Catholic order criticised

20:42, Apr 09 2010

A troubled Catholic order mired in a historical sexual abuse scandal is being criticised for failing to support a brother who was instrumental in brokering compensation for victims.

Critics say the treatment of the brother is in contrast to a monk who sexually abused boys in Christchurch in the 1970s and will be taken back into the Order of St John of God and given a home in Australia once his parole expires.

Rodger William Moloney was released on parole last September after serving 13 months of a 33-month sentence. He was found guilty of seven counts of abuse dating back to the 1970s, when he was head of Marylands special school in Christchurch.

A former member of the order's professional standards committee, psychologist Michelle Mulvihill, said the return of Moloney'swas "shocking".

She said Moloney's treatment was in direct contrast to the shunning of a brother who tried to help sexual abuse victims.

Brother Peter Burke, former Australasian head of the order, led a drive to pay settlements and apologise to abuse victims in 2002. He was shunned by the order after he stood down in 2007, Mulvihill said.


Burke died in Sydney in February.

"He [Moloney] will be royally welcomed back to the tribe and his return will be celebrated, and that is very different to the treatment of the man who did the most for the victims," she said.

"Peter Burke was treated as a whistleblower who didn't follow the party line. He was left for dead. It is just shocking. His own group did not support him in any way. He was just abandoned by his own men. I think it is dreadful and just an enormous injustice."

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust manager Ken Clearwater also criticised the treatment of Burke.

"They did not look after him at all. It was horrible. They just left him on his own once he stood down."

Provincial of the Order Brother Timothy Graham said it was "outrageous" that "an aggrieved former member" of the professional standards committee would make "unjustified and completely unacceptable comments about Peter Burke and Rodger Moloney".

"Br Peter Burke, so loved and admired across New Zealand for the work that he did, would literally turn in his grave.

"Far from being shunned, Peter chose to spend the last few years living happily and productively in an apartment provided by the order at St Mary's, west of Sydney.

"Nor is the order about to shun Br Moloney. We do not expect the Australian community to have to look after him. The order will do that in secure, safe accommodation, where he will live in supervised retirement."

Mulvihill doubts Moloney will be kept under observation.

"There will be no supervision for him. The idea it is like some kind of lockup is just silly. The only rule will be not to talk to the media," she said.

The Press