of NSW.

“The offender used his position as a priest to gain access to the homes in which each of his victims lived,” Judge Michael Finnane said at the time.

“Because of his position as a priest and because of his standing in the community generally, he was very trusted and the parents of each of the victims readily gave him access to their daughters.”

“This was the conduct of a violent bully and coward, done without regard to the effect it would have on the young girl.

“It was sexual abuse carried out by a trusted priest, and was a major breach of trust.”

Spillane was then convicted of assaults on five St Stanislaus students after a trial in 2013, and in 2015 he pleaded guilty to assaults on four boys at the school in the late 1980s.

He will be sentenced on the latest convictions early next year.

Spillane appeals child sex conviction


Nov. 17, 2012, 4:30 a.m.

Former Bathurst priest Brian Spillane has has launched a bid to quash his conviction by claiming he faced an unfair trial.

Spillane, a former chaplain at St Stanislaus’ College, was sentenced to nine years in prison earlier this year for abusing three girls, one as young as eight, in the 1970s and 1980s.

His lawyer, Greg Walsh, has prepared a series of documents outlining why the conviction should be overturned.

The case will be heard in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal in April next year, around the same time the Royal Commission into child sex abuse will be lifting the lid on decades of crime and cover-up.

Mr Walsh this week claimed Spillane, 69, was wrongly convicted.

“I’ve been a lawyer for 35 years and I don’t think I’ve seen a more unfair trial in my experience,” he said.

One Spillane victim was the 11-year-old relative of male students known to Spillane.

During court proceedings, it was revealed Spillane abused her at a north-west NSW country town.

The other victims were from Sydney where the priest worked before returning to Bathurst in about 1984. One of the offences occurred when Spillane was in the victim’s bedroom for night-time prayers.

Mr Walsh conceded the national focus on child sex abuse would sharpen reaction to Spillane’s bid for freedom.

“This appeal will be determined by, probably, three very experienced judges,” he said.

“I would have every confidence those justices would not be influenced by the media, they would not be influenced by the current publicity about the Catholic church and paedophilia.

“Most members of the public may believe this appeal should not be upheld because he’s a former priest and he’s been convicted of paedophile-type offences.

“But I’m sure there are other members of the public … who subscribe to the view Mr Spillane is entitled to a fair (appeal) and would get a fair hearing.”

Bathurst police fielded the first complaints about Spillane and he was charged in 2008.

He was convicted in late 2010 but his sentencing only occurred in April this year because Mr Walsh was attempting to have former NSW District Court judge Michael Finnane disqualified from presiding over the case.

Mr Walsh had signed a statutory declaration claiming Judge Finnane told him at a 2011 social function that paedophiles were “all guilty” and should be “put on an island and starved to death”.

Judge Finnane denied making the statements and the legal bid to have him removed was lost. The alleged comments are one of nearly a dozen grounds for the appeal.


Former Catholic priest Brian Joseph Spillane jailed for child sex

Peter Bodkin
The Daily Telegraph
April 19, 2012 12:18PM

HE was a sexual predator who used his position as a Catholic priest to gain the trust of the families of young girls.

Brian Joseph Spillane former priest found guilty of child abuse

But while conducting parish missions and visiting country towns, Brian Joseph Spillane systematically betrayed the trust they had all placed in him.

The 69-year-old former priest and Catholic school chaplain this morning covered his face with his hand as a judge sentenced him to at least five years in prison for a series of depraved acts committed more than 30 years ago.

A jury found him guilty in late 2010 on nine counts of indecently assaulting girls, including eight charges of abusing children aged under 16.

One of his three victims, known as Miss M, was only eight years old when Spillane first started sexually assaulting her in 1980.

The District Court was told the girl’s family had welcomed the priest from their Catholic church in suburban Sydney into their home, where he would often stay for dinner.
He would be left alone in Miss M’s room as the pair said their nightly prayers, but he began trying to kiss her and later lying on top of and rubbing against the then nine-year-old girl.

The court heard the former priest sexually assaulted Miss P, an 11-year-old from a country town in north-western NSW, while home alone with her and her younger sister.

After telling the victim to “sit on his lap and give him a cuddle”, Spillane began abusing the young girl, only stopping when her sister suddenly came through the front door of the house.

Spillane assaulted his third victim, 16-year-old Miss L, after arriving at her house unannounced to console her over the loss of a close friend, who had recently been killed in a car accident.

He convinced the teenage girl to get in a car with him before putting a hand up her dress.

Judge Michael Finnane said Spillane had clearly taken advantage of Miss L’s distress at the death of her friend.

He said Spillane had led a “blameless life” aside from his sexual crimes, but he had abused his trusted position as a priest to get access to his victims.

“Each assault was serious, planned and callous,” he said.

Spillane, who has been in custody since November 2010, will be eligible for release in 2015.

God help me: former priest found guilty of child abuse

December 1, 2010

Hospitable families in far-flung places would come to regret opening their homes to Father Brian Spillane, writes David Marr.

As Judge Michael Finnane, QC, pondered what lay ahead for Brian Spillane he remarked: “It is almost unheard of for one person to be involved in so many trials.” The former priest was convicted yesterday by a District Court jury on nine counts of indecent assault and the bail hearing that followed heard the former chaplain of St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, faces a further 135 charges to be heard in four more trials that could last until late next year.

