Priest Jailed for Sexual Abuse of Two Girls

The Chronicle
November 10, 2008

A CATHOLIC priest who worked at Downlands College has been jailed for sexually abusing two young girls.

Michael Francis Reis, 66, pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent treatment of girls under 16 in Brisbane's District Court last week.

The abuse occurred in Brisbane between 1983 and 1985 and in Caboolture from 1992 to 1995.

Reis had formerly worked at Toowoomba's Downlands College and Monivae College in Victoria.

He showed "genuine remorse" for his actions, which Judge Kerry O'Brien described as at "the lower end of the scale".

Reis molested the girls by touching them, however, there was no sexual penetration.

"It is ... an unfortunate situation that a man of such otherwise good character and achievement should have lapsed in the manner that brings you today before this court," Judge O'Brien said.

"Nevertheless, the seriousness of your conduct is aggravated by its repetition (and) by the fact that there were two girls," he said.

The court heard the victims complained to the Catholic Church and received counselling in 1999, however, it was almost 10 years before they went to police.

Reis was arrested in January.

In sentencing, Judge O'Brien took a number of factors into account, including an early guilty plea which ensured the victims did not have to give evidence.

References were also received from members of the community.

He was sentenced to 18 months jail for each offence, to be served concurrently, but the sentence will be suspended after six months.


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