Allegations of Abuse in Institutions

St John of God - Marylands - Index

2006/1 - The trial of Bernard McGrath


The Press
April 27 2006

Catholic brother jailed for sex assault

Disgraced former Catholic brother Bernard Kevin McGrath has been jailed for five years -- his third prison term for the sexual abuse of boys.

At a sentencing following a four-week trial in the High Court at Christchurch, Justice Lester Chisholm told the 58-year-old that he was sceptical about his claims of remorse.

In setting the length of the jail term, he had to take into account a 1993 jail term imposed on McGrath in Christchurch, and a nine-month term in Sydney later.

The latest offending was against boys at Marylands School in the 1970s, where McGrath was a brother, teacher and housemaster. Most of the nine victims, then aged between seven and 15 years, were physically or intellectually disabled. Crown prosecutor Kerryn Beaton told the court the sexual abuse had been marked by violence, threats, and sometimes cruelty.

Defence counsel Raoul Neave said the regime at the school at the time had been for severe physical punishment to be meted out to maintain discipline, but he pointed out the jury had accepted that there had been exaggeration of some of the claims.

The jury had found McGrath guilty on 21 indecency charges and not guilty on 22 charges. He had pleaded guilty to one charge and 10 were ruled out by the judge during the course of the trial.

Justice Chisholm was sentencing McGrath on 13 charges of indecent assault, eight charges of inducing an indecent act, and one charge of doing an indecent act.

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