Spillane, 67, sat impassive, only occasionally shaking his head, as the jury found him guilty on count after count.

Spillane’s victims were three young girls assaulted while he was based in Sydney during a break in his long career at St Stanislaus. The charges Spillane will face in trials next year relate to boys at the school where he taught in the 1970s and again in the late 1980s. He left the priesthood and married in 2004.

In the witness box Spillane described himself as a modern priest, joyful and enthusiastic, a man at ease with families and kids, a hugger and kisser, happy to play a game of tennis and celebrate a home Mass. His victims recalled him bringing his clarinet and Edith Piaf LPs when he came to dinner. His favourite Piaf song was, one victim said, “the one about no regrets”.

The Crown prosecutor, Brad Hughes, told the jury: “He would not have been within a bull’s roar of these girls if he hadn’t been a priest.” There was evidence that he had an eye for a broken family, a husband and wife in conflict, a sick mother or an absent father.

He would appear uninvited.

Mrs A found him on her doorstep in a bush town four or five times. She was a pillar of the parish; her husband was in rehab; her boys had been at St Stanislaus. “I always welcomed him.”

He was convicted of two counts of sexually assaulting Mrs A’s 11- or 12-year-old daughter. One morning, Spillane put her on his knee and touched her vagina.

When the child sprang from his clasp, he held her by the throat, thrust against her and pulled down her pants. At that point her younger sister appeared in the kitchen to see Spillane “pushing my sister up against the oven and she was struggling and he let go when I ran in and she grabbed me and we ran out of the house and I was terrified. He was hurting her.”

Next year he will face charges involving the girl’s two brothers.

Spillane was a gregarious, heavy-set, 36-year-old with pale red hair when the Vincentian Order brought him down from the bush in 1979.

His job was to lead the priests and brothers at the Vincentians’ compound in suburban Marsfield. Within months he was also acting parish priest in the order’s local church.

He liked to play with the children at the order’s primary school before the bell rang for class. “They would come running up and take me by the hand and come up and, you know, give me a hug,” he told the court. “It was just a very open and welcoming joyful moment for them and for me.” In answer to his counsel, Philip Boulten, SC, he told the court he touched children “on their shoulder, perhaps on their head and on their hand. I’d allow my hands to be available to them.”

During confession he would invite children as young as eight to sit on his lap. “It was my pastoral approach,” he told the court, “to break down the barrier between the fearful God and the loving God.” One former penitent gave evidence of him holding her tightly on his lap as he nuzzled into her neck. “What I felt was some little kisses.”

The jury failed to agree on two charges relating to this 12-year- old child.

Spillane cultivated the Ls, a family in the parish. The devout mother hoped the priest might persuade her reluctant husband to attend Mass. Their daughters gave evidence that Spillane came to dinner more than 30 times in those years, usually bringing whisky for the father, chocolates for the mother and pink sugared peanuts for them. At the time they were aged eight and 10.

Spillane has been convicted of six counts of abusing the younger daughter while he was in her bedroom, ostensibly to hear her prayers. The assaults began with little pecks on the cheek which became forced tongue kissing and, according to the evidence, progressed over months until Spillane was lying on top of the child.

Her older sister told the court the priest was also assaulting her: “I can still taste the Scotch in my mouth and I can feel the stubble of him on my face.”

Spillane took great risks. The court heard some of the children complained to their parents in the vague terms a deeply embarrassed child might use. One or two parents set bounds on Spillane’s access. None took decisive action. No evidence was tendered at the trial to suggest the police were ever called or the Vincentians alerted.

From January 1981 Spillane joined a “renewal team” led by the provincial of the order, Father Keith Turnbull, which visited Vincentian parishes around Australia promoting what Spillane called “the teachings and the spirit of the Second Vatican Council”. The priest was on the road for the next three years, but his base remained Marsfield and the evidence suggests he never lost touch with the parish.

Hospitable families in far-flung places opened their homes to him. He said Mass in their sitting rooms, played tennis with their children and, according to the evidence, abused their daughters. The court heard that staying with a family in a Queensland town one night, he climbed into the bed of their 15-year-old daughter then lay and ejaculated on her. He did not face charges over this allegation.

Spillane was also conducting retreats for girls at a Sydney Catholic school. On one of these retreats in the Blue Mountains he met two 17-year-olds, T and her best friend.

The day after the friend was killed in a car crash, Spillane turned up uninvited at T’s house to celebrate a home Mass for the distraught young woman and her friends. Later he asked T to come with him to his car parked out of sight of the house.

Spillane was convicted of one count of sexually assaulting T there. “He slid his hand up under my skirt,” she told the court. “I was, by this time, weeping, crying and saying no, and he slid his hand all the way up under my skirt and grabbed my crotch and groin area, my underwear”. She fled from the car.

Spillane’s first trial lasted the whole of November. The jury – reduced by illness to 10 members – took nearly four days to reach its verdict. On Monday, they found Spillane guilty of three charges. Yesterday, they added a further six convictions.

The bail hearing that began immediately heard that Spillane was arrested in May 2008 following an investigation that had begun in Bathurst some years before. In time, the number of complainants grew to 31, all but four of them former pupils of St Stanislaus.

