A secret world of energy, abuse and cover-ups in New Zealand colleges



The Marist Brothers and Fathers have educated prime ministers, judges, cardinals and All Blacks at their Catholic excessive colleges. However their file of sexual abuse is horrific. Worse nonetheless was their dealing with of the abuse when it was uncovered. On this collection The Secret Historical past, Steve Kilgallon investigates the facility, abuse and cover-ups on the coronary heart of two extremely influential and rich spiritual teams.

That is Half 1. The remaining elements can be printed over the approaching weeks.

Warning: This story could also be upsetting to some.

When John Wilson* was 12 years previous, he was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by his college principal, Kevin Waters.

Over two years at Christchurch’s Xavier Intermediate, John was groomed, then threatened, crushed, and even burned with a cigarette lighter. He was an altar server, and Waters would trick John by summoning him to town’s Catholic cathedral on the pretence of serving to at a mass, then abuse him.

“As a 12-year-old boy, to have this towering man standing over you in a black gown: he was very intimidating,” John says. “He was a horrible man.”

Waters, often generally known as Brother Giles, was a part of a non secular order known as the Marist Brothers – a Catholic group devoted to schooling.

John instructed his deeply-religious father, who refused to imagine him; it destroyed their relationship.

The abuse created different lifelong harm. Fearful of going to high school, John stop at 14 and went to work cleansing truck filters; he by no means accomplished his schooling.

The Secret History series investigates the power, abuse and cover-ups at the heart of two highly influential and wealthy religious groups.


The Secret Historical past collection investigates the facility, abuse and cover-ups on the coronary heart of two extremely influential and rich spiritual teams.

He tried suicide twice as a younger man, and solely lastly opened up about his abuse when it threatened his marriage.

If he sleeps unmedicated, he’s woken by nightmares.

“It tears you aside emotionally,” he says, 41 years later. ‘’That’s the place my previous suicide makes an attempt got here from. You get crushed down when you consider what you’ve been by means of. You attempt to hold it collectively, as a result of I’ve bought younger youngsters and a wedding, however while you begin letting it get to you, it wrecks you.”

Waters taught for over half a century at colleges across the nation earlier than his demise in 2011, aged 83, a demise marked within the Marists’ e-newsletter with a eulogy which celebrated his “particular look after the underdog and … looking love of God”.

John says he has personally recognized not less than 10 different survivors of Waters’ abuse. There’s proof that complaints made – within the Fifties, 60s and 70s – whereas Waters was nonetheless educating had been ignored.

John’s story is one in all many. For this collection, Stuff has interviewed 21 survivors of horrific, usually long-lasting abuse by the Marist Brothers (based in 1817) and the Marist Fathers (based in 1816), formally generally known as the Society of Mary.

Sexual abuse survivor 'John', pictured as a 12-year-old when he was being abused by Marist brother Kevin Waters.


Sexual abuse survivor ‘John’, pictured as a 12-year-old when he was being abused by Marist brother Kevin Waters.

The 2 associated teams now have simply 179 residing members in New Zealand, however they’ve left an usually barely-acknowledged path of sexual abuse of youngsters of their care.

When they first got here ashore on the Hokianga harbour in Northland in 1838, the Marists deliberate to coach the “savages” and hold the Catholic religion alive.

Jean-Claude Pompallier, the person dispatched to steer the mission from the Marists’ founding place of France, left “fairly fortunately for the tip of the world … for these savages who have no idea of our saviour”.

The Fathers led the unique mission, however it was the Brothers who started establishing colleges in 1876. The Authorities didn’t fund spiritual colleges, so these had been usually overcrowded, filled with working-class Irish with unpaid Brothers on the chalkboard.

Kevin Waters never faced justice for the sexual offending he committed during his long religious and teaching career.


Kevin Waters by no means confronted justice for the sexual offending he dedicated throughout his lengthy spiritual and educating profession.

By 1880, they’d 131 colleges nationwide, whereas one other growth with the arrival of obligatory secondary schooling in 1946 noticed a recent wave of boys’ excessive colleges. Each teams now personal main excessive colleges nationwide.

At their peak, the Brothers provided 100 lecturers throughout New Zealand excessive colleges and one other 60 throughout primaries and the Pacific. In addition they established an old-boys community which started with a library and billiard room in Auckland in 1904 and expanded right into a community of soccer, cricket, rugby, league, athletics, boxing, swimming and basketball golf equipment in a lot of the large cities.

It meant the 2 teams exerted an enormous affect over New Zealand society as the largest suppliers of Catholic schooling, one given to about 9% of Kiwis. They reached many extra by means of that sporting community.

Marist previous boys graduated into the hierarchies of the police, civil service, judiciary, media, sports activities and the church. The centenary historical past of the Brothers’ flagship Auckland boys’ highschool, Sacred Coronary heart, boasted of teaching a cardinal, 5 bishops, 137 monks, 30 spiritual brothers, 4 Rhodes Students, 36 college professors, 4 knights, 10 judges, a Commonwealth head of state, 5 MPs, three cupboard ministers and over 100 worldwide sportsmen, together with 20 All Blacks and a cricket captain.

That historical past, nevertheless, didn’t point out {that a} former headteacher, Ken ‘Brother Bosco’ Camden, was amongst a protracted listing of paedophiles energetic in each orders.

Ken 'Brother Bosco' Camden was a convicted paedophile and had a long career at several prominent Marist schools, including a spell as head of Sacred Heart College, Auckland.


Ken ‘Brother Bosco’ Camden was a convicted paedophile and had a protracted profession at a number of distinguished Marist colleges, together with a spell as head of Sacred Coronary heart Faculty, Auckland.

By its personal conservative statistics, the New Zealand Catholic Church reckons about 7% of its monks are paedophiles. It considers the quantity in spiritual orders – monks, nuns and brothers – to be a lot greater, at round 14%.

The church’s personal statistics file 157 allegations made in opposition to 59 Marist Brothers between 1950 and 2021 – about 12% of the order’s 484 members. The Society of Mary – the Marist Fathers – had 118 complaints in opposition to 43 members – about 6% of its 781 monks.

However campaigners imagine the actual figures could possibly be double that or extra: the church saved no information earlier than 1995, and plenty of, many victims had been silenced or by no means complained. Internationally, it’s believed solely 25-30% of sexual abuse victims ever come ahead. Even the church itself considers the figures too low: the Marist Fathers’ Tim Duckworth says: “I imagine that each one incidents of sexual abuse and violence are underreported.”

The church has had an issue with little one sexual abuse because the very early days of Christianity, with paperwork again to the Synod of Elvire, in 305AD, discussing the difficulty.

However, says Father Tom Doyle, a worldwide knowledgeable in Catholic sexual abuse, the trendy church has all the time opted for secrecy, defending its hierarchy over its victims.

“It has been buried in secrecy,” he says. “As a result of they realise if this turns into recognized, the credibility of the establishment goes to sink like a bowling ball in a lake.”

New Zealand wasn’t immune from this tradition. In 1934, Michael Liston, the seventh Catholic bishop of Auckland (1929-1970), acquired a grievance from a lady {that a} priest had sexually harassed her daughter. His reply, quoted in Nicholas Reid’s biography of Liston, stated: “I’m certain you will notice to it that the incident shouldn’t be spoken of.”

Doyle says the cracks started to emerge with a 1984 case in Louisiana, which media lined, relatively than ignored; then in 1989, widespread abuse was uncovered at a Christian Brothers orphanage in Canada.

Pope John Paul II initially dismissed the invention of paedophile monks inside his church as a particularly “American downside” – however quickly it was in Eire, Austria, and in all places else.

“The one locations on this globe the place there was no proof of sexual abuse by monks is the kingdoms of Bhutan and Nepal, as a result of there aren’t any monks, and Antarctica, as a result of it’s all penguins,” says Doyle.

In 2002, the bomb exploded for the Catholic Church. The Boston Globe’s investigative Highlight staff uncovered systemic sexual abuse amongst Boston monks – and the cover-up engineered by their chief, Cardinal Bernard Regulation. Their work was became the 2012 Oscar-winning movie Highlight.

The Boston Globe exposé triggered a worldwide wave of sexual abuse claims from survivors. A report later commissioned by the church itself from the New York-based John Jay Institute would determine 2002 because the “peak” of the disaster for reporting instances (the precise peak of offending occurred a while within the mid-Seventies).

Protestors helped force the resignation of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law after the Spotlight expose.


Protestors helped drive the resignation of Boston Cardinal Bernard Regulation after the Highlight expose.

The wave moved quick, hitting New Zealand that very same 12 months. A tv documentary triggered 137 calls to a hotline arrange by the Marist Fathers.

However – as in so many different instances everywhere in the world – the Fathers had recognized there was an issue lengthy earlier than they admitted something publicly. Chanel Houlahan, a Marist priest from Auckland who was an knowledgeable in rehabilitating paedophiles, instructed the Marist Fathers within the mid-Nineteen Nineties of the abuse downside of their midst. He was ignored.

“We had been horrified… we weren’t being engaged with in any solution to advise the church,” he says.

Till 1995, all branches of the New Zealand Catholic Church settled instances confidentially. No information had been saved and abuse was handled as an ethical failing to be resolved between priest and superior.

In 2002 the New Zealand church’s most senior clerics met to lastly confront the difficulty – and work out how a lot to pay its victims. They determined to maintain the quantities secret. And as little as potential.

“Our goal is to not evade any ethical obligation we’d should redress injustices, however is to train accountable stewardship over the sources which have come primarily from the Catholic folks … the Catholic folks have already contributed to the ACC fund arrange by the Authorities particularly to satisfy these wants”.

