In their own words, the Marist Brothers are “dedicated to making Jesus known and loved through the education of young people, especially those most neglected.” It’s an admirable mission statement, but one that is hard to reconcile with the evidence delivered to the 2016 royal commission into child sexual abuse:
- 154 Marist Brothers were officially accused of child sexual abuse between 1980 and 2015, and many of them have been convicted or had claims paid out to victims.
- 20% of the Marist Brothers order between 1950 and 2010 were paedophiles.
- Claims of abuse against the Marist Brothers accounted for a quarter of all claims received by religious institutions.
- 486 people made a claim of abuse against the Marist Brothers between 1980 and 2015.
- The average age of claimants at the time of the abuse was 12.
- 89% of these claims identified one or more religious brothers as a perpetrator.
Founded by the French priest St Marcellin Champagnat in 1817, the Marist Brothers religious order has run 95 Australian schools, including 12 boarding schools, since 1972. Over this period, Marist brothers trained hundreds of male teachers who were posted to its schools across the country every year. Among these Marist Brothers were many fine teachers who didn’t abuse children. But there were many who did.