US child molester would be a soft target in jail, court told

By Shannon Deery
Herald Sun
July 8, 2015

Bernard Hartman at a previous court appearance.

A CATHOLIC brother who molested young kids would have a tough time in jail because he’s American, a leading psychologist has warned.

In a submission that raised the eyebrows of County Court Judge James Parrish, forensic psychologist Patrick Newton said today that if jailed, American paedophile Brother Bernard Hartman would be a soft target because he was different.

“Anyone who’s different attracts unwanted attention,” Dr Newton said.

A member of the order of the Marianists, Hartman was stationed in Melbourne in the 1970s and 1980s before the order closed its Australian operations.

He returned to the US in 1983 where he continued work as a schoolteacher until reports of sexual misconduct were made to his superiors.

The court heard the Archdiocese of Melbourne wrote to the Marianists in 1997 to disclose a complaint had been made against Br Hartman.

The complaint was not reported to police and the church later denied having any record of complaint about Br Hartman.

He was not charged until 2013, 20 years after complaints were first made to police, and was extradited to Melbourne from the US.

The extradition was believed to be the first time a Catholic clergy member was extradited from the US to Australia.

Hartman pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two girls, aged five and 10, and was found guilty of molesting a male student.

He was found not guilty following a separate trial in relation to another male student.

The court heard Hartman had been complying with a stringent supervision program imposed by the Marianists since 1997.

It currently prohibits him from leaving his St Albans home unsupervised for any reason.

The hearing continues.



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