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Court told dormitory brother preyed on homesick boarders

A Marist brother at Sydney's St Joseph's College would take his homesick students into his bed, where he would comfort them before indecently assaulting them, a court was told yesterday.

Four of the former pupils told Downing Centre Local Court how Br John Maguire, the year 7 dormitory master 20 years ago, preyed on them when they were distressed. Br John, now 54, has been charged with 19 offences, allegedly committed in 1983 and 1984 against eight boys, aged about 11. He has pleaded not guilty.

They said Br John would target boys who were homesick, sometimes telling them to lie on top of him. Some of the boys reported this to the headmaster, Br Joseph McMahon, but police did not become involved until the late 1990s.

Br John has admitted at a previous hearing that he cuddled boys when they were upset but denies it was of a sexual nature. He claims his accusers had lied to police and colluded with one another at a reunion in 1999.

Brother John remains on bail. The committal hearing continues.

Sydney Morning Herald


The choirmaster allegedly sacked from Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral over his association with a child sex offender yesterday expressed regret at launching legal action to regain his job.

David Russell said he had been left with little choice but to lodge the unfair dismissal application against the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

"I regret having to launch this action for unfair dismissal, but I have been forced to do so," Mr Russell told journalists outside the commission. "All I want is my job back, a job that I have held for 28 great years."

He was fired after allegations that convicted sex offender David O'Grady had committed offences in Mr Russell's inner-west home in the 1980s.

The victim, a former choir boy at the cathedral, was reportedly suing the church and Mr Russell for breach of duty of care, but Mr Russell said he was "totally unaware of such events".

The Australian

Music director lodges unfair dismissal application (ABC)
Former HK priest jailed for abuse (BBC)
Priest who warned bishops receives justice award (National Catholic Reporter)
Abuse scandal threatens to topple Dublin's cardinal (London Independent)
Bishop [Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of England and Wales] is press pawn (The Guardian)
[UK] Child protection team starts checks on staff (The Universe)
[New Hampshire] Abusive priest says church ignored his plea (AP)

18 Feb 2003