Brother Kostka Chute: How was this animal allowed to prey on children for 40 years?
By Janet Fife-Yeomans
June 09, 2014
|Marist Brother John Chute, known as Brother Kostka, leaves the ACT Magistrates Court.|
THE 40-year cover-up by the hierarchy of the Marist Brothers, of one of the state’s most notorious paedophiles, is at the centre of the child sex abuse royal commission’s latest investigation.
The Catholic order moved Brother Kostka Chute around at least 12 schools across NSW, Canberra and Queensland until he was finally jailed for two years in 2009 after admitting to abusing six of the boys he was teaching.
That was only the tip of the iceberg, lawyer Jason Parkinson said yesterday.
Mr Parkinson represented 90 students from the Marist College Canberra who were victims of Brother Kostka and after initially denying they owned the school, the Marist Brothers has settled almost all of the claims in out of court settlements.
“This was the first case where the Australian public got to see the ugly side of the Catholic Church,” Mr Parkinson said. “It was also the first time so many people came forward on the one occasion to sue a school.”
Brother Kostka, who was born John Chute and entered the order at the age of 17, taught at 12 Catholic schools including schools in Lismore and Randwick before spending 27 years teaching at Marist College in Canberra until 1993.
Friends of Brother Kostka had given testimonials for him at his sentencing. He has since been released from jail now 82, and lives in an aged-care home.
The royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse begins its latest sitting in Canberra tomorrow to investigate the responses of the Marist Brothers, including schools operated by it, to allegations of child sexual abuse regarding Brother Kostka and another former brother whose name has been suppressed.
The other brother has since returned home to America.
The commission will also investigate how agencies, including the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, responded to reports of child sexual abuse regarding the two brothers.
Lawyers who represented the Marist Brothers in settling the compensation claims are expected to be quizzed by the royal commission as it has done in previous case studies.
Dr Bernard Barrett, a researcher for the Broken Rites Australia victim support group, said the hearing had national significance.
“The Marist Brothers had their headquarters in Sydney and their members taught in schools around Australia,” Dr Barrett said.