Girl Turned Crucifix So Jesus Wouldn’t See
June 10, 2014
A victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of a Marist Brother recalls turning around a crucifix worn by her abuser “so Jesus wouldn’t see what was going on”.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, sitting in Canberra, is looking at whether the church turned its back on scores of victims by failing to act on numerous reports of inappropriate behaviour.
In 1984 and 1985, Brother Gregory Sutton worked as a teacher at St Thomas Moore School at Campbelltown in southwest Sydney.
A woman identified only as ADM gave evidence to the commission on Tuesday, relating to her time as a Year 5 student at the school.
She alleges she was touched intimately numerous times by Sutton and that the teacher also made her touch his genitals.
“I didn’t want to do it but I did it because I was scared,” she told the commission.
She told the commission she remembered turning the crucifix around “so Jesus wouldn’t see what was going on”.
Sutton worked as a teacher at Catholic schools throughout the ACT, NSW and Queensland between 1970 and 1987. He was continually moved between schools.
In the 1970s, a principal at the Northern Queensland school where Sutton taught raised concerns he was “interfering with children”.
He was transferred in 1976 to Sydney’s Sacred Heart Primary School at Mosman, where a
fellow teacher reported to superiors that Sutton “should not be alone in the sports room with just one or two children”.
He has since been convicted of offences against four boys, all aged 10, at the school.
Sutton’s transfers continued until he was sent for counselling at a clinic in Canada, where he left the Marist Brothers in 1991.
He was later extradited to Australia, where he pleaded guilty to 67 counts of child sexual assault and was sentenced to 18 years’ jail.
The commission, due to sit for nine days in Canberra, will also look at the case of Brother John Chute who taught at various schools throughout the ACT, NSW and Queensland between 1952 and 1993.
During his 14 years as a teacher at Canberra’s Marist College, 39 boys allege they were assaulted by Chute.
The commission was told that when complaints were made or suspicions raised against Chute, he regularly made admissions but retained his teaching positions.