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The monster of Australia receives his sentence amid the continued cover up of child sex crimes by religious orders in the Catholic Church

August 8, 2011

There are few cases which so clearly illustrate the need for public notification of
serial child predators than the case of Christian Brother Robert Charles
Best.  Best was sentenced today to 14 years in prison for 27 offences committed between 1969 and 1988
which included the rape of a physically impaired nine year old child.

When confronted by the anguished mother of one of his victims at sentencing Best
simply “smirked and shrugged his shoulders”.  Those in the courtroom
stated that this was the only show of emotion he was able to muster.

As a member of the Christian Brothers Best left
behind a trail of destruction throughout Australia.  He will be serving
his prison sentence for crimes committed against children when he was assigned
to St. Alipius School in Ballarat, St. Leo’s Christian College in Box Hill, and
St. Joseph’s College in Geelong.

A victim of Bests stated that during his time in Ballarat at St. Alipius primary school he
“hunted” his victims “like a pack of dogs”.  He described the climate of the school as one of
“pathological violence”.  The abuse Best inflicted in Ballart against
young children was so horrific that Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson with the
Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit believes that 26 suicides
can be attributed to the sexual assaults that those victims endured. The true
number of victims that were hunted down by Charles Best will likely never be
known.

Best began his career as a child rapist in the 1960’s shortly after he joined the
Christian Brothers.  The Christian Brothers are an international Catholic
religious order that has a stated mission to educate the youth in countries
where they have a presence.  The order has found itself in the center of a
series of sex abuse cases in Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the United
States.  One of their most well known cases of serial abuse occurred at
the Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland where over 300 students reported that they
were systematically abused.

The case of Charles Robert Best illustrates a crucial point.  When a child is raped
and assaulted by a member of the clergy he does not ask his abuser if he is a
member of a religious order or if he is a diocesan priest.  If that child
is abused by a member of a religious community it does not matter to that child
if their abuser is a Jesuit, a Franciscan, a Dominican, or a Salvatorian.
The pain, the damage, and the suffering are all the same.

Yet in the archdiocese of Milwaukee and in dioceses throughout the country bishops have told the
faithful that there is a difference.  The bishops, including Milwaukee’s
Jerome Listecki, have insisted that they are not responsible for the behavior
and activities of religious order clerics who operate in their diocese.
This despite the fact that over 50% of priests in the archdiocese of Milwaukee are religious order priests.
They work in the parishes, schools, and hospitals of the diocese just like
diocesan clergy.

Despite their prevalence in the community the archdiocese has decided not to include
the names of religious order offenders on their official list of clergy who
have been restricted from ministry due to substantiated reports of sexual abuse
against a minor.

The archdiocese has even chosen to conceal their identity in cases where the
offender has been sentenced to jail.  Three cases serve to illustrate this
point. Sister Norma Giannini, a member of the Sisters of Mercy, was sentenced to one year
in the House of Correction and ten months probation for her abuse of two boys
at St. Patrick’s school.  Fr. Dennis Pecore, a member of the Society of the Divine Savior, was sentenced
to 12 years for sexually assaulting a child.  And  Fr. Simon Palathingal, a Salesian, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the
sexual assault of a child.

Incredibly the names of these individuals are nowhere to be found on the official
list
of offenders in the archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The case of brother Charles Robert Best in Australia is unfortunately only one in a long
list of clergy sex offenders who are members of religious order
communities.  The damage they inflict on the innocent is no less grave
than if it was done by a diocesan priest.

The archdiocese of Milwaukee and dioceses throughout Wisconsin must notify the
public and the community about all the predators in their midst, including
those who belong to religious order communities.  Parents are able to
better protect their children when they know who the predators are and where
they live.  Our children’s safety deserves nothing less.

 

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