The victims – abused over three decades – include wards of the state cared for by the brothers in homes for the mentally impaired, a state parliamentary inquiry into child abuse is expected to be told. Seven are believed to have committed suicide.
The suspected paedophile brothers from the Hospitaller Order of St John of God have never been charged in Victoria because of a lack of police resources, says the submission’s author, Dr Wayne Chamley, a researcher for Broken Rites, the support group for church sex abuse victims.
While most of the suspected paedophiles are dead, Fairfax Media is aware of three who have left the Catholic order and moved away but are in roles where they could have access to children.
The allegations relate to the order’s operations at Cheltenham and Lilydale, where it provided homes for wards of the state, orphans, boys given up by their parents and those with intellectual disabilities from the 1950s to the 1980s.
The order paid out more than $3.6 million in 2002 to 24 men who had alleged they were abused as children by brothers from the order.
Victorian police at the time confirmed they had launched an investigation into the allegations and taken statements from a number of alleged victims, and that the Director of Public Prosecutions was to decide on any charges to be laid.
But Dr Chamley and victims have confirmed to Fairfax that none of the 15 suspected paedophile brothers has ever been charged in Victoria.
Dr Chamley will give details of alleged horrific abuse at the order’s homes, including claims that boys were subjected to pack rapes and beatings and being drugged.
He will allege that two boys were sent to a mental institution by the "alpha paedophile" brother and given electroshock therapy, which impaired one so badly he was unable to care for himself and later died.