Teacher warning 'not acted upon'

By Katherine Fenech
June 24, 2014

A FORMER Marist brother has told a royal commission hearing he had warned church officials a fellow brother was a possible child molester but was ignored.

The commission held a fortnight of public hearings in Canberra, looking at whether the church ignored repeated reports of abuse by two Marist Brothers, moving them to other schools.

One of the brothers, Gregory Sutton, taught at Campbelltown's St Thomas More primary school in 1984, where he allegedly sexually assaulted two girls and a boy in his year 5 class.

Denis Doherty was principal of a North Queensland primary school in the 1970s, where Sutton also taught.

Mr Doherty said he had raised concerns about Sutton having "pet" students whom he favoured with the provincial of the order, Charles Howard, during an annual visit in 1976. But Mr Doherty said when he asked what would be done about Sutton he was told "none of your business".

"At that point I gave up on Greg," Mr Doherty said.

"I regret now I did not brief the new person who was to be in charge of Greg and tell him of my suspicions."

Sutton was moved to a school in Mosman and others, including St Thomas More primary school, before he was sent to Canada for therapy. He was later extradited to Australia and pleaded guilty to 67 counts of child sexual assault.

Mr Doherty said he was very upset when he heard Sutton had been charged.

"I was extremely angry that I had told the brothers in the 1970s and they did nothing and Greg went on to do some of the most dreadful things."

Victims of abuse can contact Lifeline, 131 114.


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