75% of St John brothers accused
More than 70 per cent of the brothers in the St John of God order are suspected child abusers and Sydney Archbishop George Pell should immediately shut the order down, says a psychologist employed by the order to meet its scores of abuse victims.
Dr Michelle Mulvihill, who met more than 120 of the order's child abuse victims during compensation negotiations between 1998 and 2007, said on Sunday that Cardinal Pell had been aware of a loan made by the Catholic Development Fund to assist the order, which was in financial trouble.
She also alleged that the order had never properly supervised suspected paedophile brothers and hid documents relating to the child abuse around its properties in Australia in places where police ''would never find them''.
Almost 200 victims have sought compensation after alleging they were abused in special schools and homes run by the brothers in Victoria, NSW and New Zealand.
Last week, a Melbourne inquiry into child abuse heard allegations that brothers had drugged and pack-raped boys at their centres in Victoria. Claims were also made that two boys were allegedly beaten so badly they might have died but their deaths were not reported.
Fairfax Media has also obtained documents revealing that dozens of boys were brutally assaulted at Kendall Grange, the order's special school for mentally and physically impaired boys at Morisset on the NSW central coast in the 1960s and '70s.
Dr Mulvihill worked with the order for nine years from 1998, sitting in on meetings involving negotiators from the order and about 150 victims across Victoria, NSW and New Zealand.
But she quit in 2007 over fears that suspected paedophile brothers still wielded too much power in the order and were interfering with victims' compensation and treatment.
On Sunday, Dr Mulvihill described the order as hosting brothers who were responsible for ''the worst examples of child abuse I have ever heard of''.
Of the 40 to 50 brothers who had been in the order, about 75 per cent had ended up being the subject of allegations, she said.
''There was a small gene pool as to who you could talk to [about the abuse],'' she said.
She also alleged that the then head of the order, Provincial Peter Burke, had borrowed millions of dollars from the church to pay victims.
On Sunday night a spokesman for Dr Pell said the cardinal was not involved in the investigation of any abuse within the order and he was not briefed on any outcomes.
The spokesman said the St John of God order of brothers was not responsible to any Australian bishop, managing its own affairs and reporting to their headquarters in Rome.