Catholic brother convicted of abuse

GUILTY: Brother Rodger William Moloney who was found guilty of three charges of indecent assault and four of inducing boys to do an indecent act.
n the High Court in Christchurch l
GUILTY: Brother Rodger William Moloney who was found guilty of three charges of indecent assault and four of inducing boys to do an indecent act. n the High Court in Christchurch l

"He got off he should have owned up to every one of them. He knew what he done. He knew damn right."

One of the boys, now a 47-year-old man, sexually abused by a Catholic brother at the former Marylands special school in Christchurch says the road to recovery is just starting.

Dylan, not his real name, was one of the men vindicated by the seven guilty findings handed down to Brother Rodger William Moloney in the High Court in Christchurch last night.

Moloney was acquitted of 16 other charges dating to the 1970s.

After a day-and-a-half of deliberations, a jury found 73-year-old Moloney guilty last night on three charges of indecent assault and four of inducing boys to do an indecent act.

The acquittals related to other charges of indecent assault, inducing an indecent act, and two involving sodomy.

Dylan said Moloney "got off".

"It's going to take a lot of patching up. I'm starting in recovery, trying to get as much support as I can, but even though I got a guilty verdict it's a long way to go."

Despite objections from the Crown, Moloney was granted bail by Justice Panckhurst ahead of sentencing.

"There will be a lot of tears. To hear all of those not guilties in a row it was just appalling," Dylan said.

Moloney's punishment should fit the crime, he said.

"Even though he's getting on in years, he took a lot of years away from people. I think he should be given a good lengthy sentence to see what he's done, to wake him up."

Moloney stood in the dock with his eyes closed as the verdicts were delivered about 6.15pm.

As soon as the last verdict was given, Ken Clearwater, manager of the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust, ran from the courtroom in tears.

Clearwater, whom Dylan described as "like part of the family" because of his support, said the ruling should give impetus to his campaign for an official inquiry into the care of children at the Marylands school.

"These guys are only the tip of the iceberg," Clearwater said.

"This is only the start for us. There's got to be some movement, there's just no way they can't."

The trial had been a huge ordeal for the men. Some of them had wanted to pull out days before the case started, Clearwater said.

"As it got so close, they got frightened.

"People who do that to children hold that power over them for the rest of their lives. Those guys when they went in to that court room would have been frightened little boys again because he was the big headmaster."

During the trial, the court heard a witness allege how, at age eight, he was enticed into a dining room and made to perform indecencies on Moloney.

The man said he had already been abused by Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath, who in 2006 was convicted on 21 charges of sexually abusing boys at the Marylands school.

The witness said he told one of the other brothers what had happened, and was beaten as a result. He came forward in 2002 after seeing publicity about others making allegations.

"I had practically no life; only a life that was hurting others," the victim told the court.

Another man told the court how Moloney gave him lollies "more or less to keep my mouth shut".

One night, Moloney had allegedly got him out of his dormitory bed and taken him to his bedroom for sexual activity.

Moloney had said if he told anyone he would get a hiding, the man said.

A Christchurch woman, who has taken Dylan into her home and supported him for the past year, said Dylan had suffered huge scars.

Dylan contacted her through a non-Catholic church.

"A lot of people will be very disappointed," she said. "They put a lot of trust and respect in these (brothers) so it's pretty devastating. In some cases, I guess it really shakes their faith."

Moloney's lawyer, Greg King, said his client maintained his innocence.

"He's seen this whole ordeal as something that's strengthened his faith," King said.

Moloney did not feel he had reflected any embarrassment on the Catholic Church, he said.

"Rodger's a very strong person, he's very strong in his faith. He's always acknowledged that his judgment day that matters to him will come at a different time," King said.

It was too early to say whether an appeal might be considered. "In a sense it's a disappointment but we recognise that it could have been a lot worse than it is," King said.


The Press