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Priests, Teachers 'in Paedophile Ring' at St Stanislaus School

The Daily Telegraph (Australia) August 26, 2008 by By Gemma Jones

Priests, teachers in 'paedo ring'

Centre of scandal ... St Stanislaus college in Bathurst.
Source: The Daily Telegraph

POLICE investigating claims up to 40 boys were sexually abused over seven years by priests and teachers at this exclusive private school have urged more alleged victims to come forward.

Detective Superintendent Michael Goodwin said today police understood the difficulties involved in confronting the past and would offer witnesses their full support.

"All I can say is that NSW police force will be providing every form of support we possibly can to make the process for them as trouble-free as possible.

The walls of St Stanislaus college in Bathurst have housed budding Wallabies players and the bravest of war correspondents but an unimaginable secret has been stored for more than 20 years. A former priest at the school has been charged with 33 counts, a former teacher has already been convicted of several offences and two other teachers are under investigation.

Supt Goodwin would not reveal how many suspects are being investigated but said police inquiries had not led officers to any other schools where former St Stanislaus staff may have also been employed.

"All of the lines of inquiry that have been presented to us have been explored and are being investigated,'' he said.

"There's no loose ends being let go at this stage.

"I can confirm that there's no one at the school at the moment that is subject to that inquiry.''

In his first interview, a brave young man who used the internet to expose the abuse revealed the full extent of the horror at the school. He is one of two victims who have told The Daily Telegraph how they were herded into a prayer room by a priest chanting "hypnotic" spells in tongues.

Inside the prayer room, the boarders who attended the school in the 1980s, said they were subjected to horrendous sexual abuse or forced to assault each other.

St Stanislaus has enjoyed a reputation for sporting excellence and tutoring future representatives of Australia.

A former boarder now aged 35, who cannot be identified because of a court suppression order, started at St Stanislaus in the '80s because it was the only private school in the area his family could afford.

He alleged the abuse began after a priest took him aside for private tutoring about the Catholic Church and God two months after he arrived at the school and the horror turned into a twice-weekly event.

"They got a group between eight and 12 of us together and they'd just start chanting and I would wake up during these sessions and see what was going on," he said.

"It was like an orgy."

The second victim, who declined to give permission to be named, described the horrific night time prayer sessions in the staff's quarters under candle light.

"You'd pass out . . . they spoke in tongues . . . another element was called laying on hands, that was the basis he would engage in physical contact," the victim said.

He said the students were all small in stature and many of them emotionally troubled.

It is expected the victim count could reach 40 but some people have been unwilling to talk about the past.

"I know of people who have been contacted, they said, 'Yes, you're right but I haven't told my wife what happened to me I'm not going to tell you guys (police)," he said.

Principal John Edwards said yesterday the school viewed any allegation of sexual misconduct with "grave concern" and had been working with the police.

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Accused Priest Allowed on School Grounds of St Stanislaus

The Daily Telegraph, August 26, 2008 by Gemma Jones

THE former priest facing 33 child sex offences was allowed on to the grounds of St Stanislaus College last month after appearing in court in Bathurst.

One of the man's alleged victims yesterday said he was stunned the former priest was allowed into the grounds while the case was before the courts. Principal John Edwards said the 65-year-old - who worked at the school in the 1980s - came to collect paperwork and was escorted while on the grounds.

"He came up to the school after his case in Bathurst seeking some documentation from the school he required for his defence," Mr Edwards said.

"I met with him, provided him with some documentation and he was escorted from the property."

Police swooped on the 65-year -old, in May.

Now living in Sydney, he was arrested and charged with 33 offences relating to sexual assault and gross acts of indecency on juveniles aged between 10 and 18 years old.

"We are continuing to follow up and thoroughly investigate information surrounding sexual assault allegations at the school around this period," Detective Inspector Joel Fawkner said.

The former priest declined to comment and referred questions to his lawyer. He is due to face Bathurst Local Court again on September 15.