Marist Brothers apology over Brother Leon


SHINE LIGHT DINKUSSHINE LIGHT copy.jpgTHE Marist Brothers have issued private apologies to victims of a man known as Brother Leon by students at Marist Brothers Hamilton in the early 1950s.

Five men are believed to have received compensation.

But there has been no public acknowledgement of the child sex crimes of the late Brother Leon, who started life as Noel Mackey, and what the Marist Brothers knew about him before his abrupt removal from the Hamilton school in September 1955.

He resigned from the Marist Brothers three months later, and moved to a Queensland mining town within a year. He also changed his surname and adopted his mother’s maiden name.

Brother Leon’s case is why victims’ advocate Bob O’Toole, 67, does not have much time for people who argue the Catholic church’s child sex crimes are “ancient history”.

After a life of suffering the consequences of being abused by Brother Leon at Marist Brothers Hamilton in 1953, it was only in 2008 he disclosed the offences to his wife.

And he has had contact with other men who have suffered in silence for decades while the Marist Brothers have also been silent.

“I believe his superiors were aware of his sexual proclivities long before he suddenly left,” Mr O’Toole said.

“It’s reinforced by his suspicious transfers through four Marist Brothers colleges between 1943 and 1947, before his appointment to Hamilton in 1948.

“It’s a long time between the offences and disclosure in this case, but it’s not ancient history. The truth about him is only occurring now, and we still don’t know how much the Marists knew and what they did with that knowledge.”

To join the call for a royal commission into church sex abuse, click here

Mr O’Toole is a founding member of Clergy Abused Network, a Hunter-based support group established by victims of child sexual abuse, and run by them.

He supports a royal commission.

CONTACT: Victims’ advocate Bob O’Toole. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Contact the Clergy Abused Network on 1300 722 689 for the cost of a local call.