Australian Catholic Priest Pleads Guilty To Child Sex Abuse

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The West

“A man sexually assaulted by a Christian Brother while a student in Kalgoorlie more than 50 years ago has called for the Catholic Church to be more accountable for those working in the institution.

The 66-year-old, who agreed to speak to the Kalgoorlie Miner on condition of anonymity, was sexually abused by former Christian Brothers College teacher James Brian Hamilton when he was 12.

Yesterday, Hamilton pleaded guilty in the Perth District Court to one charge of indecently and unlawfully dealing with a child under 14 between February and December in 1964.

A second charge against Hamilton, 84, who appeared via video link from Melbourne, was dropped on public interest grounds. The victim, who was present at yesterday’s hearing, said he was satisfied with the decision after a long-standing fight for justice.

“I’m pleased that after many, many years of me alleging sexual abuse by this Christian Brother that he has admitted to one count of sexual abuse,” he said.

“There is some victory, that before a court of law, that he has admitted guilt.

“It has affected me greatly. Since 1989 I’ve been trying to get someone — police and church authorities — to do something in regard to my allegations.

“It has been a long and tedious battle to get things to where they were today and it has been very taxing and trying.”

The man was born in Kalgoorlie and lived in the Goldfields city until he moved in 1969 for university.

His case was reported to police through the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

He had previously reported the abuse, but no formal action against Hamilton was taken.

Now a doctor based in rural WA, the man conceded dealing with emotional trauma caused by the sexual abuse was ongoing and said the Catholic Church needed to take the onus.

“I want the church to take notice and take their leadership responsibilities seriously and make sure children under their care aren’t abused,” he said.

“I don’t just want to be a victim, I want to be a survivor and be able to manage my life as well.

“Children have a right not to be sexually abused.

“They should not ever be subjected to sexual abuse.”

Hamilton will be sentenced on May 4.”

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