Pedophile's death allegedly has been used as a shield from abuse accusations in the Catholic Order in Australia. The Marist Brothers, a Catholic order, will argue in court that they should not be held liable for abuse claims related to Brother Francis "Romuald" Cable because he is dead, despite allegations that the order concealed his crimes for years.
Even though Cable had been accused of abusing children as early as 1967, the Marist Brothers took no action to expel him from the order or alert the police. Instead, he was transferred to the order's governed schools. In September 2019, Cable passed away in prison after being given a 16-year prison term in 2015 for crimes committed against 19 boys at Marist Brothers schools in Maitland, Hamilton, and Pagewood between 1960 and 1974.
Catholic Order Using the Death of a Pedophile Member as A Shield From Allegations of Abuse
According to The Guardian, Marist Brothers, a Catholic religious order, is facing a lawsuit filed by a former student who alleges a teacher sexually abused him in the 1960s. The plaintiff, John Peters, claims that the order breached its duty of care by allowing the teacher, a known pedophile, to remain in his position and by failing to depose him of Holy Orders.
Peters also alleges that the order failed to report the abuse to the police and permitted the teacher continued access to young boys, even after an internal investigation found him to be a compulsive pedophile. Marist Brothers deny the claims, arguing that it cannot receive a fair trial on new civil claims as the teacher is deceased and, therefore, unable to provide a witness statement.
Peters' lawyers attempted to delay the stay application hearing, but the NSW supreme court rejected the bid. The case is at odds with the royal commission's findings, which showed survivors take an average of 22 years to come out and speak.
What is Pedophilia, and How is it Considered a Criminal Offense?
According to Britannica, pedophilia is a psychosexual illness characterized by sexual interest in or efforts to engage in sexual activity with prepubescent children. The syndrome has previously been categorized in the diagnostic literature for mental illnesses. Yet, the pedophilic disease took its position in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) fifth edition.
The DSM-5 distinguishes between paraphilias and paraphilic disorders, recognizing that individuals may exhibit or engage in a range of atypical sexual interests, practices, or behaviors that do not constitute mental illnesses.
Pedophilia itself is not a criminal offense, but acting on it is. According to Legal Information Institute, many jurisdictions have laws that criminalize sexual contact with minors and possessing or distributing sexual images of children. These laws impose criminal liability on individuals who engage in such acts.
Those convicted of such crimes often must register with law enforcement agencies after release. In California, for example, sentenced pedophiles must register with the California Department of Justice, and their information must be made public.