Inquiry hears paedophile Ross Murrin still a member of Marist Brothers Catholic order
An inquiry into child sexual abuse has heard that nothing has been done to remove a Marist Brother from the Catholic order,
despite the fact he is behind bars.
The Marist Brothers have been at the centre of a public inquiry as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses
to Child Sexual Abuse.
Brother Ross Murrin is in a Sydney jail after pleading guilty to child sex offences in 2008 and 2010.
A man known only as DK has told the inquiry he was abused by Murrin in 1981 at a college at Cairns in Far North Queensland.
The commission has heard that two other boys at the school also came forward with allegations at the time.
The boys said Brother Murrin had touched them on the chest and stomach in their dormitories at night.
Fellow Marist Brothers who worked at the school have told the commission they did not think the behaviour constituted "abuse".
The leader of the Marist Brothers in Australia, Jeffrey Crowe, has now revealed to the inquiry that Murrin remains in the order.
He says no formal steps have been taken to dismiss the man.
"We have put to Brother Murrin that we think this is the time for a serious conversation on his future," Brother Crowe told the
"For a Brother to be dismissed is a process, which would involve quite a bit of paperwork."
Nearly half of convicted Brothers remain in order
To date 16 Brothers have been convicted for crimes against children and seven remain in the order, but Brother Crowe has assured
the commission the problem is a thing of the past.
"Since 1995 there has been no substantiated allegation of sexual abuse by a Marist Brother in a school or an institution," he said.
Brother Crowe told the inquiry there gave been more than 100 "investigations or established complaints" against individual
brothers, relating to incidents in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
The average age of the accused men is 75.
He has conceded that in the early 1980s he did not know that touching the genitals of children was considered "sexual assault".
"I'm not sure that the word 'crime' would have come into my mind," he said.
Brother Crowe was then asked how he would have reacted to allegations in 1981 that Murrin had touched boys on the chest and stomach.
"I would think that it's a bit weird, to start with," he responded.
Around 40,000 students attend Marist Brothers schools and institutions across the country, with the number steadily growing.
Murrin is expected to be released from jail in the middle of this year.