Friday, April 1, 2011

Catholic brother found guilty
Catholic brother abused boy he was counselling Louise Hall Courts
April 1, 2011
.A FORMER Catholic brother has been found guilty of sexually abusing a teenager he was counselling after the youth was molested by another man.

In the Sydney District Court yesterday a jury of eight women and four men convicted William Stanley Irwin, 55, on two counts of gross indecency on a male under the age of 18 at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst in the mid-1980s.

The jury heard that Irwin, a former student, house master and part-time teacher at the college, kissed the youth and initiated mutual masturbation when the pair stayed at the boarding school overnight during a road trip in 1986.

Advertisement: Story continues below They were also told that in the weeks or months after the assault the teenager reported the abuse to a nun, and then to his parents, who spoke to the Provincial of the Vincentian order, Father Gerald Scott.

But the jury was not present when the court heard of a ''strictly confidential'' file in which Irwin was recorded as having admitted to ''the bed incident'' during an interview in 1987.

Irwin went on to be a dormitory master at St Stanislaus for two years. After his arrest in 2009 he was stood down from St Aloysius College at Milsons Point, a day school for boys run by the Jesuits, where he had been a chaplain and teacher since 2003.

Irwin, who left the Vincentians in 2002 and lives with his partner in Pyrmont, had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The victim, who is now 41, had been molested by a man when he was 15 during work experience at the Puffing Billy Railway in Victoria.

His parents told the court that they trusted Irwin, whom they knew as ''Brother Bill'', and asked him to help their son deal with his feelings about the sexual abuse.

The boy began visiting Irwin for counselling sessions, often in priests' quarters.

In the second half of 1986 Irwin drove the boy from Melbourne to Sydney and showed him the Wall in Darlinghurst and told him it was where homosexual men gathered to solicit sex. The Crown argued it was to ''plant'' the idea of homosexual sex in the boy's mind.

Irwin was granted bail and will be sentenced on July 22.

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