Alleged abuser found in PNG
PNG based Father Roger Mount rejects allegations he was linked to the abuse of three boys in Australia several decades ago.PT3M51S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2am7r 620 349 November 30, 2012
PARISHIONERS at the tiny Sogeri Catholic church in the foothills of Papua New Guinea's remote Owen Stanley Ranges pay little attention to their elderly priest, Father Roger Mount, having a teenage boy as his live-in helper.
But for some of those who knew Father Mount when he was a brother in Australia working in homes run by the Catholic St John of God Order several decades ago, the scenario seems outrageous.
''Bloody hell, that's concerning. That's not good,'' says the Melbourne pensioner Steve Danas, who grew up in one of the order's homes after being orphaned.
Mr Danas's outrage stems from the fact he was one of three men who came forward in the 2000s to allege they were sexually abused by the then Brother Mount at the order's homes in Melbourne and one in NSW in the 1970s and 1980s.
He joined more than 30 former residents of the St John of God homes from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s who alleged they were the victims of systemic abuse by several of the brothers with the order.
The claims led to a Victorian police investigation and the order paying out more than $4 million in compensation but the brothers, who denied the abuse, have never faced any charges over the allegations.
Fairfax Media has learnt that despite the payouts and the scores of allegations, a number of the brothers such as Father Mount were able to move to other roles where they potentially have regular contact with children.
This week Fairfax Media tracked down Father Mount saying Mass to his 60-strong congregation at his small church about 40 kilometres east of the capital, Port Moresby. Waiting outside was a local youth who said he was the father's live-in helper and had lived with the priest in a small house at the back of the church since he was about 11 years old.
But Father Mount vigorously denied being involved in any inappropriate behaviour with children or that he posed any threat to anyone. He said he had never been contacted by the order about the compensation payments to the alleged victims, something he thought was surprising as ''they know where I am''.
He confirmed he knew Mr Danas and another man who had made allegations but said there had never been any issue between himself and the two.
Asked why they might have come forward, Father Mount speculated that ''Maybe he [Danas] wanted money''.
Father Mount said he left the order in 1983 to become a priest in Papua New Guinea and later became chancellor of the Catholic archdiocese of Port Moresby.
Mr Danas, who admits he now battles an alcohol addiction and has received a small settlement from the order, said he was angry Father Mount was still with the church. He had alleged Brother Mount had plied him with alcohol and molested him at the order's Churinga home at Greensborough in Melbourne's north-east in the late 1960s to early 1970s.
Documents sighted by Fairfax confirm the order also made payments to two other men who alleged abuse by Father Mount.
When he was contacted this week, one of the men said he had been abused by Brother Mount while a young man at an order hostel at Mentone in Melbourne's south-east. Father Mount said he did not know this man.
The order also made a payment to a third victim who had been in the order's Kendall Grange home at Morisset, according to a settlement document.
Father Mount confirmed knowing this man but denied any impropriety during the man's time at the home as a boy. He said he would come back to face his accusers if need be.
This week the order's former professional standards committee member, psychologist Michelle Mulvihill, said she believed the complainants had been genuine.
''There were similarly brutal claims of long-term abuse from men who had not communicated with each other since leaving school,'' said Dr Mulvihill, who met victims during compensation negotiations. She called for Father Mount to stand down.
The Archbishop of Port Moresby, John Ribat, said he was unaware of the allegations.
He said any investigation should be conducted in Australia where the offences occurred and that he was unaware of any youth living alone with the priest. He confirmed a family was living with Father Mount.