The Weekend Australian
July 18, 2020
Michael Xu lost five years of his life after a uni friend lied to cover up their sexual encounters. His conviction, like that of George Pell, points to a trend.
By Richard Guilliatt
Among the many shocking accounts of church sexual abuse that have been heard in recent years, the story one man outlined to police in the Victorian city of Geelong in September 2015 was particularly horrific. A former student at the local Catholic college St Joseph’s, the fragile 61-year-old remembered one teacher there as a sexual sadist who had violently raped him on more than a hundred occasions in the 1960s, beginning when he was just 10. The man he identified as his attacker was the school’s now-retired Grade 6 teacher, Brother John Tyrrell of the Christian Brothers.
The shameful history of the Christian Brothers was by then well known, and only four months earlier it had been aired again when the Royal Commission into institutional abuse held public hearings in Ballarat. The Catholic Church has paid out more than $200 million to victims of the Christian Brothers, and St Joseph’s in Geelong had harboured its share of offenders, including the notorious Robert Best, jailed for offences against more than 30 young boys at various Catholic schools. These latest allegations, from a man we will call Alan Francis*, appeared to add another terrible chapter to that history.
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