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The 5 worst Child Abusers at The Marist Fathers

The Marist Fathers, a Catholic religious order, have faced allegations of child abuse globally. This article explores their troubled history, with a focus on Tasmania, where survivors seek justice and compensation.

The Facts

The 2015 Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

  • The inquiry revealed systematic abuse by Marist Brothers in two residential schools: St Columba’s College in Largs and St Joseph’s College in Dumfries.
  • The abuse spanned from 1950 to 1981, exposing children to sexual, physical, and psychological harm.
  • Reports highlighted a culture of secrecy and denial within the institutions, where abuse was often covered up to protect the reputation of the Marist Brothers.

Secret List of Accused Offenders

  • Between 1980 and 2015, 486 people made claims of abuse against the Marist Brothers.
  • The average age of victims at the time of abuse was 12.
  • An alarming 89% of these claims identified one or more religious brothers as perpetrators.
  • The secret list of accused offenders included detailed accounts of abuse, often involving multiple victims and spanning several years.

Pathology of a Predator

  • A total of 154 Marist Brothers were officially accused of child sexual abuse between 1980 and 2015.
  • Approximately 20% of the Marist Brothers’ order between 1950 and 2010 were found to be involved in such misconduct.
  • The widespread abuse within the Marist Brothers highlighted systemic issues within the order, including the failure to adequately screen, supervise, and report offending members.

Marist Fathers Institutional Child Abuse in Tasmania

Former Tasmanian students are courageously seeking justice for the horrors they endured at the hands of some of the worst offenders in the Marist Fathers order:

Stephen Grant Randell

  • Born in 1956, Randell was a former Australian Test cricket match umpire.
  • In 1999, he was convicted of 15 counts of sexual assault against nine schoolgirls aged 10–12.
  • The abuse occurred while he taught at a Catholic primary school between 1981 and 1982.
  • Randell’s position as a teacher allowed him to exploit his authority and access to vulnerable children, leading to significant and long-lasting trauma for his victims.

Paul Ronald Goldsmith

  • Born around 1945, Goldsmith trained for the Catholic priesthood but did not reach ordination.
  • He continued his interest in boys as a sports coach at Catholic boys’ schools.
  • In 2005, he was jailed for sexual offenses against 20 boys committed in Tasmania between 1976 and 1987.
  • Goldsmith used his role as a sports coach to gain the trust of his victims and their families, which he then betrayed by committing these heinous acts.

Gregory Laurence Ferguson

  • A former priest, Ferguson was convicted of maintaining a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boarder at Marist College in 1970.
  • He received a three-year prison sentence with an 18-month non-parole period.
  • Ferguson faced other sexual abuse charges earlier and had a total of five years’ imprisonment.
  • His repeated offenses and relatively light sentences illustrate the challenges in bringing such perpetrators to full justice during that era.

Roger Michael Bellemore

  • Bellemore, a Marist Father, taught at Marist College in the late 1960s and early ’70s.
  • He was found guilty of maintaining a sexual relationship with three boys aged 12 to 15.
  • Bellemore was sentenced to five years in prison with a non-parole period of three years.
  • His predatory behavior went unchecked for years, leading to profound impacts on his victims’ lives.

Thomas Fulcher

  • In December 2018, Fulcher was sentenced to four years in prison, two without parole.
  • He admitted to sexually abusing two former students.
  • Fulcher’s late admission and conviction highlight ongoing efforts to bring past abusers to justice, providing some measure of closure for his victims.

Seeking Compensation and Justice

Survivors of abuse at the hands of the Marist Fathers and other institutions can pursue legal action to seek compensation and justice. Legal support helps to hold perpetrators accountable and provides survivors with official and financial recognition of their suffering, aiding in emotional closure.

How Koffels Solicitors and Barristers Can Help

At Koffels Solicitors and Barristers, we are committed to standing by survivors of abuse by the Marist Fathers. Our dedicated historical institutional child abuse team is here to help you through the legal process and achieve the compensation you deserve.



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