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Victorian Christian brother avoids jail

An 81-year-old Christian brother who sexually assaulted four boys at Melbourne Catholic schools in the 1960s yesterday received a suspended sentence.

The Age reportst that Br Keith William Weston pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault on boys aged 12 to 14 at Parade College in Alphington and St Joseph's College in Pascoe Vale South between 1964 and 1968.

In three cases, Weston ordered a boy into his office before telling him to remove his shorts and underwear and molesting him.

The fourth charge related to a sexual assault through a pupil's clothes.

Describing the attacks as a gross betrayal of trust, Victorian County Court Judge Barton Stott said Weston would normally face a jail term after taking "selfish advantage" of pupils under his care.

"Each boy was in awe of your authority and ill at ease with your conduct," he said.

But Judge Stott said Weston, now of Tugun, Queensland, was elderly and in poor health, suffering prostate cancer, the early stages of dementia, anxiety and depression, bronchitis and cardiac arrhythmia.

He imposed a two-and-a-half year jail term, suspended for two years. Indecent assault carries a maximum penalty of 10 years jail.

Outside court, a victim now aged in his 50s said Weston had waited until last week to plead guilty despite the first complaint being laid in 1996.

"It's taken 30 years for times to change and another eight years to catch him, so if you ask me how I'm feeling I don't know," the victim said after the sentence.

"He's now a convicted criminal so I'm happy with that."

Christian Br avoids jail (The Age/AAP 29/11/04)

School abuser walks free (The Australian/AAP 29/11/04)

John L Allen: Debate over norms governing cases of priest sexual abuse reopens (National Catholic Reporter 27/11/04)
Mildura Abuse Victims to launch action (Online Catholics 24/11/04)
Sins of the monsignor (The Australian 20/11/04)
Broken Rites Victim Support Group
St Columba's teacher facing child porn charges (Blue Mountains Gazette 17/11/04)

30 Nov 2004