Former Catholic Church Boss John Kelly Was Blind to the Evil around Him, Royal Commission Hears
By Janet Fife
June 17, 2014
|Marist Brother Gregory Sutton / Picture: Supplied Source: News Corp Australia|
A FORMER Catholic Church education boss said he had never met a paedophile — while one of the country’s most notorious child molesters was working under his nose.
John Kelly was director of Catholic education for the Diocese of Lismore when Marist Brother Gregory Sutton, later jailed for 12 years for 67 sex offences, was teaching at the local St Carthage’s Primary School in the 1980s, the child sex abuse royal commission was told yesterday.
Mr Kelly said he was not suspicious about Brother Gregory even after the school’s deputy principal Jan O’Grady spoke to him after Sutton was caught lying about taking an afternoon off.
Ms O’Grady had read an entry in Sutton’s diary: ‘‘Picked up (10-year-old girl). What an afternoon. She is magnificent.’’
Counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, asked Mr Kelly: ‘‘There was no suspicion in your mind that a criminal offence may have occurred between Brother Gregory and (the girl)?’’
Mr Kelly answered: ‘‘No.’’
The 10-year-old was one of the children Sutton later admitted having sex with.
When one of Sutton’s nine-year-old victims committed suicide in 1989 around the age of 25, he went to his funeral and even offered to arrange it, the commission heard.
Before he was at St Carthage’s, Sutton was teaching at a northern Queensland primary schools. The boy had been one of his “teacher’s pets’’.
The former principal of the school said yesterday that, some time after the funeral, the boy’s father asked him to arrange a meeting with Sutton after his other son told him what his late brother claimed had happened.
The father told him that Sutton had admitted the abuse to him. But, even after that, Mr Holdsworth said he did not report it to police.