Priest on 22 Sex Charges

By Dan Proudman
The Herald
October 9, 2008

HIGH-profile Catholic priest and music conductor Father Peter Brock stands accused of repeatedly taking a young boy to a house and watching on as several men sexually assaulted the teen in what was described yesterday as a "pedophilic smorgasbord".

Father Brock, an Order of Australia medal recipient, was yesterday charged with 22 child sex charges involving two brothers during the 1970s.

ACCUSED: Father Peter Brock allegedly watched as the abuse took place.

He faces 18 counts of indecent assault, two acts of indecency and two counts of buggery.

A statement of facts tendered to Newcastle Local Court alleged Father Brock had groomed the boys by introducing them to "strip jack poker" where they finished in various stages of undress.

Father Brock, 63, is alleged to have repeatedly abused one of them while the boy and Father Brock played the game on the floor of "counselling rooms" in two Hunter presbyteries over a two-year period.

The court was told that in the mid-1970s, when the boy was aged 15 and two years after he was first abused, Father Brock took him to a Newcastle house on at least six occasions and watched on as several men sexually assaulted the teen after plying him with alcohol.

It is alleged that during each visit, Hamilton dentist Ashleigh Edward Jarrold, 56, was also present and assaulted the youth on two of those occasions.

The court heard on one occasion Jarrold and an unidentified man had assaulted the boy in a bedroom while Father Brock watched pornography in another room.

Jarrold, of Donald Street, Hamilton, also faced court yesterday charged with 12 counts of indecent assault and one act of indecency, relating to one of the brothers and two other victims aged 13 and 14.

The court heard Jarrold and Father Brock were always present at the house during the visits however "on each occasion, a number of different males were present".

"On each occasion [Father Brock] would undress and masturbate on the lounge whilst watching the males assault the victim," the facts sheet said.

CHARGED: Ashleigh Jarrold at court yesterday.

"On some of the occasions the victim would be taken to a bedroom by these males whilst [Father Brock] watched pornographic material on the television."

On the first visit, after he was assaulted by one of the unidentified men, the boy heard words similar to "it's someone else's turn now", the court heard.

The facts sheet said the victim was never introduced to the "unidentified men".

"At no time did any of the adults present engage in sex acts together," the facts sheet said.

"All sexual acts were done to the victim.

"In addition at no time did any of the adults present use their names in front of the victim or each other."

The court heard the boy continued to be taken to the house "sporadically" until he was 21.

Other allegations against Father Brock include allegedly abusing the boys while on a camping trip.

Jarrold is further alleged to have assaulted two other boys in the late 1970s.

In opposing bail for Father Brock, police prosecutor Sergeant David Wild said the visits in the mid-1970s were "somewhat of a pedophilic smorgasbord" and the alleged offences were "predatory" and "at the top end of the scale".

Solicitor John Woodward, for Father Brock, said the "substance of the allegations are absolutely denied" and would be "hotly contested".

Mr Woodward said his client was not a flight risk because he had been aware of the allegations for 13 months after being stood down by the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese and had not left the area.

He said there was also no evidence that the community was at risk if he was released.

Magistrate James Swanson granted both men conditional bail, including that a $5000 surety be posted and that they report to police three times a week.

Neither man was required to enter a plea yesterday and both will reappear in Newcastle Local Court on November 26.


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