The church hid the crimes of Brother Ted Dowlan (alias Ted Bales) — but Broken Rites helped to expose this cover-up

Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 27 March 2015)

This Broken Rites article is the most comprehensive account available about how the Christian Brothers organisation concealed the crimes of Brother Edward Dowlan (now known as Ted Bales). From the start, the Christian Brothers knew that Dowlan was committing criminal sexual assaults against Australian schoolchildren but, instead of dismissing him, the Christian Brothers kept transferring him to more schools, thus giving him access to more victims. After 20 years, when some victims finally reported him to the police, the Christian Brothers supported Dowlan and tried to defeat the victims. The victims eventually won (by getting him jailed in 1996 and again in 2015), but their lives have been damaged by the Christian Brothers — and several of Brother Dowlan’s victims ended up in suicide. Dowlan’s 2015 jailing (under the name Ted Bales) is reported towards the end of this article.

Twenty years after his first crime, Broken Rites arranged for one of Dowlan’s victims to have a private chat with detectives from the Victoria Police child-abuse investigation unit, who then interviewed some more of Dowlan’s victims. This resulted in Dowlan being jailed in 1996. After being released from jail in 2001, Dowlan changed his surname to “Bales” to avoid media scrutiny and, with help from the Christian Brothers organisation, he moved into a private residence of his own as Mister Ted Bales. In 2014, after more of his earlier victims finally contacted the police, Edward “Bales” pleaded guilty to some more of his crimes and was remanded in custody to await his next sentencing, on 27 March 2015, when he was given a further jail sentence.

It was Broken Rites that first documented the Christian Brothers policy of continuing to support any criminal member in their ranks, even after a court conviction. A senior Christian Brothers official explained this policy in the Melbourne County Court in July 1996, when Brother Edward Vernon Dowlan faced charges for indecently assaulting boys in Victorian Catholic schools. A Broken Rites researcher was present in court, day after day, taking notes during the 1996 proceedings. The following article is based on those notes, together with further notes made in court in 2014 and 2015.

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