‘The Catholic Church should close the Christian Brothers down’

6PR 882 Radio

April 22, 2020

By Gareth Parker

A McGowan Government minister and former student of CBC Fremantle has publicly criticised the Christian Brothers for a lack of care towards the victims of child sexual abuse.

Dave Kelly, the MLA for Bassendean, attended CBC Fremantle in the 1970s from grade 4 to grade 12.

Today on Mornings with Gareth Parker he has revealed his disgust with the Christian Brothers for failing to reckon with their shameful past in dealing with the legacy of child sexual abuse.

Mr Kelly said the public revelation in 2013 that one of his former teachers, Brother Daniel McMahon, had abused children was the trigger for him to write to the management of CBC Fremantle to ask what the school would do about notifying former students and inviting them to come forward.

“The Principal wrote me a very brief reply, it said my letter had been referred to the Catholic Church’s Office of Professional Standards. The letter than referenced the Royal Commission which was then underway then assured me it would be taken seriously and that was the end of the letter,” he said.

“It (the letter) was absolutely silent on (the issue of notifying former students) but it led you to believe that they’d referred it to the appropriate authority within the Catholic Church and something would be done about it. I then heard absolutely nothing from the school on that issue.”

Underwhelmed with the school’s response, he pursued the matter with the leadership of the Christian Brothers in Australia.

At a meeting at Parliament House in 2015 with Br Peter Clinch, the head of the Christian Brothers, and another member of the order’s council Br John Webb, Mr Kelly claims it was acknowledged that the Christian Brothers knew Brother McMahon had abused children.

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