Catholic Church accused of derailing Australian sex abuse inquiry

“PRO-CHURCH” members of the Australian police, in cahoots with top US Catholics, have been accused of derailing an investigation into a paedophile priest who fled to America where his is now under the protection of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Bernard Hartman

Brother Bernard Hartman, now performing clerical work under a ”safety plan” that ensures he had no contact with young people or vulnerable women, is accused of raping several young Victorian children and teenagers in the 1970s.

Interference with the case manifested itself, according to this report in The Age, with the removal of the police sergeant leading the investigation, who claims he was taken off the investigation after a complaint from a high-ranking Catholic official in the US.

In a letter sent last month to one of the alleged victims of Hartman the officer also accuses church officials in America of ”actively hindering” his inquiry.

The 26-year veteran of the police force, whom The Age has decided not to name, was removed from the Hartman case by a more senior officer last month, only days after the sergeant initiated proceedings to have the Marianist brother extradited to Australia.

The sergeant stated in his letter:

I fail to see why anyone would move such a sensitive investigation from a very experienced investigator of 26 years to … [a person who will most likely be] a young inexperienced member. One can only speculate on the motive.

He added:

I know there are many ‘pro-church’ police members throughout our organisation and I hope [the senior US Catholic official] is not canvassing them and pulling strings to derail the investigation.

The letter identifies the church official who complained about the sergeant to the force’s Ethical Standards Department as one of the Marianist order’s most powerful US officials, Brother Joseph Kamis. Said the officer:

I do not know exactly why [Kamis has complained], except perhaps to try to intimidate me in my determined pursuit of Hartman.

The letter also reveals that Hartman is refusing to co-operate with authorities, based on the advice of a lawyer who:

Has been less than co-operative and is actively hindering the investigation, seemingly on the instructions of the church.

The sergeant said:

I believe this person [Hartman] needs to be brought to justice as soon as possible and these developments are of great concern.

In his letter to the victim, the sergeant also reveals his concerns about the church’s:

Very long tentacles of influence.

Hartman, 73, is a former Melbourne-based Marianist brother who returned to his native United States after working in Catholic schools in Australia in the 1970s. US law enforcement agencies were asked earlier this year by Victoria Police to arrest and question him.

That request came after several more alleged victims and a witness came forward following a report by The Age in December that revealed Hartman’s 1999 written admission to Melbourne woman, Mairead Ashcroft, whom he allegedly abused when she was aged between eight and 11 years old.

Meanwhile, it is reported herethat Japan is asking itself whether a Catholic priest who had abused a number of children in that country between 1961 and 1974, was just the tip of an iceberg.

Serial abuser Patrick Maguire

According to a fellow priest, Father Patrick Maguire – who admitted abusing at least 13 boys, ten of them in 1973 – was allowed by the Church to:

Slip out of Japan quietly.

The reason for Maguire’s hasty exit  to was a “problem” involving “young male children”. There was also:

A danger that the weekly magazines would latch onto a thing like that and blow it up out of all proportions.

So, fearing adverse publicity, the Church spirited him back to Ireland. A 2009 investigation into clerical sex abuse in Ireland, the Murphy Report, concluded that Maguire probably:

Abused hundreds of children in all parts of Ireland as well as in the UK and Japan.

The 2009 Murphy Report, which dealt with just one archdiocese, Dublin, found that bishops had effectively turned a blind eye to 46 abusing priests, including Maguire, over a 30-year period. In the same year, another government-commissioned report detailed a horrific catalogue of rapes and abuse at children’s homes and borstals run by religious orders nationwide.

Maguire’s is one of the first cases of clerical sex abuse to come to light in Japan. There have been a couple of other publicized cases over the past decade, but neither involved Catholic clergy. In 2006 Tamotsu Kin, 62, the founder of the Central Church of Holy God in Kyoto, was sentenced to 20 years for sexually abusing seven girls aged between 12 and 16 over a four-year period. The previous year, also in Kyoto, an Epicopalian priest, Fumio Harada, was convicted in a civil court of abusing a young girl and forced to pay damages. He was subsequently defrocked.

The report concludes:

The relatively small Catholic community here — there are just half a million members, less than 0.5 percent of the population — will be hoping that Patrick Maguire was an isolated rogue priest. Unfortunately, given the experience of other countries, that’s unlikely to be the case.

Hat tip: Bill Murray and BarrieJohn (Japan report)

21 responses to “Catholic Church accused of derailing Australian sex abuse inquiry”

  1. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Until the rcc is forced to accept that it is not above the law and until such time that it is forced to obey the law, these cases will keep coming to light. Around the world the rcc has been instrumental in helping far too many criminals evade justice. The rcc must be held to account and made to pay for it’s actions.

  2. barriejohn says:

    Could this be the tip of an iceberg? You bet! And as for the danger of weekly magazines “latching onto it” and “blowing it up out of all proportions” (stop sniggering at the back), words fail me.

    Incidentally, the late Jimmy Savile was also an ardent Catholic. The following article (by William Oddity) seems ironic now:

    Maybe they knew what they were doing by keeping it quiet!

