Catholic Brother Gerard Mcnamara Jailed for Nine Months over "Repulsive" Sexual Abuse
By Bridget Rollason
September 3, 2018
|PHOTO: Gerard McNamara was a former school principal in Gippsland. (AAP Image: James Ross)|
An 80-year-old Catholic brother who sexually abused boys while he was principal of a Gippsland school during the 1970s will serve nine months in jail, after previously receiving suspended sentences for other similar assaults.
Marist Brother Gerard McNamara pleaded guilty in July to seven charges of indecent assault, which took place while he was in charge of St Paul's Secondary School in Traralgon.
McNamara was in his 30s when he abused the boys, aged between 12 and 15 years old, while giving them "sport massages" in a sports shed at the school, away from the main buildings.
He was the school's sports master and the court heard he used the excuse that he was healing their injuries to assault them.
The court heard McNamara abused one of his victims 30 times.
"Your behaviour was abhorrent, repulsive and disgusting," Judge Duncan Allen said during sentencing.
"Your actions caused shocking and ongoing trauma to your victims.
"You were a highly respected member of a religious order and you were in a position of trust and dominance, you were trusted by the parents of these children and the community."
McNamara, who remains a Marist Brother, was sentenced to 36 months' jail but it was partially suspended, meaning he will serve a total of nine months.
'With the rats in jail'
Speaking outside court, one of McNamara's victims said he felt closure now McNamara was behind bars.
"It's had a huge impact on my life … to cover up his own crime he told lies to my parents and eventually caused me to end up in boys' homes," he said.
"It destroyed the relationship between my mother and myself.
"She died recently and we never recovered from it."
|PHOTO: McNamara apologised during a July hearing, saying he was "deeply sorry" for the harm he had caused. (AAP: James Ross)|
He said McNamara's offending was well-known among students at the school.
"At school he was known as the rat, because he acted like a rat … now he's with the rats in jail.
"Every kid knew if you got taken into that room, what would happen in there."
A spokesperson for child sex abuse victims group VicGroup Actions said the sentence was too lenient.
"I thought the sentence was outrageous to be honest… the outcome today is just appalling," he said.
"This is the fourth time this sick monster has been criminally charged and that total jail time is nine months.
"That is just ridiculous."
The Marist Brothers said they hoped the sentence brought a sense of justice to those who had been harmed.
"On behalf of the Marist Brothers Australia, I reiterate our unreserved apology to anyone abused whilst in our care," Brother Peter Carroll said.
"The past cannot be altered, however we hope there can be some small measure of healing."
Record of similar assaults
During the hearing in July, McNamara apologised to his victims while in the defendant's box.
"I am deeply sorry for the hurt and harm I have caused each of you," he said.
He said he was "made aware of the gravity of my behaviour and the impact it has had on your life".
In June 2005, McNamara was convicted of seven counts of indecent assault of a male under 16, while in December 2016 he was convicted of three further counts of indecent assault.
On both occasions he was given a jail sentence but the terms were suspended.
McNamara has been put on the register of serious sexual offenders for life.