A CATHOLIC order that ran a Morisset residential school for troubled or disabled boys for five decades had a staggering 40 per cent of its members accused of sexually abusing children, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.
The commission has been told 40.4 per cent of St John of God Brothers, who ran the Kendall Grange facility at Morisset between 1948 and its closure in 2000, were alleged perpetrators.
The figure is significantly higher than the Christian Brothers order, where 22 per cent were alleged perpetrators, the Salesians of Don Bosco Brothers (21.9 per cent), the Marist Brothers (20.4 per cent) and De La Salle Brothers (13.8 per cent).
The Royal Commission heard the shocking figures on the first day of its 50th public hearing, which is the final hearing into the Catholic Church and is expected to run for three weeks.
Counsel assisting the Royal Commission, Gail Furness, told the Royal Commission that 4444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse in reports to the Catholic Church between January, 1980 and February, 2015.
The average age between alleged abuse occurring and people making reports was 33 years, which is significantly longer than the average time of about 22 years for people making reports of abuse to the Anglican Church.
The Royal Commission was told the highest overall proportion of offenders among priests in Australian Catholic dioceses was the Victorian diocese of Sale, where 15.1 per cent were alleged perpetrators.
Maitland-Newcastle diocese did not feature in the top five dioceses for the highest overall proportion of offenders among priests. The Royal Commission has previously revealed reports against 50 Maitland-Newcastle Catholic offenders, which includes priests and Brothers.
The St John of God’s Kendall Grange residential school for boys with intellectually disabilities was estabished in 1948.
It began with 30 boys from Westmead Home, aged six to 16.
In 1980 Kendall Grange changed to a residential school for boys with behavioural disorders, and in 1994 it became a residential school for primary school aged boys and girls with behavioural disorders, which operated until 2000.
The home closed in 2001.
In a statement on behalf of the Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan expressed shame on behalf of the church and began crying while reading the number of church child sexual offenders.
The Royal Commission continues.