News

Marist head did not think sexual abuse was a crime

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse meeting in Canberra.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse meeting in Canberra. Aap

A FORMER deputy principal of Trinity Catholic College has admitted he took no action after learning Brother Gregory Sutton had been "kissing and hugging" students, saying he did not, at the time, think the sexual abuse of children was a crime, the royal commission has heard.

Brother Anthony Hunt was questioned over how he could have been in charge of about 600 students as deputy principal of the Lismore Catholic college from 1985 to 1988 but not have considered the students to be at risk of sexual assault from predators such as former Brother Sutton.

"It's the word 'crime' that is difficult for me looking back to that time," he said. "I would have regarded it as a very serious matter but I have to say, yes, the word 'crime' did not enter into my awareness."

When questioned by the counsel assisting the commission, Brother Hunt said he knew theft was a crime and was aware of the term child sexual assault but had not heard the word pedophile before.

As well as deputy principal, Brother Anthony Hunt was also the Lismore Marist Brother Superior from 1984 to 1988 and thus responsible for the other brothers, including Sutton who has since been convicted of sexual offences against children.

Between 1985 and 1986, Brother Hunt attended several meetings with St Carthage's principal Sister Julia O'Sullivan, the school counsellor and the assistant principal Jan O'Grady over concerns Brother Sutton was behaving inappropriately towards students.

Brother Hunt told the royal commission he understood "inappropriate behaviour" to mean "kissing and cuddling", however he failed to take any action on the allegations.

"Essentially I saw the matter as in the hands of the school principal and executive with our own authorities, our own provincial superiors," he said.

Sutton's time at the school came to an end shortly after an event in April 1987 involving a 10-year-old girl referred to as ACU.

The commission heard Sutton took the girl on car trips and described her in his diary with phrases such as "Isn't she magnificent!" and "What an afternoon".

After the discovery of the incriminating diary entry, Brother Hunt said he never referred the matter to police or child welfare officers because he believed it was "in the hands of the school authorities" despite acknowledging it may have indicated Sutton was involved in some form of child sexual abuse.

Topics:  gregory sutton, marist brothers, royal commission



Council swamped by influx of development applications

Development applications are stacking up at Byron Shire Council.

Extra staff have been put on to cope with the demand

PHOTOS: Firies battle North Coast bushfire

NSW Fire and Rescue crews at the scene of a bushfire at East Ballina.

NSW Fire and Rescue crews are fighting a bushfire at Ballina

Flights resume as Bali ash cloud clears

Tourists are finding themselves caught in Bali, or unable to fly, after a volcanic ash cloud developed over the Indonesian island.

Jetstar was forced to cancel seven flights on Tuesday

Local Partners

Homer Simpson thanks Australia during Opera House visit

Homer Simpson visits the Sydney Opera House.

ANIMATION favourite gets attacked by seagulls in viral video.

Theatre lives to thrill another day

LET US STAY: Brunswick Picture House owners Brett Haylock and Chris Chen with supporter Guy Kable want the theatre to stay open.

Local theatre may continue to operate after council discussions.

Channel 9 orders second season of Doctor Doctor

Rodger Corser stars in the TV series Doctor Doctor.

RURAL medical drama finds a loyal following.

Katy Perry gets naked to encourage people to vote

Katy Perry in Funny Or Die sketch

Katy Perry has stripped naked for a comedy video

Jogging Tom Hanks crashes wedding in Central Park

Tom Hanks stopped for a selfie with this bride and groom

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction