Former #Hamilton Marist #charged with #child #sex #offences at #St Josephs College, #Hunters Hill

NSW Police have charged a Marist Brother with allegedly sexually abusing four St Josephs College, Hunters Hill students in the 1960s before taking up a teaching position at the order’s Hamilton school in the Hunter.

The child abuse and sex crimes squad charged Brother John O’Brien, 77, with 13 offences against four boys after allegations were raised at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Police allege offences occurred while Brother O’Brien worked as a teacher at the Hunters Hill boarding school between 1966 and 1970.

He was charged on December 12 with nine counts of incite act of indecency and four counts of indecent assault. The matter is listed for mention at Tweed Heads Local Court in late January.

The child abuse and sex crimes squad established Strike Force Gallagher to investigate allegations of sexual abuse at St Josephs College in the 1960s and 1970s following a referral from the royal commission.

In a media release NSW Police Media said Brother O’Brien was given strict bail conditions after he was arrested and charged.

Police appealed to the public for further information relating to Strike Force Gallagher. People are asked to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.

“Police encourage any person who has been a victim of any kind of sexual violence, no matter how long ago the incident occurred, to contact police. Reports can be made at any police station,” the NSW Police media statement said.

Brother O’Brien entered the Marist Brothers order after he was taught at a Marist school.

He moved to the Hunter region to take up a senior position at the Marist Hamilton College from 1971. Marist Brothers material shows he was principal of the order’s Kogarah school from 1981 to 1986. A Marist annual report said his five years at Kogarah “saw a period of revolutionary change” which included the introduction of senior co-educational teaching.