Catholic Blames Senior Cleric For Sexual Abuse Cycle

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A Catholic brother convicted of child abuse has described how a senior clergyman lured him to molest boys. Rory Callinan and Rick Feneley investigate.

Brother Bernard McGrath was a young trainee in the St John of God order when, as he recalls it, a superior brother approached him.

''Come here Bernard. You know I am gay. Come and give me a kiss,'' he alleges the brother said.

Days later, the same superior brother, Rodger Moloney, an Australian, again approached McGrath, calling him into his office at the Marylands School for boys with learning and intellectual disabilities in Christchurch.

There in the office was ''some poor kid'', alleges McGrath, who claimed he was then invited to watch while Moloney - his scholastic master and the Marylands prior - molested the boy. Moloney then asked him to participate. The boy was fondled, not raped.

This would be the first of many horrific encounters with Moloney and children at the school in the 1970s, according to notes in a never-before-revealed account of McGrath's experiences that were sighted by Fairfax Media.

The revelations made by McGrath in 2002 to the order's then head, Brother Peter Burke, and documented by psychologist Dr Michelle Mulvihill, raise serious questions about the order's handling of abuse allegations and attitude to McGrath's alleged tormentor, Moloney, over decades.

They also provide a disturbing glimpse into life among the brothers in the order's home in New Zealand and shed light on claims of abuse that have emerged relating to the order's Australian operations.

McGrath's association with abuse should have been well known to the order as he had previously been convicted in New South Wales in 1993 for abusing a boy at the order's Kendall Grange school at Morisset on the central coast in the 1980s.

Yet it was not until 2002 - nine years later - that the order called him in to ask him about his role in abuse and discuss suspicions about Moloney, even though such fears were first raised in the 1970s.

Moloney, now 77, emphatically denied McGrath's claims at the time and continues to strongly contest them, the order says.

Police went on to arrest Moloney and two fellow brothers in Australia in 2003 in relation to the abuse documented by McGrath in the order's home in New Zealand.

But the order, despite having been informed of McGrath's observations, would then spend years - and hundreds of thousands of dollars - helping Moloney fight against his extradition to New Zealand. Moloney lost in 2006 and was convicted two years later.

He served a year in jail in New Zealand from 2008 for abusing five boys at Marylands but he is now back in St John of God's care in NSW and remains a brother of the order.

Last week, the order's current Provincial Brother Timothy Graham said: ''Brother Rodger Moloney declines to comment personally on the allegations.''

Read More:  Catholic Blames Senior Cleric For Sexual Abuse Cycle

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