The Catholic Church Insurance company (CCI) has not disclosed whether or not it will try to recover almost $9 million that might have been wrongly paid out on behalf of the Marist Brothers, reports The Canberra Times.
The payments, made to Canberra victims of serial sex abusers 'Kostka' John Chute and Gregory Sutton, might not have been made if CCI had been told the Marist Brothers had known for decades that the men were paedophiles and did nothing to remove them from contact with children.
In 2008, senior members of the order took advice from their lawyers on how to prevent CCI from learning Chute had been offending as early as 1960.
Details on how both the Marist Brothers and CCI responded to the abuse of dozens of children in the ACT during decades by Sutton and Chute were revealed at the Canberra hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last month.
Francis Sullivan, the Canberra-based CEO of the Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, sat through the hearings. He said he had not previously been aware the order and its lawyers had discussed how to keep Chute’s offending history secret from its insurers.
'I think that certainly surprised me when I heard that, no question,' he said.
The Commission was told that the Marist Brothers had shipped Gregory Sutton out of Australia within days of the start of a police investigation into his misconduct and that active measures intended to prevent CCI investigators from discovering information that might have caused the company to deny liability were discussed by the order and its legal team.
A Commission spokesman declined to comment on whether or not these concerns, which could constitute breaches of the law, had been referred to the police or other authorities for investigation. 'The Commission may refer information to police or other authorities,' Fairfax was told.
FULL STORY Catholic Church Insurance silent on Marist Brothers $9 million payout row (The Canberra Times)