Royal Commission Considers Cover-up

By Joanne Mccarthy
Newcastle Herald
June 12, 2015

THE Catholic Education Office provided a record of service statement for a sacked lay teacher and convicted child sex offender in 1979, but did not report him to police, after it was allegedly told he had sexually abused four children.

Former St Patricks Sutherland principal Brother Anthony Whelan, who retired as director of Broken Bay Catholic Schools Office in 2012, told a church investigator in 2010 that he reported ‘‘sexual misconduct’’ by teacher Thomas Keady to the Catholic Education Sydney Office in 1979 and was advised to ‘‘summarily dismiss’’ Keady.

The investigation was terminated by the Christian Brothers before Catholic Education Office records could be obtained or witnesses interviewed.

Brother Whelan did not report the allegations against Keady to police in 1979, and said he advised the 12- and 13-year-old male students to tell their parents.

The 2010 church investigation was launched after Hunter man and Keady victim Rob Roseworne complained to Maitland-Newcastle diocese.

On Wednesday Mr Roseworne lodged a submission with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about the church’s handling of Keady, and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision in 2013 not to charge Brother Whelan with concealing Keady’s offences because it was ‘‘not in the public interest’’, despite a prima facie case against him.

After Brother Whelan wrote to the Catholic Education Office about whether Keady was entitled to a statement of service, the office responded with a statement noting Keady had been employed as a full-time teacher at the school from 1966 to 1979. It did not say he had been sacked or make any reference to child sex allegations.

Keady was employed at the school within months of completing a jail sentence in Victoria for child sex offences. He was convicted of sexually assaulting a boy at Muswellbrook in 1994, and died in 2012.

An investigation by retired NSW Police assistant commissioner Norm Maroney of the Christian Brothers’ handling of complaints about Keady was terminated by the Christian Brothers after Mr Maroney substantiated Mr Roseworne’s complaint that he told another teacher, Brother John Roberts, Keady had sexually abused him. In his August 2011 report to the Christian Brothers about the Keady complaints, Mr Maroney noted he ‘‘unfortunately’’ could not make a finding about Brother Whelan because his investigation was terminated.

He was also unable to pursue whether the Catholic Education Office carried out any reference checks on Keady before he was employed at the Sutherland school.

Mr Maroney noted the investigation was terminated while he was ‘‘seeking a comprehensive, written record held at CEO Sydney of the reasons why Thomas Keady was dismissed by the principal on October 2, 1979, as recorded’’.

Mr Maroney was also prevented from pursuing whether the Catholic Education Office Sydney held ‘‘any record of a complaint of a sexual nature being made by students at St Patricks College, Sutherland between 1966 and 1979 against any staff member’’.

Mr Roseworne said he hoped the commission would consider all aspects of the Keady case, including the school’s handling of allegations.








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