A TEENAGER who was sexually assaulted by a St John of God Brother was expelled from his school after punching the Brother in the face during an attempted sexual assault in the 1980s.
The student walked 10 kilometres before catching a train and ending up at Newcastle railway station in the middle of the night, Justice Anthony Payne said after rejecting the appeal of former Brother John Clegg against his conviction and sentence for child sex offences against two teenage boys.
Clegg, 64, was found guilty in June, 2015 of seven offences against one student, 14, including multiple charges of sexual intercourse, and four offences against a second student, 14, including sexual intercourse.
He was sentenced to seven years’ jail, with a minimum term of four years and six months and an earliest release date in June, 2022. Clegg’s name was suppressed until the appeal against his conviction was published on Monday.
Clegg worked at a St John of God boarding school for boys with educational and behavioural problems during two periods in the 1980s. The school cannot be named for legal reasons. He was described as a welfare officer, family counsellor and member of the community and family care unit.
His trial was told Clegg sexually assaulted one student in the lounge room of a dormitory, and sexually assaulted another student after giving the boy cigarettes and taking him to his room where he showed the student a pornographic film of men and women having sex.
One of his victims threw himself off a rope swing in an attempt to get out of the school.
“He broke his collar bone and was taken to hospital. He did not go back to the school after that,” Justice Payne noted.
His second victim, who punched Clegg in the face, told the court his mother picked him up from Newcastle railway station after he was expelled and walked away from the school.
The victim later had gender re-assignment surgery and lived on the streets of Kings Cross for a decade.
The court heard the victim saw Clegg many years later at Centrelink in Haymarket, and Clegg gave the victim the address of a centre where he worked.
“She said there were two or three occasions at this centre where Clegg ‘basically did the same thing he did at the school’,” Justice Payne said.
Justice Payne rejected Clegg’s arguments there had been a miscarriage of justice relating to aspects of his trial.
For significant periods the St John of God order named Clegg on its websites as the contact person for people wishing to join the order.
At a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse final hearing into the Catholic Church in February the commission revealed data showing the St John of God order had the highest percentage of child sex offenders of any order in Australia.
Two in five St John of God Brothers, or 40 per cent, are alleged to have committed child sex crimes.