Catholic brother faces new charges

PAUL BIBBY, RORY CALLINAN AND MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Last updated 11:01 26/11/2012
Bernard McGrath
Dean Kozanic
IN THE DOCK: Bernard McGrath was sentenced to five years jail in the High Court in Christchurch in 2006 for sexually abusing boys at Marylands School in the 1970s.

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A former Catholic brother charged five months ago with hundreds of counts of sexual abuse against children and young adults, is living on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka because the authorities dragged their feet in extraditing him to Australia.

The former St John of God brother, Bernard Kevin McGrath, who recently served two years in a New Zealand prison for sexually abusing boys here, had 252 abuse charges laid against him in a Newcastle court on June 27.

The 65-year-old is alleged to have repeatedly raped, molested and abused dozens of young boys at church-run institutions in the Newcastle-Maitland diocese during the late 1970s and 80s.

It is understood some charges relate to McGrath's time as a brother at the notorious Kendal Grange College in Morrissett.

Yesterday, the Sun Herald revealed that McGrath was one of three brothers being sued by Sydney's so-called "playboy rapist" Simon Monteiro, who is serving a seven-year nine month sentence for aggravated rape and claims that the abuse he suffered has left him with severe psychological disorders.

Among the charges are 30 counts of homosexual intercourse with a male between the age of 10 and 18, 30 counts of homosexual intercourse between a teacher and a student aged between 10 and 18, and 102 charges of indecent assault.

NSW Police were meant to extradite McGrath back to Australia to face the charges from Christchurch, where he lived since being paroled in 2008.

But Fairfax Media has learnt that the 65-year-old flew out of New Zealand some time after the charges were lodged and is staying on a tea plantation in the highlands of Sri Lanka.

McGrath's New Zealand brother, Clem McGrath, said the accused man had flown out of Christchurch in "early winter" after a friend had told him "why don't you come to Sri Lanka? You've got nothing here."

Neither NSW Police nor the office of the Commonwealth Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Jason Clare, would say when the process of extraditing McGrath began when asked yesterday.

But a New Zealand police source told Fairfax Media that the formal extradition request had come to them from Interpol only on November 15 - nearly five months after the charges were laid, and many weeks after McGrath reportedly left the country.

Australia does not have an extradition treaty with Sri Lanka directly.

However it can extradite suspects from Sri Lanka under the "London Scheme" which enables Commonwealth countries to extradite fugitive criminals to each other upon the presentation of prima facie evidence.

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- The Press

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