  3. barriejohn says:

    Comment re Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile, OBE, KCSG: I am afraid only bad news about Catholics makes news, if only they knew how much good that is done all around the world by Catholic organisations they would be amazed. God Bless Jimmy, a wonderful example to everyone. RIP.


  4. Barry Duke says:

    In the early 80s I was collaborating with a researcher for the Jim’ll Fix It show. After buttoning up a location for a shoot of a kid sliding down the longest staircase bannister in London (in St Pancras Buildings) she pulled me aside and whispered: “Whatever you do, don’t allow that man to be left alone with kids!” When I asked why, she just said: “Shhhh not another word”.

  5. remigius says:

    ‘…a kid sliding down the longest staircase bannister in London’

    Ah, that explains why Timmy had bruises on his arse and couldn’t sit down for a week!

  6. tony e says:

    It has been clear for quite a while that the RCC will do anything to protect their priests from the law.

    Whilst I hate the ‘mob mentality’ that can spring up when these abuses occur, I think if a parent of an abused child was to take the law into their own hsnds, I don’t think I would be quick to condemn them.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Jimmy Savile was questioned over the Jersey child abuse allegations, but there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. Louis Theroux did question him, in his brilliant fly-on-the wall documentary, about rumours of paedophilic practices. Jimmy was obviously uncomfortable, and very evasive, but I can’t find a clip. This was a strange sequence, though:

    Jimmy also defended Gary Glitter in a more recent interview, claiming that merely viewing child porn wasn’t harming anybody It wasn’t as if he were actually producing or selling the material!

  8. Stonyground says:

    Regarding the malign influences of the Catholic Church, my mind keeps going back to the item in last weeks NSS Newsline about school buses. A publicly funded Catholic school has both Catholic and non-Catholic kids attending. The Catholic kids have a free school bus that the non-Catholic kids are not allowed to use. The non-Catholic kids have to use a seperate bus that they have to pay for. How the hell was this situation allowed to be set up in the first place, what the hell were the local authorities thinking? Also, what does it say about the Catholic mentality that they think that this is a good idea?

  9. Tom80 says:


    Just to be fair to all concerned ref the “free” school bus I think the following quote from the NSS article should be added to yuor post:

    Con Todd, Headteacher at Bedlington’s St Benet Biscop Catholic High School said the school had asked the Council not to do this and was disappointed that Catholic and non-Catholic children were being separated.

    It appears that not even the Catholic School is very happy with the councils decision.

    In the area I live in Catholic parents have to pay the local council transport costs to send their children to a Catholic secondary school. I think non Catholic parents also have to pay if they choose to send their children to a school outside their catchment area.

  10. AgentCormac says:

    It seems that employees of the vatican can also be added to the ever-growing list of people who should fear abuse from the truly loathsome bunch of criminals who run the RCC. The pope’s butler (he who is accused of leaking some of the old Nazi’s documents) has alleged in court that he was held in a cell so small he could not extend his arms and that the light in the cell was kept on permanently.

    Quite what the pope, being such a pure and holy man, could possibly have to hide is beyond me. And quite how, in this day and age in Europe, the totalitarian RCC is still permitted to maintain judges and courts that actually have the power to imprison people it doesn’t like is utterly indefensible.

    Not satisfied with being disseminators of lies, apologists for child abuse and protectors of some of the most vile people on Earth, it seems the RCC is determined to sink to new depths in order to preserve its Mafia-like existence.

    My hope is that the glare of global media attention will expose this organised crime family for what it is. My expectations, however, are that the beeb et al will look the other way and that nothing whatsoever will change.

  11. Matt Westwood says:

    “Very long tentacles of influence.”

    Blasphemy! His Noodly Appendages are outrageously offended.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Re school transport – not only Catholics are involved:

    If you go to the NSS site and type in “School transport” you will find much more on this topic. Obviously, the religiots were livid that free transport to “faith schools” was being removed!

  13. Daz says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the RCC has an infinite number of legs, and also owns the mythical never-emptying revolver beloved of B-movie westerns.

    It’s the only explanation for how they manage to keep shooting themselves in the foot, long after the rest of us would have run out of both feet and ammo.

  14. […] Yet another kiddy-fiddling bastard and his supporters are putting the reputation of the church—as if it bloody had any left!—ahead of any semblance of the moral fortitude it claims to champion. […]

  15. Equality Jack says:

    The Vatican’s dungeons were never removed. They are still being used, as we can see.
    We never hear much about them, but I am sure they have been continuously occupied by certain victims of this criminal organization since they were built centuries ago.
    I would love to hear of the Vatican being nuked, but how likely is that, really? I’d also love to hear of the Vatican being invaded by a law-enforcement group with the Pope being shot trying to murder all his young slave-boys before they could be rescued.

