Seven Network - 7news [Eveleigh, NSW Australia]
September 15, 2021
By Greta Stonehouse
A Catholic priest and convicted pedophile must have believed his own lies to give “demonstrably” untrue evidence you could “poke a million holes through”, a judge told a court.
Anthony William Peter Caruana, 79, prayed silently in an isolated suite in prison before his second sentence hearing began in the NSW District Court on Wednesday.
More than two decades after he was acquitted at a 1990 trial for similar offences, he was found guilty of 26 charges against 12 young boys from Chevalier College in NSW’s Southern Highlands.
The charges from the 1980s included four counts of sexual intercourse with two of his students.
The teacher and dormitory master was removed from his teaching role in 1989 and forced to take psychiatric assessment and counselling.
Here he expressed “a lifelong problem of his attraction to young boys”, and he was assessed as being “remorseful for his past behaviours”, his lawyer Greg Walsh told the court.
But one of the conundrums of this case and what continued to “bedevil” Mr Walsh was Caruana’s evidentiary account at trial that these urges occurred in dreams
Caruana was cross-examined about written passages that expressed a desire to change by “magic” … “this feeling I have towards young boys”, and others about “my sexual problem”.
He maintained he had left out a crucial part of the passage, which should have read “in my dreams”.
Judge Robyn Tupman on Wednesday said this belief in his own rhetoric meant large portions of his evidence were fancifully and demonstrably untrue.
“Some of it you could poke a million holes through, his evidence on the whole was unimpressive and the jury must of agreed,” she said.
The former conductor and coach took advantage of young boys at football training, on excursions, in their rooms, and in his own private quarters.
Most of his victims were in year seven and eight, fresh boarders away from their home for the first time and extremely vulnerable, crown prosecutor Nerissa Keay said.
His victims earlier told the court of their ongoing trauma which frequently overlapped and included lack of tertiary education and financial instability, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues and suicide attempts.
Caruana’s lawyer conceded the victims spoke eloquently about the detrimental impact his client had upon them and the suffering caused.
“They should never have been treated this way and your honour must take that into account.”
But since his treatment he had striven not to re-offend or place himself in a position where strong urges would resume, he submitted.
“This court has regrettable experience and knowledge to know that pedophiles are able to go and find victims if they want to,” Judge Tupman said in acknowledging Caruana eventually ceased his offending.
Caruana had been removed from his home and placed in a junior religious role at the age of 10, in isolation from his peers and family, the court was told.
His lawyer said this “overwhelmingly dysfunctional upbringing” was contextual background to his psychosexual dysfunctions.
The Crown pointed out that while deserving punishment, the avid bicyclist had been granted the better years of his life riding around and enjoying freedoms.
Judge Tupman is due to deliver Caruana’s sentence on December 10.
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