A notice of prosecution case presented during the bail hearing details allegations by 44 former pupils of St Stanislaus of fondling, kissing, masturbation, fellatio and anal penetration by Spillane. Many of the 44 speak of loneliness and homesickness at the school. Many allege sexual abuse by Spillane during prayer sessions.

Spillane was refused bail. As he was led away to the cells he called: “Please God, help me.” His solicitor, Greg Walsh, has told the Herald that Spillane intends to appeal.

Former priest denies assault after channelling voice of dead

David Marr

November 16, 2010

”KNOW that I will always love you,” Father Brian Spillane wrote to a girl he is accused of indecently assaulting the day after the death of her best friend in a car crash.

He denies the assault, which is said to have taken place in his car after he had said a home Mass for the distraught 17-year-old’s friends and family in 1981.

In the letter, he explained the voice of her dead friend had compelled him to reach out to her.

”She knew and knows that I love you and really care for you,” he wrote. ”As [she] would have it, you are my very special care, with deep concern and care to be shown to [her classmates] whose lives God may have touched through this weak human instrument who happens to be one of his priests.”

Mr Spillane, who has left the priesthood, denied he was purporting to channel messages from the dead. ”All I was writing down were the fruits of my prayer in this spiritual exercise,” he told a District Court jury. ”I went with the spirit. It was the spirit of God speaking.”

He is facing 11 charges of indecent assault on girls as young as six. He told the court he would often tell children that he and God loved them. He would lightly touch a hand, shoulder, back or leg of a child because touch can be ”a powerful way of conveying a sense of care, encouragement and affirmation”.

The former priest denied any ulterior motive behind inviting eight- to 12-year-old children to sit on his knee in confession.

”It was my pastoral approach, to break down the barrier between the fearful God and the loving God.”

Mr Spillane denied kissing the neck of a 12-year-old girl while hearing her confession in 1979 when he was acting parish priest at St Anthony’s in Marsfield. ”That’s not part of the sacrament.” His trial continues.

Family priest was doing ‘things I didn’t like’, court told

David Marr

November 4, 2010

Brian Spillane put his hands around the throat of a 12-year-old girl before indecently assaulting her in her family’s kitchen, the District Court in Sydney has been told.

The first of four complainants has begun giving evidence in the trial of the former priest Brian Joseph Spillane who faces 11 charges of indecent assault on girls as young as six. His defence counsel, Philip Boulten, SC, said this incident in a Moree kitchen in the 1970s was ”totally denied”.

The priest, who taught the girl’s brothers at a Catholic boarding school in Bathurst, had come to stay at the family home for a few days while her father was away, the complainant said. Her father had health problems. Her mother was active in the local parish.

When the priest asked her to ”give him a cuddle” she sat on his lap. But she jumped up when he put his hand ”very forcefully” between her legs. He then forced her towards the stove. ”I was very frightened. He was then pushing into my bottom from behind. I was frozen with fear.”

She said he stopped when the screen door banged shut and her sister came into the kitchen. She told the jury that within weeks or months she had told her brother Mr Spillane ”was pushing me and doing things I didn’t like and I was very frightened”.

The complainant, now in her 40s, admitted that some of the surrounding facts were hazy in her memory after all these years. ”I suggest it didn’t happen at all,” Mr Boulten said.

”Yes it did,” she replied.

Also giving evidence was her brother who was unable to recall exactly what his sister had told him at the time. ”I might be a bit vague on dates and times but the words she said have stuck in my mind all my life,” he said.

A second complainant against Mr Spillane is expected to give evidence today.

Priests and justice


January 9, 2010

After two years of investigation, charges of pedophilia at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, are moving to trial. David Marr reports.

One winter day a couple of years ago, a troubled man walked the streets of Bathurst, handing out leaflets accusing a priest of sexual abuse. Tor Steven Nielsen’s life was a mess. A few weeks before this dash to Bathurst he had posted on his website a grim résumé of his 35 years: “As it stands now I am a convicted criminal who has been certified as delusional.

“I have no education, no house, no job, no job references, no licence, no car, no super, no savings. To this day, they are putting Drugs in my food and I find it very distressing . . . my life has been completely destroyed.”

Twenty years earlier, Nielsen had boarded for a few terms at Bathurst’s St Stanislaus College, where he was sexually abused by a teacher. Nielsen eventually complained to the police. The teacher confessed and went to prison. When suing the school for damages afterwards, Nielsen made and then dropped quite separate allegations against the school’s chaplain. This was the man his leaflets attacked in the winter of 2007: Father Brian Joseph Spillane.

The investigation Bathurst police began in the aftermath of Nielsen’s visit to the city has led to nine former staff of St Stanislaus College being charged with sexual abuse. Greg Walsh, the solicitor defending most of them, says: “This would have to be one of the biggest sexual assault cases in Australian history.” Walsh speaks of a witch hunt against the teachers. “Religious people are so easily tainted these days,” he says. “It is easy to make allegations and so hard to disprove them.”

All 200-plus charges against the men are contested. None has pleaded guilty. Five have been committed for trial. The first trials are scheduled for March. The cases of the other four priests will be back before the courts over the next couple of months. Whether they proceed to trial has yet to be decided. All nine men remain innocent until a dozen or more juries decide otherwise. None of them face charges of abusing Tor Nielsen.

