Call for Witnesses: Brother Martin Harmata & Allan James Pollock, Patrician Brothers College
Located in the Western suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, the Patrician Brothers College is an independent Catholic school that educates boys throughout their secondary school education. It was founded in 1952 and covers seven hectares of land in the surrounding Blacktown city area.
During its initial years in which the school was set up by the Patrician Brothers, its purpose was to give a great education to those families that lived in the then rural areas of Blacktown. Whilst its modern schooling ethos claims to be a vibrant and caring Catholic school that encourages staff, pupils and parents to pray together; its history has been surrounded by controversy.
Brother Martin Harmata was charged with 8 counts of sexual abuse of 3 different minors while teaching at the Patrician Brothers College of Blacktown. After being a science and maths teacher for almost 30 years, he finally left the school in 2012 after one of his students had confronted him in the playground.
His abuse stems back to the 1980s when he had become friendly with many of the student’s parents. Having felt that they could trust a teacher at their children’s school, he was encouraged to take these students on camping trips away. However, they could not foresee the irreversible harm that would occur whilst these students were in his care.
Brother Harmata was born in 1953, but it was not until 2012 that the school finally stood him down following the institutional child sexual abuse allegations. He was accused of sexually abusing two boys, both under the age of 14, whilst he was at the school in the 1980s. It was in his 30s that he would take boys on camping trips and use his authority in illegal ways.
In November 2012, the police arrested Brother Martin Harmata, and he was subsequently charged with six offences, including indecent acts towards a person under his authority and indecent assault. It was then in 2013 that he pleaded guilty at the Parramatta District Court and was sentenced to an aggregate term of 7 years in prison without parole for three and a half years. His full sentence was due to be complete by July 2020.
After he was asked how many other teachers were involved in using their authority for sexual power over young boys, he replied with no comment. However, the local community were in an uproar, with The Executive Director of Schools in the Diocese of Parramatta stating that the community was deeply distressed by the pain that this teacher had caused to so many of his victims. It is true that whilst he had befriended many within the local community, he had used their trust to his dark advantage.
Sadly, Brother Martin Harmata wasn’t alone in his crimes, as two other former teachers faced 12 charges of sexual abuse. One victim claims that he was sexually abused by three teachers while a pupil at Patrician Brothers College.
One such individual was Alan James Pollock. He was originally a priest in training and had continued to become a sports teacher at the school, focusing on junior rugby and presiding as a lay teacher. Alan Pollock had been with the Patrician Brothers since 1972, when he attained his HSC while boarding at their Wahroonga residence. However, he left and started a job as a clerk.
After six months, he continued his studies to attain his teaching diploma, of which he only completed 2 out of the required three years of the course. Eventually, he became a coach of rugby and cricket at the school.
Pollock had pleaded guilty to committing sexual assault against children throughout the 1980s at various educational institutions. One was the Patrician Brothers College, where he worked as a relief teacher for eight years, and another was St Bernadette’s Primary School. He had pleaded guilty to both cases, subsequently being sentenced to 8 years imprisonment without parole for a minimum of 5 years.
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