Thursday, June 19, 2014
Kissing, cuddling child not sexual abuse ‘as I would understand the term’, says Marist Brother Anthony Hunt at royal commission
In a remarkable admission to the child sex abuse royal commission yesterday, the former deputy head of a Marist Brothers high school said he had not considered it a crime in the late 1980s.
Brother Anthony Hunt, formerly at Trinity Catholic College at Lismore and once superior of the Marist Brothers community in Lismore was asked if he was “being serious”.
Brother Hunt, 72, was quizzed on allegations against paedophile Brother Gregory Sutton, a teacher at St Carthage’s Primary School at the time.
He said that he had been concerned at Sutton’s apparent immaturity but did not think it had been a sexual assault when told Sutton had kissed and cuddled one pupil.
Commissioner Jennifer Coate, of the Family Court, asked Brother Hunt if he had understood child sexual assault was a crime when he was deputy at St Mary’s Lismore and then when it merged with Trinity, from 1984 to1988.
“At that time I did not associate it with the word ‘crime’,” Brother Hunt said.
Justice Coate: “Did you know theft was a crime?”
Brother Hunt: “Yes. Yes, certainly.”
Justice Coate: “Had you heard the word ‘paedophile’?”
Brother Hunt: “No. I had not.”
Justice Coate: “ ... despite you reading newspapers and watching television, it had never come to your attention that you saw any person charged with sexual assault offences against children?”
Brother Hunt: “I don’t specifically remember but I can’t rule it out.”
Justice Coate: “Is that a serious answer to the royal commission?”
Brother Hunt said he regretted not doing more about Sutton at the time.
The commission has heard he did not report Sutton because he did not think he had any specific allegations.
Brother Hunt said he had not been concerned when Sutton set up his train set in the laundry behind the monastery where four or six boys often gathered to watch the trains and he had “certainly not” seen any boys in Sutton’s room.
In 1997, Sutton was jailed for 12 years after admitting 67 counts of child sexual assault.
Brother Hunt was told yesterday that one boy was abused in Sutton’s bedroom while a 10-year-old girl was abused on the table next to the train set.
The inquiry continues.
dailytelegraph.com.au 18 June 2014
Another matter where the criminal action of child abuse most likely will go unpunished by the Australia's corrupt legal system.