Feb 21, 2016

Christian Brothers focus of abuse inquiry

February 22, 2016

A clergy abuse victim hopes the royal commission exposes the extent of "hideous" child sex abuse by Christian Brothers.

The child abuse royal commission returns to Ballarat on Monday to focus on allegations involving the Christian Brothers and hear from a key Catholic bishop who knew about pedophile priests.

Four members of the Catholic order abused children at a Ballarat school but this week's hearing will extend beyond that diocese to cover the wider St Patrick's Province of the Christian Brothers.

Stephen Woods, who was abused by two Christian Brothers and Australia's worst pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale, wants the commission to expose the cover-up.

"I know that there's going to be a lot of hideous stuff come out," Mr Woods said.

"I'm getting my lawyer to expose the way that they went and tried to discredit me.

"I want that to be shown in no uncertain terms in the royal commission, exactly what the Christian Brothers were like."

The commission will investigate the St Patrick's Province, which from 1953 until 2007 covered Victoria and Tasmania and in the 1950s also included South Australia and Western Australia.

Christian Brothers Oceania Province leader Brother Peter Clinch last year told the commission the order's professional standards office has been inundated with abuse claims, particularly from Perth.

Also giving evidence this week will be 1971-1997 Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who the commission has heard knew about Ridsdale and other pedophile priests and moved them between parishes.

Bishop Mulkearns has terminal cancer and has only months to live.

His lawyer has told the commission Bishop Mulkearns wants to give evidence, although his cognitive impairments mean he may not be able to effectively answer questions.


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