Deaths linked to paedophile brotherhood

Last updated 12:51 09/11/2012
CHILD ABUSE INQUIRY: Dr Wayne Chamley alleges one of the boys was thrown down the stairs in the Broken Rites submission.

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A group of religious brothers led by an ''alpha paedophile'' are suspected of the unreported bashing deaths of two boys and the sexual abuse of more than 40 wards of the state and others at homes for the mentally impaired over three decades in Victoria, an inquiry into child abuse is expected to be told on Friday.

The 15 suspected paedophile brothers from the Hospitaller Order of St John of God have never been charged in Victoria because of a lack of police resources, said Wayne Chamley, a researcher for the church sex abuse victims group Broken Rites.

While the majority of the suspected paedophiles are dead, Fairfax is aware of three men who have left the order and moved away, but are in roles where they could have access to children.

The allegations relate to the order's operations at Cheltenham and Lilydale where they provided homes for wards of the state, orphans, boys given up by their parents and those with intellectual disabilities from the 1950s to the 1980s.

In 2002, the order paid more than $3.6 million to 24 men who alleged they were abused as children by brothers from the order. Victorian police at the time confirmed they had launched an investigation into the allegations and had taken statements from a number of victims, and the Director of Public Prosecutions would decide how many of the suspects would be charged.

But Dr Chamley and former victims have confirmed more than a dozen suspected paedophile brothers had never faced charges in Victoria.

Dr Chamley is to read his submission to the Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations on Friday, which will detail horrific abuse at the order's homes.

This will include allegations boys were subjected to pack rapes and beatings, being drugged and committed to mental institutions where they received electro-shock therapy, and in two extreme cases may have been killed and their deaths not reported.

He will also mention research that out of one group of 69 boys, who went to the order's homes, seven had committed suicide.

On Thursday a spokesman for the order said it acknowledged Broken Rites' work and believed the parliamentary inquiry was the appropriate venue for it to present all its claims. He said the order would make itself available to appear at the inquiry if asked.

The most serious claims Dr Chamley will make are allegations two boys may have died in suspicious circumstances at the order's farm at Lilydale, and two others were committed to a mental institution by the ''alpha paedophile'' brother and given electro-shock therapy, impairing one so badly he was unable to care for himself and later died.

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Dr Chamley alleges Broken Rites is aware of two statements made by former inmates who alleged two different boys sustained injuries as a consequence of beatings, with at least one case possibly resulting in death.

''One of these boys was thrown down a staircase (according to a witness) soon after he arrived at Lilydale,'' he alleges in the submission. ''We are also aware of at least two boys who both experienced serial sexual abuse, who were as juveniles certified under the Lunacy Act (1915) and then incarcerated within the Royal Park Asylum.''

The order's spokesman said the Australian provincial of the order, Brother Timothy Graham, was in Portugal and was unable to be contacted for comment.

The spokesman said in 1997 the order first became aware that there had been sexual abuse in facilities it ran in Victoria and immediately opened internal and police inquiries.

- FFX Aus

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