Brother Spared Jail for Hiding Child Abuse

By Margaret Scheikowski
Australian Associated Press via Yahoo News
September 30, 2020

An 83-year-old former Marist Brothers headmaster has been spared time behind bars for concealing the child sexual abuse crimes of his Catholic colleagues.

William Wade, known as Brother Christopher, admitted failing to provide information to police in 2014.

They were investigating child abuse claims against Darcy O'Sullivan, known as Brother Dominic, and Francis Cable, known as Brother Romuald, when they were at the Hamilton Marist school in Newcastle in the late 1960 and 1970s.

In the NSW District Court on Wednesday, Acting Judge Michael Adams sentenced Wade to four months' imprisonment to be served by way of an intensive corrections order.

Students reported complaining to Wade in the 1970s about sexual misconduct by the Brothers but he did nothing about it.

Noting his charges related to the 2014 investigation, the judge said he was not to be punished for his silence in the 1970s which was not a criminal offence at the time.

"The offender is not being punished for his moral failures at that time but for his criminal responsibility for the non-disclosure during the periods alleged in the indictment," the judge said.

Wade was jailed for at least 18 months in 2017 after being found guilty of one count of indecently assaulting a boy, aged 13 or 14, at Hamilton Marist school in 1976, and two counts of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old boy at Kogarah Marists in 1980.

When police spoke to Wade in 2014, his two colleagues had already been charged and have since been convicted of sex crimes.

Although he pleaded guilty to the offences, Wade says he has no recollection of abuse complaints being made to him.

"It may well be that the offender does not now recall either the actual complaints that were made to him or the names of the students who made them but I am unable to accept that he does not recall that a number of complaints of sexual misconduct were made about both Cable and O'Sullivan," the judge said.

"This is especially so given his own sexual offences that were committed in January 1976 and September 1980."

Testimonials before the court indicated Wade had been deeply respected, having an impressive career of "dedication to the students and schools in which he worked and in which he was a force for good".

He will be subject to the standard corrections order conditions of not committing any offence and being supervised by a community corrections officer.

His age, ill health and the relatively short term of sentence justified the "non-imposition of an additional condition", the judge said.








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