Bernard McGrath named after lengthy child sex abuse case

Notorious: Former St John of God Brother Bernard McGrath to be sentenced after a jury finds him guilty of child sex offences against multiple victims at Morisset.
Notorious: Former St John of God Brother Bernard McGrath to be sentenced after a jury finds him guilty of child sex offences against multiple victims at Morisset.

FORMER St John of God Brother Bernard McGrath did not deny that boys were sexually assaulted at the Kendall Grange home at Morisset in the 1970s and 1980s, after he was charged in 2012 with offences against multiple boys.

He just denied being the Brother who committed the offences.

On Thursday a Sydney District Court lifted non-publication orders over McGrath’s name, the name of his order, the boys’ home and its location after a jury found him guilty of 60 offences in November, including multiple counts of buggery, homosexual intercourse with a child, detaining a child for advantage, assault, indecent assault and gross indecency.

McGrath, 70, will appear in court again on Friday for a sentencing hearing before he is sentenced in February, after a trial that started in May and included harrowing evidence from boys who said they were repeatedly brutally raped by him. The trial heard some boys told their parents but when McGrath was confronted he replied that “Kids make up stories”.

Charges against McGrath were laid by Lake Macquarie detectives in 2012, nearly two years after Strike Force Lozano was established to investigate child sex allegations involving Kendall Grange and McGrath. He did not face court until March, 2015 after he fought extradition from New Zealand but lost a final appeal to that country’s highest court.

The court rejected his challenge that New Zealand Justice Minister Judith Collins made an error of law and ‘‘abdicated her responsibilities’’ in ruling his age and health did not preclude him being returned to Australia.

McGrath was born in New Zealand and joined the St John of God order at the age of 18. During a New Zealand trial a court heard McGrath say he had been bullied into joining the order by his father.

McGrath was jailed in New Zealand for three years after he was convicted of child sex offences against four boys. He was jailed in NSW in 1997 after offences against another boy, and again in New Zealand in 2006 for further offences.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found 40 per cent of St John of God Brothers were alleged child sex offenders.  

Unsuccessful: Bernard McGrath leaves a New Zealand court during attempts to prevent his extradition to Australia to face child sex allegations.

Unsuccessful: Bernard McGrath leaves a New Zealand court during attempts to prevent his extradition to Australia to face child sex allegations.