Catholic Brother Bernard Hartman Jailed for Three Years over Sex Attacks on Children in 1970s and 1980s

By Padraic Murphy
Herald Sun
July 24, 2015

Catholic Brother Bernard Hartman jailed for three years over sex attacks on children in 1970s and 1980s

THE Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne knew a Marianist brother was a sexual predator of children decades ago but it was not until today his victims finally saw him jailed.

In another scandalous blow to the church, Brother Bernard Hartman was jailed for three years, with one year suspended, for sustained sexual attacks on two young girls aged under 11 in the 1970s and a male student in the early 1980s.

County Court Judge James Parrish described the offending as “blatant” and a grave breach of Hartman's position as a teacher at St Paul's College in Altona North.

The decades-long delay in bringing Hartman to justice was used by him to argue for a reduced sentence because he had lived under the burden of his crimes for more than 40 years.

But all three victims told the court their lives had been devastated by Hartman's offending, each suffering anxiety and feeling they are unable to trust people.

The now 75-year-old American brother taught at St Paul’s from 1972 and 1984.

In 1997, the Archdiocese of Melbourne wrote to Hartman's American superiors, advising them of the allegations against him.

From then he was taken off teaching duties and shuffled around various sex offender treatment facilities in the United States, including Sex Addicts Anonymous.

At one point, Hartman sold his paintings in an attempt to raise funds for the victims of sexual assault.

In 1999, Hartman even wrote to one of his victim apologising for the “hurt” he had caused.

One of his victims complained to police in the 1980s, and gave a statement in 2003, but no action was taken against Hartman until he was charged in September 2013.

“I consider that such delay can be described as ‘undue’ and most probably inordinate given the date of the offending and more particularly, when complaints were made of the offending to the relevant authorities, but no prosecution of these offences took place until relatively recent times, with a charge sheet being issued on 31 July 2013,” Judge Parrish said.

“The reason for (the delay) is not that clear.”

Judge Parrish said Hartman had shown genuine remorse to his two female victims but still denied assaulting the male.

In sentencing, Judge Parrish noted that Hartman had considered leaving the order shortly before the offending after becoming intimate with a nun, but decided against it - a decision that caused him great emotional distress.

Hartman is not expected to be expelled from the order and wants to work caring for elderly brothers in the United States when he is released








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