Hunter Marist Brothers left trail of violence: Royal Commission

Royal Commission in Newcastle in August this year.

Royal Commission in Newcastle in August this year.

THE Royal Commission hearings in Newcastle earlier this month heard repeated evidence of the physical and sexual abuse that characterised life for many Marist Brothers pupils at Hamilton and Maitland.

Counsel assisting the commission, Stephen Free, said 32 people had made claims of sexual abuse against one or more Marist brother from schools in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, including nine people whose claims were against more than one individual.

Francis Cable, known as Brother Romuald, had been the subject of 12 claims, nine of which related to incidents at Marist Brothers Hamilton and Maitland. Cable went to trial in 2015. He is serving a 16-year jail term, with eight years minimum non-parole, over offences relating to 19 complainants.

The commission heard that Thomas Joseph Butler, or Brother Patrick, sexually abused “a large number of boys” in five decades of teaching at Marist schools in NSW and Queensland. He died in 2007 and the Marists apologised for his crimes in 2015 after investigations by the Newcastle Herald.

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