7News [Sydney, Australia]
June 9, 2021
By Greta Stonehouse, Australian Associated Press
A Catholic priest writing of his unwanted “sexual problem” left something crucial out of the passage, a jury has heard.
“In my dreams,” Anthony William Peter Caruana told Sydney’s District Court.
“When you talk about fondling young boys, is this referring to your dreams or real life?” the 79-year-old’s barrister Bernard Brassil said on Wednesday.
“My dreams,” Caruana said.
He further explained another passage in which he writes he would change “this feeling I have towards young boys,” if by magic he could, was also in reference to his “dreams”.
The former high school teacher has pleaded not guilty to 29 historical charges, including four counts of homosexual sex.
He is accused of sexually abusing boys in band practice, at rugby training, in dorm rooms, and other parts of Chevalier College in NSW Southern Highlands, in the 1980s.
He departed in 1989 following complaints about his conduct and filled out a questionnaire which the Crown argues shows his sexual interest in prepubescent boys.
But the former boarding master says his written responses were actually about his ongoing dreams he had for 30 years but which stopped after therapy.
To another priest’s note in 1993 stating “Tony acknowledges he is a pedophile and there is little likelihood of change,” Caruana said at the time his dreams made him feel like he was one.
As bandmaster, he denies sexually touching a 13-year-old boy saying words to the effect he was “pleasing a man of God,” in the music storage room after practice one day.
The musicians were ushered out following afternoon practice “very quickly,” as Caruana had to supervise boarding house study, and no boy ever stayed back late, he said.
He repeatedly disputed the now-50-year-old’s accusations and denied statements from the other 11 alleged victims, including one boy who could not read his mother’s handwriting.
Caruana read her monthly letters to the boy in his private room, upstairs and not in the public dormitory because that’s where he showed them to him, he said.
As the teacher often walked through the children’s dormitory, the boys would “jump on me,” he said.
“(They would) tackle me on the bed, I’d try to push them off. They just wanted to play. I didn’t like it.”
Mr Brassil said his client did not have to prove anything, and relevant people at the time of the alleged incidents have since passed away.
The trial continues.