The head of the Marist Brothers in Australia has apologised to the family of a student who committed suicide and said it was likely the boy was abused by a Marist Brother at a school in Newcastle in the 1970s, reports the ABC.
Brother Peter Carroll yesterday told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing into the Church in the NSW Hunter region: "I want to acknowledge today in public that I accept on behalf of the Marist Brothers that all the evidence points to Andrew [Nash] having been sexually abused and the evidence also points to Andrew having taken his own life."
Brother Peter then slammed remarks by another Church official that the death was a "prank gone wrong" or that other members of the Nash family may have been involved.
"Any suggestion that they were is completely wrong and hurtful to the family," he said. "Such comments immeasurably compounded the family's pain and sense of loss."
He also acknowledged the Marist Brothers' response to abuse allegations over decades was "entirely inadequate," with leaders failing to take "strong decisive action."
A former principal of a Marist Brothers high school in Newcastle told the Commission yesterday that he could not remember the circumstances surrounding Andrew Nash's suicide after he was sexually abused by a teacher.
Brother Christopher Wade was principal of the Marist Brothers' Hamilton school during the 1970s, when the 13-year-old student killed himself.
Brother Christopher told the Commission he "could not remember" going to the Nash family home the night of the death, when Andrew's mother Audrey recalled paedophile Francis Cable, known as Brother Romuald, asked her if her son "left a note" or "said anything."
Marist head apologises as Catholic hearing closes (Newcastle Herald)