Bathurst is a town of boarding schools: one Anglican, one Presbyterian and St Stanislaus, the oldest Catholic boarding school in Australia. Nielsen was a 12-year-old at Nowra High in 1985 when his parents decided to send him boarding. “During that year I went with my father to Bathurst to look at three boarding schools,” he later posted on his website, The Catholic Cover Up. “I preferred All Saints because it was Co Ed but Saint Stanislaus was the cheapest so I went there.”

The school has been run by the Vincentian Fathers since 1889. The order and the school are close. Old boys join the order and return to St Stanislaus as priests and brothers, so spending most of their lives in those brown-brick classrooms topped with spires and corrugated iron. There’s a list of distinguished old boys. Farmers out west look back on their time at Stannies with fierce affection. But that fondness is not shared by all who went there. Boarding schools have that effect.

Nielsen’s year at the school was miserable. His abuse began after a game of strip poker. The teacher was not a member of the Vincentians but a lay teacher. The abuse occurred in the town. Quite separately, Nielsen attended night prayers with a number of other boys in Father Spillane’s room. The school’s charismatic chaplain, then in his mid-40s, was a man known for his intense devotion to his faith.

Each time Nielsen ran away, his parents took him back to Bathurst. He was often in trouble. A few weeks before the end of the year, he was expelled. By his own account what followed was a life of dead-end jobs, heavy use of marijuana, financial problems, court convictions and several attempts at suicide. He came to believe he was being hypnotised and poisoned. Behind all his woes he saw the hand of the Catholic Church: “They have been interfering with my life ever since I was 13 years old.”

The teacher’s imprisonment, and the cash settlement that followed, did not end the matter for Neilsen. He wanted action against Spillane. In June 2007, he posted on his website a long memoir, “Sexual and Mental Abuse @ Saint Stanislaus College in Bathurst”, that made a number of serious allegations of abuse against Spillane who had, by this time, left the school and was about to leave the priesthood to marry.

Nielsen’s memoir provoked some spirited abuse on his website over the next few weeks. “This is absolute bullshit,” posted one anonymous correspondent. “I go to Stannies now and my dad went to Stannies back then and he thinks u r a f—wit.” But as far as Nielsen could tell, his claims were not provoking any official action. So he took his bundle of leaflets to Bathurst. He said: “It was my last resort.”

Bathurst police set up Operation Heador, under the command of Detective Superintendent Michael Goodwin, to investigate Spillane. The initial legwork was done by Detective Justin Hadley. The last months of 2007 saw little progress. “But in 2008,” Goodwin told the Herald, “some of the information was corroborated.” Four other men had accused Spillane of sexually assaulting them while they were at the college.

Spillane was quietly arrested in May 2008 and charged with 33 counts of abuse. Nothing of this appeared in the media. “We were trying to keep a lid on it,” says Goodwin. By this time, police were pursuing other allegations against other priests. But in August that year, Channel Seven broke the story. Dramatic claims of abuse of children as young as 11 were reported around the world.

Police were furious. “But a lot more allegations came forward,” says Goodwin. Operation Heador became Operation Belle. “This involved three full-time detectives in Bathurst with assistance from the State Crime Command plus at various times detectives from Sydney.”

More arrests followed. In September 2008, the school’s former headmaster, Father Peter Dwyer, and a former dormitory supervisor, Brother John Gaven, were charged with abuse of students. At the same time, Spillane was charged with another 60 offences, bringing the total he faced to 93.

Greg Walsh, speaking for his clients Spillane and Gaven, declared: “These men are innocent. The allegations are bizarre and have arisen under very suspicious circumstances.” He assured the media scrum around the Bathurst court that all the charges would be defended. “We are seeing here examples of mass hysteria. Moral panic.”

In December, three more men were arrested. One was Father Greg Cooney, a former chaplain at the school and now the Provincial – or head – of the Vincentian Order in Australia. Only weeks earlier, Cooney had been defending the order’s handling of abuse allegations. Now he found himself in the cells at Ryde police station.

Walsh met his client there. “Some months before his arrest, the police had sought and been given the records of the order,” he says. “These should have alerted them to the fact that Cooney was in Rome in the years one of the ex-students was alleging abuse at his hands.” Superintendent Goodwin confirms that Cooney was set free after showing police his passport. No charges were laid.

In these weeks, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions decided to cut Nielsen loose. Though his complaints had provoked the investigation of the St Stanislaus teachers, his evidence would not be part of the prosecution case. As a result, 20 charges against Spillane were to be withdrawn. Goodwin talked the situation through with Nielsen. “He was very upset.”

But as the 20 were withdrawn in December 2008, another 44 were laid against Spillane. Then in August last year, following further work by Operation Belle, another 29 charges against the former chaplain were laid, bringing the total at that time to 146.

Opposing bail in the Downing Centre Local Court that month, prosecutor Beth Walker said: “In my submission, your honour, the brief of evidence paints a picture of rampant pedophilia.” Spillane pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was granted bail.

Police are not saying the work of Operation Belle is over. Last year a former teacher known as Witness A began to assist police. Four more priests long retired from St Stanislaus were arrested and charged with abusing boys. One of the arrested was a priest in Mackay. Another a travel agent in Tasmania. Four of the new charges date back half a century.

The St Stanislaus prosecutions are still evolving. Fresh allegations could lead to fresh charges. Charges already laid may be dropped. Magistrates may decide not to send to trial the four men now facing committal.

