Alleged abuser found in PNG
But for some who knew Father Roger Mount when he was a brother working in homes run by the Catholic St John of God Order in Australia several decades ago, the scenario is disturbing.
''Bloody hell, that's concerning. That's not good,'' says Melbourne pensioner Steve Danas, who grew up in one of the order's homes after being orphaned at three.
|Father Roger Mount in Sogeri. Photo: supplied|
AdvertisementIn all, more than 30 former residents of the homes alleged that many brothers had been systematically abusing them from the 1960s to the 1980s. The claims led to a Victorian police investigation and the order paying out more than $4 million in compensation. But the brothers - who have denied the abuse - never faced any charges in Victoria.
A number of the brothers, including Father Mount, have been able to move into other roles where they may have regular contact with children.
This week, Fairfax Media tracked down Father Mount giving Mass to his 60-strong congregation at his small church in Sogeri, a tiny village 40 kilometres east of Port Moresby.
Outside the church, a youth said he was the priest's live-in helper and had lived with him in a house at the back of the church since he was about 11. ''My
father has given me to him when I was a boy. He is like a father to me. My father did the same job,'' said the boy.
He said he had never had any concerns about his treatment by the priest, who was elderly and needed an assistant.
Father Mount vigorously denied being involved in anything inappropriate with any boy in the homes or that he posed any threat to anyone.
He said he had never been contacted by the order about the compensation payments to the alleged victims, something he thought was surprising as ''they know where I am''.
He confirmed he knew Mr Danas and another man who had received a payment from the order but said there had never been any issue between himself and the two claimants.
Asked why they the men had come forward, Father Mount speculated: ''Maybe he (Danas) wanted money''.
Father Mount said he had left the brothers in 1983 to become a priest in PNG and confirmed he had at one point been in the senior role of chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Port Moresby.
He confirmed another of the order's Brothers, William Lebler, had also worked at the home in PNG. Brother Lebler was later alleged to have abused children at the order's homes in New Zealand but never faced court over the allegations after a NSW court ruled in the mid-2000s that he had dementia.
Father Mount said he had never seen inappropriate behaviour by any of the brothers.
Yesterday Mr Danas said he was angry that Father Mount was still with the church in PNG. ''I thought that he was dead,'' said Mr Danas, who alleged that the then Brother Mount had plied him with alcohol and molested him during his time at the order's Churinga home at Greensborough in the 1970s.
He said he had given police a statement but was told it would come down to his word against the priest's and did not hear back from the investigating officer. ''I want to confront him,'' he said. ''There should be a proper investigation.''
Fairfax Media has obtained other documents confirming the order also made payments to two other men who had alleged abuse by Father Mount.
One of the men alleged Father Mount had tried to molest him while he was recovering at the order's Mentone hostel after surgery to remove his appendix.
He also alleged abuse by other brothers and received a payment from the order in the 2000. Father Mount said he did not know this man.
Fairfax Media has also seen a document created during settlement processes by the order involving another alleged victim in NSW who says he was abused by Father Mount while at the order's special school.
Psychologist Dr Michelle Mulvihill, who was employed by the order to meet alleged victims during compensation negotiations, said she believed the allegations were genuine.
She called on the Catholic Church to stand down Father Mount from his parish priest role and for a proper investigation to be undertaken into the allegations.
Father Mount said this week he was willing to face his accusers. ''Yes I would come back,'' he said.
Asked if would he make contact with the order now he knew about the compensation payments, he said: ''I don't know. They might not want to hear from me.''
Archbishop John Ribat of the Port Moresby Diocese said he was unaware of the allegations. He said any investigation should be conducted in Australia where the alleged offences occurred.
Archbishop Ribat said he was aware a family was living with Father Mount, who was sickly and not fully active as a priest.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/accused-priest-preaches-in-png-20121130-2amsk.html#ixzz2DrJjoppf