Brother Roger “Gabriel” Mount – Institutional Child Abuse at St. John of GodKoffels
St John of God Order is accused of paying off ex-students of its institutions to keep quiet about sexual misconduct that occurred whilst at their respective schools with staff members and priests in positions of authority.
Fairfax Media had reported that Brother Roger “Gabriel” Mount had been abusing young boys in his care in Australia throughout the 1960s. Whilst Mount denies the claims against him, he has been working in Papua New Guinea away from his Australian home for 30 years under a different name.
Brother Roger Mount was a Brother in the Catholic St John of God Order, who had helped manage children’s homes and institutions specific to helping disadvantaged young boys throughout Australia. During his time being a part of the Order, he was known as Father Gabriel, individuals often took on a saintly name when they joined the institution.
“Father Gabriel” continued to work as a priest in Papua New Guinea. However, since Australian media articles were published as a result of the allegations made about him in 2014, he has been deported and fined for overstaying the terms of his visa.
St John of God Brothers is a religious institution that helps to home disadvantaged boys and men. Whilst there is a range of disadvantaged characteristics that they aim to help with, the Order focussed on those with intellectual and educational disabilities.
It was because of the type of individual that the Order helped – those disadvantaged and often without family members – that Brother Roger Mount was able to get away with his misconduct without notice. If any young boys were sexually assaulted, there was no one that they could turn to for support, help or safety. The place that was meant to give them hope, twisted those expectations and abused young naïve boys, taking advantage of the fact that these boys relied on the Order – often having no other place to turn to.
In the 1971 edition of the Australian Catholic Directory, Brother Gabriel was listed as the superior at an institution named Churinga. The unfortunate story is that although his sexual misconduct went reported for the most part, his authoritative position as the Prior put him in a position to oversee, co-ordinate and ultimately hide the child’s sexual abuse that was ongoing at the time.
Brother Mount/Father Gabriel was accused of sexually abusing 7 children forty years ago. At the age of 72, in 2015 he appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court via video conference from a prison in which he has been held since his deportation was announced.
He was charged with:
- 40 counts of indecent assault
- 14 counts of buggery
- 5 counts of gross indecency
- 3 counts of unlawful assault.
Roger Mount’s Institutional child sexual abuse victims included children with cognitive impairments and mild disabilities. Some victims had given evidence via remote testimony and it was arranged by the Office of Public Prosecutions that the witnesses would not be in the same room as Father Gabriel Mount.
Many of the complaints that have been made by disadvantaged young boys have tried to be settled through quiet payments by the Church.
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