But at this point, five priests, two ex-priests, one brother and one lay teacher have been charged with more than 200 offences committed between 1961 and 1991 against 46 children. The nine men are contesting all the charges.

James Patrick Jennings, 75.

An old boy of the school, Jennings became a Vincentian priest and returned briefly to St Stanislaus to teach from 1959 to 1961. After departing the school he spent 14 years in schools and parishes before leaving the priesthood to marry. He faces four charges of indecently assaulting the one male in 1961. His trial is due to begin on March 1.

Hugh Edward Murray OAM, 79.

A former priest awarded an Order of Australia medal in 1994 for service to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, Murray was teaching at the college in 1978. He faces one charge of assaulting a young male that year. Another charge relates to assaulting a young male at Ryde a decade earlier. Three further charges relate to another young male he is accused of assaulting between 1967 and 1972. His committal hearing is due to resume on February 17.

Father William Stanley Irwin, 54.

A former teacher at the school, Irwin is charged with two counts of gross indecency with a boy he brought on a visit to St Stanislaus in 1986. Irwin was counselling the boy following earlier sexual abuse by another man in Victoria. When arrested late last year, Irwin was chaplain at St Aloysius College, Milsons Point. His case will be next mentioned in the Downing Centre Local Court on February 11.

Father Kevin Phillips, 59.

Phillips appears to have worked at the college only briefly in 1990 as a priest, sports coach and part-time teacher. He faces eight charges of abuse of two boys and one of supplying drugs to a pupil. At the time of his arrest, Phillips was a priest in charge of several parishes in the Rockhampton diocese in Queensland. His case is due to be mentioned next in the Downing Centre Local Court on February 25.

Father Phil Robson, 62.

The master of discipline and a member of the school’s board, Robson is charged with five counts of sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy in the last months of 1991. When arrested he was living in a Vincentian home for retired and semi-retired priests in Sydney. His committal proceeding resumes at the Downing Centre Local Court on February 22.

Rick McPhillamy, 50.

An assistant dormitory master, he is charged with indecently assaulting one student on two occasions in 1985. His trial is due to begin on March 15.

Father Peter Dwyer, 67.

An old boy, Dwyer returned to the college as a Vincentian brother to teach music in about 1972. By the end of the decade he was the school’s headmaster. He faces a dozen charges of abuse, most with a 13-year old boy in 1982. Police allege Dwyer “fondled and masturbated” the boy’s penis and had intercourse with him without consent. After leaving the college in 1992, Dwyer worked at the main Catholic seminary in Sydney and became a priest with a parish in Armidale. His trial begins on April 27.

Brother John Gaven, 68.

A keen rugby referee, Gaven joined the staff of the college as a dormitory supervisor in the mid-1970s. A decade later he was vice-principal of the school. He faces about 37 charges of abuse involving five boys in the 1980s. Most allege he kissed, caressed and masturbated several young boys in a group. It is also alleged he “rubbed his erect penis” against the chest of a 13-year old. He also faces three charges of homosexual intercourse with a pupil.

Gaven retired after 30 years in schools and seminaries. Recently he has been assisting the Vincentians’ work among men living with HIV/AIDS. He has been committed for trial and will be formally arraigned at the Downing Centre Local Court on January 29.

Father Brian Spillane, 66.

In his first stint at the college from 1968 to 1978, Spillane was the school’s dean of discipline. From those years, he faces about 30 charges, mainly of indecent assault of about eight boys.

In the late 1970s, Spillane was transferred by the Vincentians to the Sydney parish of St Anthony’s, Marsfield. From his few years there he faces about eight charges of indecent assault of three little girls – one aged seven or eight.

Spillane returned to St Stanislaus as the school’s chaplain from 1984 to 1990. From those years he faces about 90 further charges. These include indecent assault, homosexual intercourse, inciting a person under authority to commit an act of indecency, and sexual intercourse without consent.

Another 22 charges Spillane had been facing were dropped during committal proceedings late last year. He will be arraigned with Gaven on January 29.

His solicitor, Greg Walsh, has foreshadowed that he will make an application at that time for a permanent stay of the proceedings. Walsh argues that the evidence against Spillane has been tainted by Tor Nielsen’s website.

“I’ve been in enough cases to know you can have a mass contaminated case,” Walsh says. “This case brings to light the dangers of the internet and modern communication, and this will be at the forefront of the application.”

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Former teacher says he witnessed sexual assaults


September 2, 2009

A FORMER school teacher has emerged as a key witness to the alleged sexual assaults of students, amid allegations that paint a picture of ”rampant pedophilia” at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst.

The allegations, including that students were forced to have group sex and were hypnotised to have sex with teachers, were heard during a bail review for Brian Joseph Spillane, a former chaplain at the school.

Spillane, 66, is now facing 146 charges of indecent and sexual assault against 27 alleged victims after he was charged on Monday with 32 offences.

The alleged offences occurred between 1971 and 1989, when Spillane was both employed as a priest at St Stanislaus College and in the broader community, the court heard. Several witnesses have accused Spillane of indecently assaulting them in the confessional at St Anthony’s Parish.

He is one of nine former priests or teachers at St Stanislaus and All Saints’ College in Bathurst to be charged with historical sex offences.

Spillane, who succeeded yesterday in remaining on bail, has strongly denied the allegations.

