Child Sex Accused Stopped from Chaperoning Pilgrims

By Eoin Blackwell
The Canberra Times

September 4, 2008

St Stanislaus School in Bathurst, in the NSW central west, says a former brother accused of child sex abuse was asked to leave the premises before he could act as chaperone to World Youth Day pilgrims.

John Gaven, 66, charged on Wednesday with sex offences, was reported yesterday to be a former teacher at the school and returned in July as a chaperone for pilgrims on a four-day visit to Bathurst.

Principal John Edwards said Gaven was asked to leave the school just moments after the Department of Community Services and Bathurst police confirmed on July 9 he was being investigated for sexual abuse at the school during the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr Edwards said after he was served a search warrant pertaining to the former brother, he immediately tried to confirm if Gaven was a witness or under investigation for committing abuse.

He said he received confirmation at 4.10pm that Gaven was being investigated and immediately contacted his order, the Vincentians, to ask him to leave.

He left that day, he said, as the World Youth Day pilgrims were beginning to arrive.

On Wednesday, the 66-year-old Catholic brother, arrested at Marsfield in Sydney, was charged with 28 child sexual offences relating to his time as a teacher at the school.

He is one of four men charged with sex abuse offences at two schools in Bathurst St Stanislaus and All Saints College in the 1970s and 80s.

Brian Spillane, 65, from Narwee, was charged in May with 33 offences allegedly committed at St Stanislaus and on Tuesday had a further 60 charges laid against him.

On Wednesday, a 65-year-old priest from Armidale was charged with four alleged offences at St Stanislaus.

And a 63-year-old Queensland man was charged on Wednesday with three counts of indecent assault at All Saints College.

Yesterday, a man who said he was sexually abused by a staff member at a school in Bathurst urged other victims to come forward.

The man, who gave his name only as James, said he was abused at a school, which he did not name, in the 1970s when he was 14-years-old. Now in his 40s, he said he was molested three times over a period of about three months.

"It was a little frightening. I felt violated. I knew it was wrong and yet each time he came to me I felt like: 'Oh yeah, OK'," he said.

"It went on over a period of two or three months.

"I want to encourage people to come forward and tell their story to the police ... the police are really good. They've been trained in this thing now." AAP


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