Australian Catholic Brother Receives Third Child Sex Abuse Conviction

Former Christian Brother Stephen Farrell leaves court last Friday. Picture: AAP
Christian Brother Stephen Farrell leaves court last Friday

The Australian

“A former Christian Brother has been jailed for four months for indecently assaulting two students at Ballarat’s St Alipius Primary School in 1974, finally receiving a custodial sentence for his third conviction involving young boys.

Stephen Farrell, 66, taught at the school that also harboured Christian Brother convicted pedophiles Robert Best, Ted Dowlan and Gerald Leo Fitzgerald, who died before he was charged. Pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale was school chaplain in 1972 and 1973.

Farrell was sentenced yesterday to 18 months’ jail, with 14 months suspended. The maximum penalty at the time of the ­offending was five years’ jail.

Abuse survivor Phil Nagle said it was a “great relief” Farrell would go to jail 44 years after the abuse.

Melbourne Magistrates Court heard Farrell assaulted one child on three occasions by sitting him on his lap and fondling the child inside his trousers. He fondled another boy’s genitals after requesting he change into sports gear.

Farrell’s lawyer, Belinda Franjic, told the court Farrell was “vastly different” now, a loyal husband and family man who had reached “complete rehabilitation”.

In 1997, Farrell was convicted of nine counts of indecent assault and sentenced to two years’ jail, wholly suspended. In 2013, he was convicted of another charge of indecent assault and given three months’ jail, suspended on appeal.”

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