Lawyers in search for sex abuse evidence against Perth priest Father Brian Morrison

By Gary Adshead
West Australian
September 14, 2018

A law firm is investigating allegations against Father Brian Morrison, who died in 2009.
Photo by Nic Ellis

The legacy of one of WA’s highest profile priests, Father Brian Morrison, is under threat from multiple claims of child sex abuse.

Eastern States law firm Porters is acting for “quite a few” people pursuing allegations that Father Brian abused them. He died from cancer in 2009.

“These victims were young children at the time of their abuse,” Porters said.

A recipient of many awards and honours, including the Senior Australian of the Year, Father Brian and his Catholic Churches Crisis Care Centre in North Perth were synonymous with charity work in WA for more than 30 years and up until his death aged 76.

But Porters — lawyers who have acted in hundreds of child sex abuse cases across the country — is seeking information “in relation to the abuse of children in the Archdiocese of Perth”.

“Porters wish to speak to any former parishioners, teachers, students or parents of students or parishioners who engaged Father Brian Morrison from 1975 to 1990, to obtain further evidence that will assist our clients in their claims,” an advertisement in today’s The Weekend West reads.

Child abuse advocacy group Broken Rites Australia has a reference to Father Brian on its website.

“The Church has received complaints about Morrison sexually abusing young people — a girl aged 14 in Melbourne in 1968, and a boy aged 14 in Perth in 1984,” it reads.

According to a directory of the Catholic Church in Australia, Father Brian was ordained in 1968 under the authority of an order of the Church, the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in Melbourne, before moving to the Bunbury Diocese in the early 1970s.

Father Jo Dirks, the provincial leader of the Blessed Sacrament, yesterday confirmed Father Brian’s connections to the order and said he was aware of possible legal action.

The Archdiocese of Perth said yesterday that Father Brian never acted as a priest under its authority.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment because this is not a matter for the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth. It is a matter for the Blessed Sacrament,” a spokesman said.

Hundreds of people, including then premier Colin Barnett and WA governor Ken Michael, attended Father Brian’s funeral at St Mary’s Cathedral.



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