Each Marist teams – the Brothers and the Fathers – had been on the assembly, and had been enthusiastic subscribers to that strategy. The Marist Fathers determined its most payout can be simply $20,000 (later $30,000) – or $10,000 if the abuser was lifeless. The Marist Brothers adopted a barely decrease scale.

To today, New Zealand survivors are paid pitiful quantities in comparison with multi-million settlements abroad. The Catholic Church right here – and the Marists specifically – have pursued a deliberate coverage to restrict funds.

Each Marist teams are extraordinarily rich, proudly owning large residential property holdings, money, shares and debentures – and the vastly worthwhile Mission Property winery. Stuff’s analysis suggests the 2 Marist teams are price, at a conservative estimate, about $400m.

Each have made concerted efforts to minimise their payouts to survivors. On this collection, Stuff will present how well-paid legal professionals took on complainants to dissuade them from taking authorized motion.

Not one of the survivors spoken to by Stuff acquired greater than $50,000 in compensation. However nearly all have suffered deep lifelong impacts.

Three spent the vast majority of their grownup lives serving a number of jail sentences. Some have had drug issues, and a few have suffered extreme psychological well being points. Most reported difficulties in forming private {and professional} relationships, struggles with authority figures, and lack of spiritual religion, or “soul homicide”. Many blame themselves: “I’ve lived a lifetime of regularly making an attempt to make up for being a nasty individual,” says one survivor.

Evading justice

A row of gravestones in Auckland’s Waikumete cemetery marks the final resting place of many Marist Brothers. Dotted amongst them are convicted paedophiles; much more quite a few are these credibly accused, however who died with out ever going through justice.

On this collection, we’ll expose the buildings that allowed this abuse to flourish, unpunished, on the highest ranges of each societies, permitting these males to go to their graves with reputations untarnished.

We’ll present how Marist authorities did not cease it, failed to analyze it, turned a blind eye, and when lastly confronted by the reality of the abusers of their midst, did not create safeguards to stop reoffending.

The Marist Brothers section at Waikumete cemetery, Auckland – the first gravestone marks the late Brother Fabian O’Driscoll, who died in 2006, but has been the subject of credible abuse allegations.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

The Marist Brothers part at Waikumete cemetery, Auckland – the primary headstone marks the late Brother Fabian O’Driscoll, who died in 2006, however has been the topic of credible abuse allegations.

We’ll present how these males had been in a position to damage a number of victims over lengthy, adorned careers – and the way a number of, like Kevin Waters and Ken Camden, ascended to the rank of headteacher at a few of New Zealand’s most prestigious colleges. Usually, the paedophiles grouped collectively in clusters at a single college.

Adopting what Tom Doyle calls the “common playbook”, offenders had been moved when complaints got here to mild, permitting them to proceed abusing in different cities and cities, or generally within the Pacific Islands. We’ll expose how offenders had been quietly shifted into new roles with quick access to youngsters even when complaints had been laid.

Murray Heasley is a frontrunner of a help group for survivors known as the Community of Survivors of Church Sexual Abuse and their Supporters. “The Marists arrived in New Zealand impressed, in concept, by the instance of the Virgin Mary,” he says. “However they proved to be the harbingers of horror, of remorseless and constant little one intercourse abuse made worse by its concealment and shifting of predators.”

Each Marist Brothers and Fathers have apologised. In an announcement, the Fathers’ Tim Duckworth stated: “It ought to by no means have occurred. I battle to know how some members of a congregation … ought to have offended so despicably in opposition to harmless and susceptible younger folks and adults. I’m sorry.”

Marist Brothers delegate Peter Horide stated: ‘’’I’m deeply acutely aware that it is a trigger for disgrace, for remorse, and that the individuals who have skilled this stuff are going to be deeply distressed. We apologise that this ever occurred it should not have occurred and their ache is one thing we’re very acutely aware of.’’

‘It wrecked my life’

The Marist Brothers apologised to John Wilson, however have but to conform to any compensation for his horrific abuse.

Their provides, he says, have been “insulting”. Whereas he gained’t identify the exact figures, he says they might solely cowl his legal professionals’ payments, which stand at $15,000.

The abuse “wrecked my life”, John says. His siblings – who weren’t abused – are each rich and extremely profitable. He’s all the time led a solitary, self-employed life.

“I’m not residing the life-style I may have lived, as a result of he [Waters] stole it from me … I can’t work for different folks. I’ve struggled participating with folks. I’ve struggled to carry down friendships.”

Generally he emails the Brothers within the early hours. “I allow them to know I’m conscious. ‘How are you feeling?’

“That is my world. It by no means leaves you. I wouldn’t want it on anybody.”

That is Half 1. The remaining elements can be printed within the coming weeks.



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