School's 'Paedophile Ring'

By Victor Violante
The Canberra Times
July 11, 2009

Canberra's Marist College is accused of harbouring a paedophile ring in the 1970s and '80s involving as many as 12 former teachers. The Marist Brothers order is grappling with a flood of new sexual abuse claims.

A Canberra Times investigation has found that five known child molesters, four of whom were convicted of child sex offences after leaving the school, taught at the school between 1976 and 1992.

A further seven former staff members are the subject of civil allegations of child sex abuse.

In the past 18 months, 32 civil claims against the trustees of the Marist Brothers have been lodged in the ACT Supreme Court on behalf of former Marist College students, alleging they were molested by 10 former brothers and lay teachers while at the school. In some of the claims, former students allege they were molested by as many as four brothers and teachers.

The Canberra Times can also reveal that in the past two months some of these cases have been settled out of court, with the religious order's insurers, Catholic Church Insurances, granting pay-outs understood to be more than $50,000 each. More settlements which are not an admission of wrongdoing are expected in the coming months.

The four convicted paedophiles who taught at the school were brothers Kostka Chute, who was jailed last year and is now at the Alexander Maconochie Centre; Gregory Sutton, jailed in 1996 for a minimum of 12 years; Gregory Carter, jailed in 1997 in Queensland for 18 months, and Peter Spratt, convicted in 1996 in Cooma Local Court and fined $2000 for molesting a Canberra boy during a school camp in 1979. MrSpratt and Mr Carter are not yet the subject of any of the civil claims.


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