News

Former Gladstone principal jailed for sexual assault

A FORMER principal of the Gladstone Catholic high school now known as Chanel College has been jailed for sexually assaulting a student - and new alleged victims are coming forward now the case has hit the headlines.

Brother John Dennis Maguire was principal at the Gladstone school between 1975-1977 when it was operated by Marist Brothers.

Last week he was jailed for sexually assaulting a student at a prestigious Sydney Catholic college.

He moved to Sydney from Gladstone and the incidents happened shortly after. Chanel College yesterday distanced itself from Brother Maguire, and urged anyone with any evidence against him to report their experiences to police.

At least five members of the public had contacted The Observer last night after we started asking questions about his background.

A letter, sent out to parents and members of the Chanel College community late yesterday in the wake of those inquiries is printed below.

In the letter, the college moved to assure parents the school would have measures in place "to respond to any pastoral issues that could arise of these crimes against children being committed by a former principal of our college".

"Following a media inquiry earlier today, I have become aware that a former principal of Gladstone Catholic High School, Brother John Maguire, was found guilty of indecent assault and sentenced to a custodial term," wrote current principal Sharon Volp.

"Any situation involved the abuse of children is profoundly distressing."

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Brother Maguire, who worked in Sydney from 1978 to 1986, hung his head as he was sentenced to a minimum sentence of one year and nine months jail for six separate assaults on an 11-year-old boy in 1983 while he was employed as the boy's dorm master at St Joseph's Catholic College.

The paper reported Brother Maguire was first charged in 2002. Last week he was sent to jail after nine separate trials spanning 13 years, and more than 30 years after the abuse took place.

He was found guilty in only one of those trials, with rules in NSW meaning the juries did not know he faced a variety of charges against different boys.

The link to Gladstone has prompted former students of the school (known then as Stella Maris College) to come forward.

One, who studied under Maguire, said the actions of the former principal had tarnished her life. "He touched me in a sexually inappropriate manner.

He totally denied what happened and he tried to get me removed from the school," she said. The Observer has not named her as a potential victim of sexual abuse.

Another former student, who also contacted the Observer late yesterday, said he remembered Brother Maguire like it was yesterday.

"He never sexually assaulted me but he physically assaulted me," the man said. "I saw him touching up girls and punching boys."

Letter to members of Chanel College community:

DEAR parents and members of the Chanel College Community,

Following a media inquiry earlier today, I have become aware that a former principal of Gladstone Catholic High School, Brother John Maguire, was found guilty of indecent assault and sentenced to a custodial term.

The matters were unrelated to his time at Gladstone.

Br Maguire was principal of Gladstone Catholic High School (which for a period was called Stella Maris College and now Chanel College) between the years 1975-1977 when the college was staffed and operated by the Marist Brothers.

I am advised that at this time, the Marist Brothers had received no allegation against Br Maguire relating to his period at Gladstone Catholic High School.

The Marist Brothers urge any person with any evidence of criminal behaviour to contact the police.

You can report matters involving the sexual abuse of children to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to the Sexual Abuse of Children (www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au) or call the Royal Commission Support Line on 1800 099 340.

Like you, I find the abuse of children very upsetting and as your current college principal, I would like to assure you that we will have measures in place to respond to any pastoral issues that could arise in the school or wider community as a result of our community becoming aware of these crimes against children being committed by a former principal of our college.

Any situation involving the abuse of children is profoundly distressing.

Should you deem it appropriate to discuss the matter with your children and believe you may require some professional assistance and/or advice, please contact me and I will be able to direct you to the appropriate services.

Furthermore, I take this opportunity to reassure you that Catholic Education today has stringent protocols in place for the protection of children and that we co-operated openly and fully with police investigations and requests for information.

Should you at any time be concerned or have specific allegations about inappropriate behaviour by any individual associated with Catholic Education either currently or in the past, I encourage you to immediately refer the matter to the police and then please contact myself or the student protection officer for Catholic Education in this diocese, Ms Anne Czekanski.

If you require any further information with respect to this matter or any matter concerning our college, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Finally, I ask that you please keep all the college community in your thoughts and prayers at this distressing time.

Yours faithfully,

SHARON VOLP, principal

Topics:  chanel college, editors picks, sexual assault




'Fast tracked': $9.8m project to bring Gladstone jobs

AN ENERGY HIT: Glenn Butcher MP has announced a $9.8 million upgrade to the power supply infrastructure.

State Government fast tracks another project in Gladstone

Miles points to science to call for land clearing laws

New research reveals more information on stresses to the Reef

'Wrong spot': Workers on site of controversial Tannum servo

MIXED REACTION: Earthwork has started at the Coles Express service station on Booth Ave, Tannum Sands.

Development of servo in the 'wrong spot' starts

Latest deals and offers

Taylor Swift dismissed from jury duty

Taylor Swift was dismissed from jury duty in a sexual assault case

Zumbo's Willy Wonka hat trick trips up Queensland brickie

Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo with Zumbo's floating dessert in a scene from Zumbo's Just Desserts.

NOOSA'S Michael Basset asked to recreate floating chocolate dish.

John Lennon's killer denied parole for 9th time

John Lennon

John Lennon's killer has been denied parole for the ninth time.

Mexican band takes aim at Trump

Disguised as unhinged narcotraficantes, the Mexican-American agitators of BRUJERIA captured the mood of the citys minorities with the bands infamous and widely banned 1993 debut, Matando Geros (Killing White People), quickly becoming the Spanish-language counterparts to early grindcore masters TERRORIZER and NAPALM DEATH.  Photo Contributed

'Satanic drug lord' band challenges Trump

Willy Wonka star, Gene Wilder dead at 83

A still of Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m