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Brothers face extradition to NZ to face abuse charges

Three St John of God brothers, aged 56, 67 and 81, will be extradited from Australia to New Zealand to face charges of sexual abuse committed in Christchurch up to 50 years ago.

NZ Police laid 47 charges against the Brothers on Thursday after investigating complaints made by 39 former pupils of the Marylands Residential School.

A fourth, former St John of God brother, now living in northern Queensland, has already returned voluntarily to face 10 sex charges.

Police asked the brothers to return voluntarily, before starting extradition proceedings. A lawyer in Sydney, paid for by St John of God, is advising the three brothers how to proceed.

The Order was saying little, except that it has been co-operating with the police investigations and had no prior knowledge of the arrest warrants.

"Now that the proceedings are officially in the Christchurch District Court, there is nothing further I can say on the matter," said Brother Peter Burke, the Australasian head of the order.

Another former brother, Bernard Kevin McGrath, 56, of Christchurch, who faces 33 charges relating to alleged sexual abuse of boys at Marylands, has also been remanded to a separate two-week depositions hearing in February.

The order, which has already paid out more than $NZ4 million to 56 complainants, said its "pastoral process" will continue, unaffected by the criminal proceedings.

Another 17 men have received offers in the last month and half have accepted.

Catholic brothers to be charged with sex abuse (NZ Herald 29/11/03)
Religious brothers face extradition (The Age/AAP 28/11/03)

Order head says give abuse victims benefit of doubt (CathNews 14/10/03)
John of God Order condemns tactics of NZ law firm (6/8/03)
Sex abuse complainant admits lying to get payout (3/7/03)
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)

Liberal may rebel on abuse vote (The Examiner 1/12/03)
Boston Archdiocese on the Path of Healing (Zenit 28/11/03)
Church seeks limits on contraceptive law (Boston Globe 30/11/03)
In death, Geoghan triggers another crisis (The Boston Globe 30/11/03)

31 Dec 2003