Salesian priest charged with string of sex offences

By Shannon Deery
April 3, 2016

[with video]

A PRIEST who worked at schools linked to one of the state’s most notorious paedophile rings has been charged with sex offences, decades after allegations first surfaced.

Salesian priest Father Frank De Dood has been charged with a string of offences, including the rape and indecent assault of young boys, between 1978 and 1983.

Police claim five people fell victim to offences committed at Chadstone and Sunbury, where Fr Dood worked at the order’s Salesian College, ­Rupertswood. So far, at least five former Rupertswood staff, including principals, have been jailed for child sex crimes.

The Salesians have admitted paying out thousands of dollars to victims.

In 2008, the Salesians made a confidential payment to a former Rupertswood student who complained of being abused in the 1980s. The ex-­student claimed that “as a result of such assaults, he has sustained loss, damage and injuries that may require specialist counselling and therapy”.

Students of the school say a sickening club of paedophiles roamed its grand halls and manned its dormitories.

In 2011, former Salesian provincial Fr Frank Moloney told the Herald Sun Fr De Dood had not had contact with children for many years: “He works as a farmhand with sheep, cattle and general maintenance at our property in ­Lysterfield.” But he was also sometimes loaned out to parishes for stand-in priest duties.

In 2004, the Australian chapter of the Salesians, the world’s second largest Catholic order, was engulfed in scandal after it was alleged local superiors knowingly moved priests accused of sexual assaults across international and state borders to evade authorities.

One, Michael Aulsebrook, became principal at a Salesian college in South Australia. Julian Fox, an ex-Rupertswood principal, became a Salesian rector in Fiji before being moved to Rome. Last year, he was jailed for four years.

Fr De Dood is due to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court next month.



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