Salesian "preyed on ill pupils"

A priest who taught at a Melbourne college in the 1970s preyed on 10 sick teenagers while they recovered in the school infirmary, a court has heard.

CLICK HEREThe Age reports that Frank Gerard Klep has pleaded guilty in the County Court to 13 charges of unlawful and indecent assault. He was a teacher at the Salesian order's Rupertswood College in Sunbury when he sexually abused the boys, aged between 12 and 17.

Crown prosecutor Carolyn Burnside told Friday's plea hearing that Klep's victims were boarders and that he assaulted them while they were in the infirmary. He was then in charge of students in the infirmary.

One victim, 15, said he was fondled by Klep and that Klep gave him oral sex, then told him he would get into trouble if he told anyone. Another boy, 16, was trying to sleep when he felt his pants being pulled down. Klep then used a sponge to clean his penis. The court heard that one 12-year-old who was in the infirmary because he had measles, remembered Klep staring at his penis, telling him he was "looking for spots".

Yesterday Klep's defence counsel, Julie Sutherland, said he might be expelled from his religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, on sentencing. The order had already banned Klep from performing priestly duties.

Klep had been convicted of indecent assault and sentenced to a nine-month intensive correction order in 1994. More complaints arose following media coverage of that case.

Ms Sutherland said Klep was first interviewed about the allegations in 1996. Two years later he was sent to Samoa, to work at a theological college. He was charged in 1998, a month after going there. Klep was arrested on his return to Melbourne in June 2004.

The hearing, before Judge Frances Hogan, was adjourned until this week. Klep's bail was extended.

Priest preyed on ill pupils (The Age 10/12/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Salesians Australia
Towards Healing (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)

Salesian in court on 29 child sex charges (CathNews 30/3/05)
Abuser 'not moved to avoid police' (CathNews 31/7/04)
Salesians 'knew of Klep allegations' (CathNews 29/6/04)
Salesian arrested at Melbourne Airport (CathNews 28/6/04)
Fr Klep being deported from Samoa (CathNews 25/6/04)

Molesting priest breached trust (ABC News 9/12/05)
Priest admits abuse (Herald-Sun 10/12/05)
Pedophile priest preyed on sick (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 9/12/05)
Church commits to child safety as first trainers qualify (catholicireland.net 7/12/05)

12 Dec 2005