A FORMER Hamilton Marist Brother who left the school abruptly after the suicide of a 13-year-old student in 1974 has entered guilty pleas to sexually abusing five students, only three years after a jail sentence for sexually abusing 19 others.
Francis Cable, 86, known as Brother Romuald, entered the pleas two years after a child abuse royal commission hearing in which the Marist Brothers accepted the 13-year-old student, Andrew Nash, was probably sexually abused before his death.
Brother Romuald, his year teacher, was at the Nash’s Hamilton home on the night of the boy’s death. In evidence to the royal commission Andrew’s mother, Audrey Nash, said Romuald asked her “Did he leave a note?” and “Did he say anything?”
Mrs Nash also told the commission she believed Romuald sexually abused her son.
Strike Force Georgiana Detective Senior Constable Simon Grob charged Cable in March, 2017 with 14 offences of aggravated indecent assault against five victims aged 13-14, between 1971 and 1974.
In 2015 Cable was jailed for 16 years after he was found guilty of sexually abusing two Hamilton Marist students, and entered guilty pleas to offences against 17 others at the Hamilton school and Pagewood Marist School.
One victim told police Romuald called him “the anti-Christ” before beating him on the head and digitally and orally raping him when he was 12.
In evidence to the royal commission a former Marist superior described Romuald as a member of the order who imposed “strains and tensions on the community that should not be there”.
The superior, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the royal commission Romuald was “6 foot 3 and a very confrontational personality”.
The superior agreed children at the school might have been “absolutely terrified” of him.
“It’s probably true that many of the people in the classes that he taught were afraid of him,” the superior said.
He agreed that for students targeted by Romuald for sexual abuse, life at the Hamilton Marist school would have been a “nightmare”, and it would have taken “an incredible amount of courage” for a child to have made a complaint about being sexually abused.
The royal commission was told Romuald moved schools two months after Andrew Nash’s death in October, 1974.
Cable made his first vows in 1952, aged 20, and was sent to St Vincent’s Boys Home at Westmead. He worked at Marist Parramatta in the early 1960s before transferring to Pagewood, then at Marist schools at Kogarah, Hamilton and Dundas, before leaving the order in the late 1970s and working as a lay teacher for the Christian Brothers at St Edmund’s College, Canberra for 10 years before retiring in 1989.
Cable will be sentenced in March.
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