US allegation against accused brother Bernard Joseph Hartman
By Goya Dmytryshchak
Maribymong and Hobsons Bay Weekly
April 22, 2014
A Catholic brother charged with sexually abusing four children at Altona and Altona North is facing an allegation of abuse in the US, according to a US report.
Bernard Joseph Hartman, 74, has entered pleas of not guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault, two counts of gross indecency with a girl under 16, and two counts of assault.
Police allege the offences happened at St Paul’s College at Altona North and at Altona homes between 1976 and 1982.
According to the US report, an alleged victim contacted church officials after media coverage of the Australian case. Reverend Ronald Lengwin, of Pittsburgh, said the allegation had been turned over to the “appropriate legal authorities”.
Victoria Police’s Acting Sergeant Doug Smith said allegations in the US would have no bearing on the trial of Hartman, who has been bailed to appear in the Melbourne County Court on April 20 next year.
“It’s something that wouldn’t be considered over here,” Acting Sergeant Smith said.
“There’s a trial pending and I can’t see that anything would affect that.”
Hartman was arrested at Melbourne Airport after arriving from the US last September. Barbara Doris, of St Louis, the outreach director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests told the
Weekly Hartman worked in Pittsburgh from 1986-1998. “Bishops usually sit passively back and let the justice system do its work,’’ she said.
“But bishops can and should actively help the justice system, especially in alleged clergy sex cases because it’s so hard for victims to break their silence,” she said.