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Sex abuse complainant admits lying to get payout

A key complainant in the St John of God sex scandal in New Zealand has told the police he lied about being abused by religious brothers at a Catholic residential school.

Justin Todd Richardson - who appears to have spent a $A83,326 payout he received from the order - has been charged with laying a false complaint.

The 34-year-old foundry worker appeared in court yesterday on charges of making a false complaint of sodomy and indecent assault in a written statement to police. Richardson was charged after admitting to police that he fabricated his story.

He is one of 18 former boys from Marylands School in Halswell who have made sexual allegations against Bernard Kevin McGrath, a former brother facing 32 sex charges.

Police have charged McGrath, 56, with committing sexual offences against boys between 1968 and 1984, the year Marylands closed.

Seven other former Marylands brothers, now living in Australia, are also under police investigation. The order has paid $A3.5 million to 56 former Marylands boys, and the same amount to 24 Victorian men who alleged abuse by brothers while in residential care there.

"Everything he had said was untrue," said Detective Sergeant Earle Borrell, who heads the Marylands inquiry. "He told me that the worst thing was that he got homesick occasionally, otherwise it was OK.

"It makes it very difficult for the other genuine victims."

Australasian St John of God head Br Peter Burke said he was "shocked and angry" by Richardson's actions "and that's an understatement".


Priests face extradition over child sex claims (Courier-Mail)
Brothers quizzed on abuse claims (NZ Herald)
Brother suspended over sex claims (5/7/02)
St John of God Brothers to pay out $3.6 million (13/6/02)
Hospitaller Order of St John of God (Australia)

3 Jul 2003