The teacher, known only as ”Witness A”, allegedly saw Spillane sexually abusing and indecently assaulting various students during prayer sessions. He also allegedly witnessed Spillane engaging in ”brief sexual activity” with students in a shower block.

The evidence of Witness A brought ”power support” to other allegations, prosecutor Beth Walker told a Downing Centre Local Court, before strongly opposing bail.

”In my submission, your honour, the brief of evidence paints a picture of rampant pedophilia,” she said.

The prosecution did not believe Witness A had ”an axe to grind” against Spillane or other teachers at the school, Ms Walker said. She said Spillane could not be charged in relation to complaints by 14 other witnesses, some because they occurred interstate.

One witness alleged Spillane took part with him in anal intercourse and ”group rape”. However, when he reported it to the school’s then priest and college president, Peter Dwyer, he was sent for a psychiatric assessment at Rivendell, an adolescent mental health ward attached to Concord Hospital, the court heard.

Dwyer has pleaded not guilty to charges of the sexual assault of students in the 1980s.

Spillane is also alleged to have indecently assaulted two sisters in their bed at their home on separate occasions, simulating or attempting to have sexual intercourse with them.

The court also heard that another former priest from St Stanislaus College had signed a typed admission to ”hypnotising” boys in 1967 for the purpose of having sexual intercourse with teachers.

The magistrate, Jane Culver, granted bail to Spillane but imposed harsher conditions, including that he report daily to police and not be involved with any child under the age of 16, except for relatives. His surety was also increased from $10,000 to $20,000.

Spillane’s lawyer, Phillip Boulten, SC, argued that the case against his client had been tainted due to media reports and the publication of allegations on an alleged victim’s website.

Spillane has been excused from appearing when his case is next in court in November.

Students ‘hypnotised for sex’ at St Stanislaus

STUDENTS at prestigious Catholic boys St Stanislaus College school were hypnotised into having sex with teachers, a court heard yesterday.

One of those teachers, former St Stanislaus College chaplain Brian Spillane, yesterday faced a fight for his freedom as additional charges were laid, bringing the total to 146.

The court heard how a former teacher had handed police “typed and signed admissions” from a St Stanislaus staffer that he had in fact hypnotised boys for the purposes of having sex with them in 1967.

The Crown said evidence would corroborate the claims from some of Spillane’s victims that they were hypnotised by him.

Spillane, one of nine former teachers charged, is accused of indecent and sexual assaults at the school between 1971 and 1990 against 27 victims – three of whom were girls in the parish.

Crown Prosecutor Beth Walker yesterday asked the Downing Centre Local Court to refuse bail on the new charges and revoke bail granted on the existing ones.

“In my submission, the brief of evidence presents a picture of rampant paedophilia,” she said.

Spillane, 66, has yet to enter any pleas to the charges.

In new evidence, Magistrate Jane Culver was told of an informant, “Witness A”, who had told police of seeing Spillane involved in sex acts with “various students” during prayer sessions.

Witness A has also told of seeing Spillane engaging in sexual activity with students in a shower block.

Prosecutor Ms Walker rejected any suggestion the informant had “an axe to grind”.

She argued the case was an extremely strong one and said there was significant corroborative evidence.

Magistrate Culver said while recent material and the full brief did in fact paint an alarming picture, Spillane “doesn’t appear to have engaged in any recent paedophilia activity” since the last allegation of 1989.

She continued bail and ordered Spillane’s wife to provide another $10,000 surety.

Paedophilia rampant at Bathurst schools, court told

THE evidence against former NSW priests accused of historical sexual assaults painted “a picture of rampant paedophilia” in Bathurst schools, a court heard today as one fights for his liberty.

A former Father at St Stanislaus College, Brian Joseph Spillane has been charged with a fourth round of offences relating to alleged sexual assaults at the prestigious school.

The charges relate to alleged sexual assaults on students at the school more than 20 years ago.

A number of the men charged were members of the Vincentian Order on the staff at the college in the 1970s and 1980s.

Spillane is now accused of a total of 146 charges of indecency and sexual abuse against 27 victims – three of whom were girls.

Crown Prosecutor Beth Walker today asked a Downing Centre Local Court to refuse bail on the new charges and revoke bail granted on the old ones.

“In my submission, the brief of evidence presents a picture of rampant paedophilia,” she said, citing a string of corroborating witness statements.

So far Strike Force Belle, set up to investigate the claims, has charged nine priests with historical sexual and indecent assaults.

Spillane’s barrister Philip Boulten SC is expected to mount a heavy case for his client to remain on bail this afternoon.

The hearing continues before Magistrate Jane Culver.,22049,24347414-5001021,00.html

St Stanislaus College police investigation explodes

Article from:

By Gemma Jones in Bathurst

September 15, 2008 12:03pm

THE police paedophile investigation into St Stanislaus College in Bathurst has exploded with 40 alleged victims of just one of the charged men, a court heard this morning.

Bathurst Local Court was told that there were more than 100 statements by former students.

At least 40 of those former students were referred to as complainants of just one of the three charged priests and brothers.

The complaints are against former school chaplain Brian Spillane, who today pleaded not guilty to 93 child sex charges.

Dressed in a dark suit, brown tie and brimmed hat, the former priest from Sydney arrived at the court just before 9.30am with his lawyer Greg Walsh.

