‘Arrogant’ pedo priest jailed for 15 years

The Canberra Times [Canberra, Australia]

December 10, 2021

By Luke Costin

Police and a former student of child abuser Anthony William Peter Caruana have described the pedophile priest’s jailing for 15 years as a good day.

The former Chevalier College teacher, now 80, attacked students in a swimming pool, a band storage room, dormitories, his office and on rugby pitches while working at the NSW Southern Highlands school from 1982 to 1989.

He was jailed on Friday for 26 offences against 12 boys.

The victims were aged 12 to 14 and often boarded at the school.

“It’s been 39 years in the coming and it’s a good day for all the victims,” Detective Senior Constable Brad Streeting told AAP.

“Justice for them has finally come and hopefully this will add to the closure for them.”

The sentiment was shared by Brendan King, who described Caruana as “an arrogant prick right to the end” who’d “lied and lied in the witness box” during his trial this year.

He and other Chevalier students complained to police in 1989.

Anthony William Peter Caruana has been jailed for 26 offences committed against 12 boys.
Anthony William Peter Caruana has been jailed for 26 offences committed against 12 boys.

That sparked the priest’s removal from the college and court proceedings in the 1990s.

But Caruana’s acquittal in 1992 for counts related to Mr King and another boy delayed justice until some boys gave evidence at the child abuse royal commission and police revived the case.

“I was picked on by other teachers when I made a complaint to police,” Mr King, who wasn’t a complainant in the 2021 trial, told AAP.

“(The Catholic Church and Missionaries of the Sacred Heart) have tried to cover this up for a long period of time … now we’re here today, 26 counts guilty for similar offences – we know who the liar is.”

Like Mr King, the 12 victims of Caruana’s offending suffered turmoil after their abuse, including poor mental health, homelessness and a loss of trust in family and school staff who considered them to be liars or exaggerators.

The NSW District Court was told one academically strong boy, who Caruana forcibly orally and anally raped after band practice in 1984, became stricken by anxiety at school.

“Like many victims of child sexual abuse, he engaged in substance abuse, mainly alcohol,” Judge Robyn Tupman said.

Another victim attempted suicide at 21 and chose not to have children.

Caruana pleaded not guilty at trial, telling the jury in June he’d left out “in my dreams” when talking to church counsellors in the 1990s about his “feeling” towards boys.

Since he was convicted by the jury in July, his only sign of remorse had been expressed through a doctor’s report, Judge Tupman said.

While he was unlikely to re-offend, the judge tossed aside suggestions of good character and references from long-time cycling friends of a “very spiritual, religious and highly moral” man.

After being removed from the school in 1989, Caruana was made an archivist for the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, remaining there until he was remanded in custody in July.

Judge Tupman noted the elderly man may die before his 10-year minimum term ends in 2031.