Marist Abuse Allegations

By Helen Kempton
Examiner [Australia]
November 5, 2003

Former student claiming sexual assault by priest in 1970s

Burnie's Marist Regional College is at the centre of more allegations of sexual abuse in the Tasmanian Catholic school system.

Police are investigating allegations raised by a former student that he was sexually assaulted by a priest at the college in the 1970s.

Yesterday Father Bill Ryder - who is also a former principal of Marist Regional College - said the Marist Fathers would cooperate with police investigations.

"I don't know the details at this stage but if it is a police matter then I cannot say anything," Fr Ryder said from Sydney yesterday.

Det-Sgt Kim Steven, of Burnie CIB, said a former student, now in his 40s, had made the allegation several months ago.

"The allegations concern one particular priest and the incidents are alleged to have occurred in the early 1970s, but no one has been interviewed at this stage," Det-Sgt Steven said.

Police will meet with the Department of Public Prosecutions on Friday to determine how the investigation will be handled.

The new allegations come in the wake of claims by another former Marist student, Drew Murray, that he had been abused by Monsignor Phillip Green and that one of the alleged incidents had occurred at the North-West school.

Another former Marist Regional College teacher Steve Randall was jailed after being found guilty of sexual offences committed in the 1980s.

Archbishop of Hobart, the Most Rev. Adrian Doyle, yesterday told ABC Radio that he planned to meet child welfare advocates soon to discuss how the Church could help people abused by members of the clergy.


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