'Abused Student' Mystery

Brisbane Times
August 24, 2008

A MAN who has alleged a priest abused him at St Joseph's Nudgee College in Brisbane was not a student there, school officials say.

Paul Fauth, who said he was 59 and now lived in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, told ABC Radio Sydney last month that a priest had molested him at the school in the 1950s.

He said he had discovered during World Youth Day events that others in his class had also been abused and four had committed suicide.

Mr Fauth later told The Sun-Herald the abuse had occurred at Nudgee College.

A spokesman for the school said he could not confirm Mr Fauth's allegation but last week the spokesman said records showed no one by that name had attended the school.

"The school records of the 1950s and '60s have been checked for both the junior and senior campuses but Paul Fauth's name did not appear on either," the spokesman said.

The school did not wish to make any further comment, he said.

Mr Fauth said last month that he was angry and upset after comments by Bishop Anthony Fisher of the Sydney Catholic Archdiocese during World Youth Day events.

Bishop Fisher, in responding to a question about Cardinal George Pell's handling of a sexual abuse case, said some victims were "dwelling crankily ... on old wounds".

Bishop Fisher's office confirmed he had met Mr Fauth in Sydney this month and that he had apologised for any hurt suffered.

The bishop's spokesman last week declined to comment further.

Mr Fauth also said another alleged victim of abuse had attempted suicide in Brisbane on July 30 and that the man died two days later.

Phil Mulhall, an executive officer of the church's national committee for professional standards, in Sydney, said he had spoken to Mr Fauth after the alleged suicide attempt and organised flights for him to visit the dying man's family. "I was trying to deal compassionately with him as he seemed very upset about his friend and our office gave him air tickets to get to Brisbane to see the man's family," Mr Mulhall said last week.

"I took it on face value that he was in distress and organised counselling if he wanted it. I have tried to contact him since, but he hasn't returned my calls."

Mr Fauth did not respond last week to several calls from The Sun-Herald. Mr Mulhall said he had "a couple of question marks" about what he had been told but "restricted my response to his distress".

Mr Fauth has said he met Bishop Brian Finnigan of the Brisbane Catholic Archdiocese to discuss the allegations.

Bishop Finnigan's spokesman last week repeated his earlier comment that he could not discuss cases that were under, or could go to, the Towards Healing program, set up to deal with allegations of sexual abuse by the clergy.

Karyn Walsh, victim support advocate for the Esther Centre in South Brisbane, said false allegations of molestation against the clergy were few but any fraudulent claims would undermine genuine victims. Victims were usually "met with a wall of disbelief and cases like this make it even more difficult for their cases to get the attention they deserve", she said.


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