Brother John Gaven, 66 and Father Peter Dwyer were listed but did not have to appear.

Gaven and Dwyer are facing 32 child sex charges between them, with complaints against them boosting the alleged count of 40 even further.

Outside the court the 35-year-old South Coast man who last year went to Bathurst to hand out flyers detailing alleged abuse, sparking the investigation, said he was relieved.

He went to the central west NSW town believing he had exhausted all other avenues to have the matters investigated.

“I think the cover-up was appalling,” he said.

“I think it is good finally people are looking at it.”

Just before the alleged victim spoke St Stanislaus old boy and Bathurst defence lawyer Mark Ireland said he’s supporting the school.

“Not one person I have spoken to believes this happened,” Mr Ireland said, before adding: “We’re not sitting on either side of the fence.”

He said the association and the school were supporting the police investigation.

Outside court Mr Walsh called the case a “witch hunt” before saying the police case against his clients was contaminated.

The matter was adjourned until November 10.

Alleged sex offenders to face court today

15/09/2008 8:16:00 AM

A FORMER president of St Stanislaus’ College and former teaching priest and brother will answer a total of 125 charges in Bathurst Local Court today.

The charges relate to alleged sexual assaults on students at the school more than 20 years ago.

All three of the men charged were members of the Vincentian Order on the staff at the college in the 1970s and 1980s.

The former president and brother now a priest, Peter William Dwyer, 65, of Armidale, former priest Brian Joseph Spillane, 65 of Riverwood and former brother John Francis Gaven, 66, of Marsfield

All had charges laid against them by special Chifley Command Strike Force Belle.

They were charged by the strike force formed by Chifley Command with NSW Crime Command Sydney, established to investigate an alleged paedophile ring at St Stanislaus’.

Spillane was the first of the three charged on 33 sexual assault counts related to five students. He appeared before Bathurst Local Court in mid-July.

Earlier this month, Spillane had an additional 60 charges laid against him alleging sexual assault of another eight victims, a total of 93 charges related to 13 former students.

The original charges against Spillane related to alleged homosexual intercourse between a teacher and pupils aged 11, 12 and 13 years of age and allegedly inciting males to commit acts of gross indecency.

Some offences allegedly relate to an 11-year-old between March and May 1986, others to a 12-year-old between March and November 1986 and a 13-year-old in March and between June and July, 1986.

The charges allege that Spillane, the former school chaplain and teacher, committed sexual assaults late at night and early in the morning.

Former bursar, Brother Gaven, is facing 28 charges alleging homosexual intercourse with males between 10 and 16 years and 10-18 years, gross acts of indecency male on male under 18 years, homosexual intercourse with males 10-18 under authority and by a teacher, acts of indecency male with male and indecent assault on a male person.

The former college president, former brother Peter Dwyer who is now a priest, has been charged with four offences the details of which have not yet been revealed by police.


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Mother relieved by stalker Christopher Niehus’s jail sentence

by: Andrew Dowdell

From: Sunday Mail (SA)

April 21, 2012 10:00PM

A YOUNG mother says she is relieved the man who sexually abused and stalked her is serving a prison sentence.

Adele Bloor was 14 when she was involved in a two-year sexual relationship with Christopher Michael Niehus from 2003.

In November 2007, former District Court judge Marie Shaw gave Niehus a three-year suspended prison term after he pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse.

The sentencing led to Family First MP Dennis Hood calling in Parliament for Judge Shaw’s sacking – comments that he later retracted.

Ms Bloor, 23, said she had hoped the sentencing would end her ordeal but within days Niehus was again contacting her via email and Facebook.

“Some of the emails would report where I had parked my car and things like that, so I knew he’d been following or watching what I had been doing,” Ms Bloor said.

“After that initial sentence he seemed to think that was justification for what he had done and believed that the judge had said he hadn’t done anything wrong.

“If in 2007, had the judge given him some jail time I think it might have been a bit different – maybe he would have accepted that it was not acceptable or normal behaviour.”

Niehus, 35, also escaped going to jail when convicted of possession of child pornography in 2008.

Last November he was convicted of the aggravated stalking of Ms Bloor and earlier this month he was sentenced to a total of 29 months with a non-parole period of 18 months by Adelaide magistrate Sue O’Connor.

The sentence took into account the stalking and pornography charges and numerous breaches of bail conditions that stipulated he was not to contact Ms Bloor.

In rejecting an appeal for the sentence on the stalking charges last week, Supreme Court judge Tom Gray said Niehus’ “obsession with the victim appears to have extended over some years and the defendant’s conduct suggested a total disregard for the orders of the Court”.

Ms Bloor – who has moved interstate with her husband and two young children – said she hoped that she would never see Niehus again.

“I constantly worry about what he’s going to do when he gets out; even if it doesn’t involve me, I can’t imagine him changing those behaviours because they’ve gone on so long and been constant and ingrained,” she said.

Sex stalker Christopher Niehus threatens victim with tell-all book

by: Court Reporter Hannah Silverman
From: The Advertiser
November 28, 2011 12:00AM

SEX predator Christopher Niehus stalked his victim by threatening to publish a tell-all book.

Niehus will spend Christmas behind bars, after Magistrate David Whittle found him guilty of stalking the victim of his illicit affair.

Niehus was proven to have sent an identical threatening email to his victim and her husband via Facebook.

