Jail for Melbourne Christian Brother

A Christian Brother will spend six months in jail for sexually assaulting 10 students at a Melbourne Catholic high school more than 30 years ago.

The Herald-Sun reports that Peter John Toomey, 56, was a year seven and eight teacher at Trinity Regional College in Brunswick in the 1970s.

He pleaded guilty to 10 counts of indecent assault in the County Court and was today sentenced to 27 months' jail, with 21 months suspended for three years.

Judge Meryl Sexton said Toomey was aged 23 when he called his young pupils up to his desk and fondled them.

She said the offences happened in 1972 and 1973 during an era where the boys feared corporal punishment if they reported the abuse.

"Each of the victims knew what was happening to the others as they were called up to your desk and were simply grateful that this time it wasn't them," Judge Sexton said.

"These are serious offences committed against the most vulnerable sector of our society - our children."

Judge Sexton told the court Toomey continued the sex assaults, even after one of boys reported the abuse.

She said she took into account Toomey's early guilty plea and his apology to the victims through his legal counsel.

She noted that Toomey entered a sexual rehabilitation program run by the Christian Brothers 26 years after the abuse and before the matter was investigated by police.

"In the circumstances I do accept you have displayed an ongoing commitment to rehabilitation," Judge Sexton said.

She said she accepted Toomey was remorseful for his crimes and that he no longer worked with children.

Judge Sexton also ordered Toomey to provide a saliva sample to police.

Christian Brother jailed (The Herald-Sun/Australian Associated Press 6/12/05)

Christian brother admits to 10 sex assaults on students (CathNews 24/11/05)

Teacher jailed for sex crimes (Herald-Sun 7/12/05)
Limerick diocese to deal with Bishop Casey probe (Irish Independent 6/12/05)
Catholic order takes blame for sex abuse (NZ Herald 2/12/05)
Brazil abuse findings denied (The Tablet 3/12/05)
Former Catholic Brother pleads guilty to abuse of boys (Radio New Zealand 1/12/05)
Priest sex scandal shocks Brazil (Sydney Morning Herald 29/11/05)
Sex predator's reign of terror (The Mercury 29/11/05)
John L. Allen: Sex abuse scandal in Brazil (National Catholic Reporter 25/11/05)

7 Dec 2005