Human rights

Grahame Mundine ~ ABORIGINAL Rights activists advocate

High ranking Marist brother Graeme Mundine has been sentenced to at least 18 months behind bars for the sexual abuse of 5 boys in his care.

Graeme Mundine, a prominent Aboriginal rights advocate has been convicted of historic sexual abuse crimes and sentenced to three years in prison with an 18 month non-parole period for offences relating to five male victims in the 1980s.

The 58 year old faced three charges of assault, an act of indecency and four charges of indecent assault to a party under 16 in Campbelltown District Court for offences that occurred over a four-and-a-half year period while he was a Marist Brother dorm master and teacher at St Gregorys College in Sydney.

In sentencing, District Court judge Chris O’Brien acknowledged Mundine’s contribution to the Aboriginal community in the years after the crimes tool place and noted the absence of similar offences since that time. The fact is no matter who someone was before they abused a child, the moment they touched the child or hurt the child they were no longer people of good character.

The businessman and former chairman of the Abbott government’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, said the news of his brother’s crimes came as a shock and “raises a lot of questions”. What questions did it raise Mr Mundine ? He was tried and convicted in a court of law so what questions does it raise exactly ? The only question it should raise is how did you not know and the answer to that is simply, Child abusers are MASTER manipulators. That’s what they do, not your fault.

In the 1990s, Mundine became the inaugural Chair and Executive officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council. He also co-authored the Catholic Church’s response to the 1997 Bringing Them Home Report on the Stolen Generations.
Later, he headed the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission within the National Council of Churches in Australia. He was also the Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Sydney.

We did not include this to talk about how good a person Mundine was, we mentioned this to speak to the fact that child abusers can be anyone, anywhere. They do not have to be the dirty old pervert hiding behind a tree in the park wearing a trenchcoat. In fact 90% of all child abuse crimes are perpetrated by someone known to the child. People in well-respected positions of power often use that power to groom their victims and the families of their victims.

Mundine should have had aggravated charges added to his charge sheet because of the nature of trust that he broke in order to abuse the children in his care. He used his position as house master at Marist colleges to gain overnight access to his victims and no doubt used his position in the Aboriginal, Catholics and government communities to covince his victims that no one would believe them !

Judge O’Brien said Mundine had “besmirched the reputation of the religious order and the men who followed in his footsteps”.

“These are serious offences which occurred over a four-and-a-half year period,” he said.

“This was a serious breach of trust and abuse of power.

“The offender took advantage of the naivety and vulnerability of the victims.

“Disturbingly the events occurred when the victim was seeking guidance or support and was instead met with sexual abuse.

“The victim impact statements were both powerful and moving.

“There is no doubt these events have had a significant affect on their lives.”

This was not Mundine’s only brush with the law, Mr Mundine was also convicted of similar crimes against male students at another Catholic boarding school at Pagewood in 1988.

Sadly child abusers can and do exist in all levels of society, sadder still they often use the power they have gained to abuse more children. Often I wonder if they don’t seek out those positions of power with the sole purpose of offending against children.

Graeme Mundine, your brother said your conviction raised a lot of questions, we hope our article answered his questions.

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