A former Christian brother will be sentenced on three historical sex charges in February following a long running trial in Sydney.
Peter Nicholas Joseph Lennox, who taught at Goulburn’s former Saint Patrick’s College in the early 1970s, was found guilty in Downing District Court on Thursday of two counts of indecent assault on a male and one of sexual/indecent assault on a boy aged under 16 under his authority.
However, on November 8 and 13 Lennox was found not guilty of four counts, including three of indecent assault on a male.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on another five charges, including four counts of indecent assault on a male and and one of indecent act on a male.
The Department of Prosecutions said no consideration had been given to an appeal on these five matters at this stage.
Police claimed the offences were committed against five boys at Manly’s Saint Paul’s College and Saint Patrick’s College, Goulburn, between 1973 and 1976.
Lennox, 79, of Cootamundra, was arrested in that town in November, 2014 following a search of his home in which police seized documents. He was originally charged with 18 historical sex charges.
The case has been running in the District Court for several years and delayed due to what solicitors argued was Lennox’s ill-health.
But a judge directed the trial go ahead in October. The trial lasted for two weeks and the jury deliberated for a further three weeks in the matter.
On Thursday, Judge Leonie Flannery adjourned sentencing to the Sydney District Court on February 15, 2019. Wagga Wagga Community Corrections will prepare a sentencing assessment report ahead of this.
Lennox has been free on bail since his arrest and this was continued.
Northern Beaches Police Command Inspector Michael Boutouridis said the case was four years of hard work.
“It kicked off with a complaint to the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing Program and it culminated in a report being forwarded to the NSW Police,” he said.
“The majority of charges were alleged to have occurred at Saint Paul’s College, Manly.”
Inspector Boutouridis said there were three previous attempts to progress the matter to trial but this was delayed due to Lennox’s stated ill-health.
Detective Senior Constable Adam Vickery, of the Northern Beaches Command, investigated the allegations.
“He worked very closely with the Broken Bay diocese and Tamara Hughes, the manager of of the Safeguarding of Children Protection team, and the Canberra/Goulburn diocese. The Catholic Church has been very helpful,” Inspector Boutouridis said.
“...It took a lot of courage by the alleged victims to come forward and bare their souls... and they’ve been vindicated with some of these verdicts.”
Lennox also taught at Saint Pat’s from 1983-4, 1987-1991 and 1992-93, according to Dr David Bollen’s book, Up on the Hill: A History of Saint Patrick’s College, Goulburn.
He is one of five Christian Brothers who taught at the school to be charged with historical sex offences. In June, 2016, Brother William Standen, then 67, was sentenced to nine years’ prison with a non-parole period of four and a half years for child indecent assault offences.
In October, 2016, William John Obbens, then 70, was sentenced to three years’ jail with a non-parole term of 18 months on three counts of aggravated indecent assault on three boys under his authority.
In August, 2016, Brother Christopher Rafferty, 65, was acquitted of three counts of indecent assault and three of homosexual intercourse.
Brother David Curtin, 67, is due to face trial in the Sydney District Court in January, 2019 on three counts of sexual/indecent assault on a person aged under 16 under his authority.
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