Brother Bede jailed for indecency charges

22:49, Dec 16 2010
Bede Hampton
ACCUSED: Bede Hampton in the dock at the High Court in Wellington.

A former Marist brother who taught in Masterton in the 1970s has been jailed for two years and six months on indecency charges.

The two victims each rejected a $10,000 emotional harm payment that Bede Thomas Hampton , 62, had hoped would keep him out of prison.

A jury in the High court at Wellington today found him guilty of 11 charges of indecent assault, but found him not guilty of 10 charges including two of sodomy.

It could not reach verdicts on two charges and Hampton was discharged on another during the trial due to lack of evidence.

Justice Forrie Miller said the victims had been vulnerable as children, Hampton had seen that, and exploited it.

Justice Miller said the effect on the victims had been severe, with one saying the offending led to an addiction to alcohol and drugs.

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Both thought their achievement as adults had been reduced as a result of what Hampton had done to them.

Hampton had pleaded guilty to two charges of indecently touching one of the boys but still denies having committed other offences.

Hampton denied a sexual motivation for even the limited indecency which he agreed had taken place, which was twice briefly touching a boy's penis.

A probation officer's report said Hampton's true concern seemed to be for himself, his family, and his interior decorating business.

The court heard Hampton's business is struggling and may fail. His family home in Queensland is likely to be sold to repay the $750,000 loan secured against it.

The judge said that when it came time for Hampton to be considered for parole he may have to confront his failure to acknowledge the sexual motivation.

He doubted Hampton had genuine empathy for the victims and his remorse was limited.

Hampton taught at St Joseph's College, Masterton, where the two victims were boarders.

The charges dated from 1973 to 1975 and Hampton left the Marist brothers when he was 29, in the late 1970s.

The first allegations against Hampton arose in 2002. He and his wife decided not to tell their two children until recently

His lawyer, Christopher Stevenson, said Hampton's family continued to support him. His children knew him and stood behind him unwaiveringly, he said.

Hampton's name was suppressed until his trial started last month.

The Dominion Post