  16. JuneAnnette says:

    The heretofore impregnable walls of silence that have encased the Vatican have finally been breached. We owe the media a huge debt of gratitude for the accurate,
    comprehensive and in-depth coverage they have given us in these ongoing SCANDALS unfolding in real time within the unhallowed halls of the Roman Catholic “church”. The intense scrutiny the press has given to this organization has afforded the public a glimpse inside the inner workings of this diabolical organization allowing both Catholic and non-Catholic alike a basis on which to assess the viability, legitimacy and credibility of the Roman Catholic “church
    as a religious institution, which increasingly bears more of a resemblance to organized crime.

    In the providence and mercy of God these sordid matters have been brought to light in our day! “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; nor hid, that shall not be known.” (Luke 12:2)
    The world community now knows there’s nothing HOLY about the Roman Catholic “church.” and the only thing transperent about them is their obsession with secrecy and their penchant for cover up. The reason is equally transperent to all who look on .. . they have plenty to hide. SECRECY and COVER UP are the hallmarks of the RC “church”, but such practices are not agreeable to those who profess to be Christians!

    How fitting then that the Roman Catholic “church” that has so greatly dishonoured the name and cause of Jesus Christ and brought His religion into such disrepute is
    now being exposed and shamed in such a public way for the reproach they have laid upon Christ!
    That is the real SCANDAL!
    It is they who must now endure the universal contempt, scorn, derision and disdain being meted out to them by the worldwide community and reserved for those who commit the abominable sin / crime of child abuse. What a mockery Roman Catholicism has made of Christianity!
    “Be not deceived; God is not mocked:” (Galatians 6:7)

    Many former Catholics like myself who have given these matters thoughtful and prayerful consideration have renounced the false religion of Rome in order to wholeheartedly embrace the religion of Christ in truth! It is my fervent hope and prayer that many more will both hear and heed the command of the Lord Jesus Christ as it is found in Rev. 18:4: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
    Roman Catholicism is not Christ’s Church!

    JuneAnnette, a witness for Christ . . a Roman Catholic by tradition . . made a Christian by God’s grace

    “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” (1 Cor.15:10

  17. Ian says:

    Back in the early 70’s when I was one of those nice Road Traffic Patrol officers I met Jimmy Saville. He owned Luton van which had had converted and we had a chat with him one at 4am on the M1; behind the driving seat was a sliding partition and in the rear of the van was a sink, toilet, calor gas stove and radiators, king size bed and the remainder was taken up by a fully sprung dance floor. The vehicle had been named by 42 commando, of which Jimmy was as honorary member, as ‘The Fuck Truck’.

    I had several friends amongst the members of the Leeds City Police at that time and Jimmy Savillle was well known to them as a weirdo, as he had been caught is numerous raids on brothels and known to like kinky sex, although at there was no suggestion of any underage sex taking place.

    We often wondered but there were no complaints.

  18. Matt Westwood says:

    @Ian: (*pricks up ears, begins to salivate*) How kinky?

  19. Mark Richards says:

    If true, what has been perpetrated is called “obstruction of justice”.

    Like all the other acts, it’s a crime.

  20. […] The Age also reported earlier this month that a senior police investigator had told victims of a suspected Catholic paedophile of his ”grave” concerns that his investigation into their alleged abuser was being derailed and that ”pro-church police members… […]

  21. John Bernadyn says:

    *Ever wonder what happened to clergy that were let go quietly without prosecution? They didn’t stop and the victims of these ‘defrocked’ clergy live in silence…..without a lage organization sounding the alarm that they exist.

    Memoir Details Sexual Assault by Defrocked Clergy Member

    (CHICAGO) – In a newly released memoir, Betrayed By The State: A Ward of the State Speaks Out, Illinois-based author John Bernadyn describes his struggle growing up as a youth ward of the state. “My goal is to get the word out that youth are experiencing struggles that even grown-ups are unable to cope with,” Bernadyn said.

    After detailing, often graphically, a troubled childhood experience with a dysfunctional home, Bernadyn spends time discussing his experience being sexually assaulted in a state facility. He alleges that the perpetrator was John Woulfe, a former religious brother as part of the Marianists.

    Bernadyn doesn’t stop there, though. In Chapter 8 of his book, what can only be described as heart-wrenching and graphically depicted, he lays a visual and emotional scene for the reader as to his experiences.

    After being removed from the Marianist order because of allegations of sexual assaults by numerous young men at a school overseen by Woulfe he relocated to the small town of Onarga, Illinois. As the Catholic Church historically did not publicize or pursue justice for victims of clergymen, Woulfe was never formally charged with a crime. He was able to secure employment working with troubled teenagers after passing the state-required criminal background check. This is where Bernadyn would come in to contact with the man he would later refer to as a ‘monster’.

    Although Bernadyn left the facility prior to Woulfe’s departure, he would later learn that Woulfe was given the opportunity to be a school counselor in the Kankakee, Illinois area where he would once again victimize another youth. It would be no small consolation to learn of Woulfe’s failing health and residence in a nursing home.

    Woulfe had already died and Bernadyn felt robbed of the chance to say, “I forgive you but I will never forget.”

    John Bernadyn is the managing partner for United Advocacy Group, Inc., lectures widely throughout the country, and manages training and strategic planning for healthcare organizations.