Niehus told them he was writing a book and wanted to include details of the victim, who at the time was preparing a court statement relating to his previous charges of unlawful sexual intercourse.

“I’m in the process of writing a book about the last 6-7 years of my life, court, yourself, etc and needed to clarify a few dates and facts,” Niehus’s message read.

“For example, first time we met in person … sex first time, the days and times … bail breaches and aid and abetting of the restraining order etc.

“I’ve put up by utter crap written by you, the husband, etc on forums and rubbish written in newspapers, it’s time I laid the facts out and told people the truth. That way they can make up their own minds.”

Magistrate Whittle declared Niehus an unreliable and uncredible witness.

In 2007, Niehus was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse – he was 27 and his victim was 14 – and given a three-year suspended sentence. In May 2008 he received a suspended sentence for child pornography possession.

His latest conviction means he will be sentenced not only for his recent crime, but face time for breaching the bonds imposed for his suspended sentences.

Mr Whittle revoked Niehus’s bail. He will return to court next month.,22606,23728960-5006301,00.html

 Controversial sex predator Christopher Niehus avoids jail – again

Article from:


May 20, 2008 12:15pm

A SEXUAL predator who sparked controversy between a judge and a politician has been placed on a bond for pornography offences.

Christopher Michael Niehus appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court today and admitted possessing child pornography.

The 31-year-old, of Paradise, made headlines in November when he was sentenced, in the District Court, for having sex with an underage girl.

Judge Marie Shaw suspended his three-year prison term and ordered he perform 150 hours of community service.

She said the pair met on the Internet, then embarked on what the court called a “consensual” sexual relationship from 2002 to 2005.

“I consider that you have well and truly learned your lesson,” she told Niehus in sentencing.

Judge Shaw’s decision was criticised as by Niehus’ victim, Adele Black.

It also attracted the ire of Family First MLC Dennis Hood, who called for her to be sacked.

In December, he “unreservedly withdrew” his comments and apologised.

Today, the Adelaide Magistrates Court ordered Niehus serve six months’ jail for possessing child pornography.

That sentence was suspended, however, on condition he enter into a two-year, $200 good behaviour bond.

Sex abuse victim disgusted with sentence

Posted Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:33pm AEDT
Updated Thu Nov 22, 2007 6:11pm AED

A female who was sexually abused from the age of 14 over a three-year period has expressed disgust at a suspended jail sentence given to the offender.

A Bordertown man, journalist Christopher Michael Niehus, 31, was almost double the girl’s age when he started having sex with her in late 2002.

Niehus has been given a suspended three-year prison term, with a two-year good behaviour bond and 150 hours of community service by Adelaide District Court Judge Marie Shaw.

Outside the court, the now 18-year-old victim said Niehus should have been made to serve time in prison and complete a treatment program for sex offenders.

Adele Black has agreed to be identified now that she is an adult.

“I mean he walks home today and I have to go home and deal with the effects of what he’s done,” she said.

Remove judge, urges Upper House MP

SA Family First MP Dennis Hood is also critical of the judgment.

“Abusing a young girl, a 14-year-old girl and the sentence is 150 hours community service,” he said.

He is calling for Judge Shaw’s work to be scrutinised.

“Review all of her judgments, all of the sentencings she’s made in the last three-year period,” he urged.

Mr Hood has also criticised the judge’s decision to outline the child victim’s sexual history in court.

In State Parliament, Mr Hood urged the Police Minister, on behalf of the Attorney-General, to act against the judge.

“When will the Minister call for a joint sitting of parliament to remove Judge Marie Shaw, South Australia’s softest judge, from office?” he asked.

“Secondly, if the Government will not do this, what possible reason can there be to allow Judge Shaw to continue to hear cases and hand down grossly inadequate sentences to hardened criminals?”

Victims commissioner wants DPP to review sex case sentence

Posted 10 hours 44 minutes ago

Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has criticised a Family First MP’s attack in the South Australian Parliament on an Adelaide District Court judge.

Upper House MP Dennis Hood has accused Judge Marie Shaw of repeatedly handing down inadequate sentences.

He has called on the Government to hold a joint sitting of Parliament to vote on removing Judge Shaw from office.

The Courts Administration Authority says Mr Hood has used incorrect information to back up his claims, relying on cases where the accused were not found guilty.

Mr Atkinson says Mr Hood’s response has been over the top.

“I’m sure Mr Hood knows the rules. If he wants to remove Judge Shaw then he moves a motion with a view to obtaining the support of both houses of parliament,” he said.

“He hasn’t done that. Instead he’s chosen to run it in the way he has and he really should know better.

“I think it’s perhaps aggravated by the imminence of a federal election on Saturday. In the calm light of next week, after the November 24 election, the DPP will no doubt look at the facts.”

Victims of Crime Commissioner Michael O’Connell says he will ask the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to consider appealing against the sentence which sparked Mr Hood’s criticism yesterday.

Christopher Michael Niehus was given a three-year suspended jail sentence by Judge Shaw for sexually abusing a girl from the age of 14.

Mr O’Connell says he does not want to comment in detail on the case.

“It’s my intention to write to the Director of Public Prosecutions asking him to consider an appeal on the basis that the sentence may not be adequate in terms of sending a strong message to the community that this type of behaviour is unacceptable,” he said.


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