Statement by the St John of God Brothers Regarding the ABC Documentary Revelation

Apr 7, 2020 | Safeguarding & Redress

Episode 2 of the ABC documentary Revelation, broadcast on Tuesday 31st March 2020, contained shocking and distressing material relating to the offences of Bernard McGrath who is a former Brother of St John of God.

The Brothers have consistently acknowledged their deep shame and sorrow at the betrayal of trust by Bernard McGrath and the harm inflicted on his many victims.

As to the sensational nature of the reporting by Sarah Ferguson and the allegations of complicity, these are the facts.

In 1977, the office of the then Provincial (Br Brian O’Donnell) received an anonymous letter concerning Brothers Rodger Moloney and Bernard McGrath who were then part of the Orders’ “Marylands” community in New Zealand. The letter sought the transfer of the Brothers away from Marylands and cited incidents of alleged sexual misconduct as the basis for their transfer. The letter was anonymous and no names were provided. It was determined that the allegations as set out in the letter could not be sustained and in the circumstances no further action was deemed appropriate.

Transfers of Brothers were made throughout a given year based on the operational needs of the various communities in which the Order operated. Given his training, in September 1977 Br Moloney was transferred to take on a pharmaceutical role at the Vatican. Br McGrath was transferred in October 1977 to New South Wales to assist the community at Kendall Grange.

Allegations regarding Br McGrath first came to the attention of the then Provincial (Br Joseph Smith) in August 1992. The Church protocol at that time saw Br McGrath withdrawn from the community and the allegations were investigated internally. As a result of the investigation Br McGrath was withdrawn from ministry. He left the Order in 1996. At the time the Order was advised of the allegations, it believed that the victim would be contacting the Police.

The Brothers of St John of God have co-operated with police in their investigations of Bernard McGrath and given access to all records. The implication that records were destroyed is offensive and categorically denied.

We once again extend an unreserved apology to all those who were harmed in our care and commit ourselves to engaging with all victims who come forward with compassion and justice.