Society rapist sues religious brothers
Brother Bernard McGrath. Photo: Dean Kozanic
HE WAS dubbed the playboy rapist - a male model and occasional actor whose seductive charms hid a violent, narcissistic streak that eventually caused him to be jailed in 2009 for more than seven years over the brutal rape of a woman in the eastern suburbs.
But now Simon Monteiro claims that, years before he cut a swathe through Sydney's high-society women, it was he who was the victim of violence and sexual abuse, at the hands of the notorious Catholic Church order, the St John of God.
And he says this abuse left him so traumatised he has been unable to have ''meaningful relationships'' with women because of his ''inability to deal with conflict''.
Simon Monteiro, who has accused McGrath's order of abusing him. Photo: Julian Andrews
Monteiro, 45, who once dated Oscar nominee Barbara Hershey, is suing the order and three of its brothers in the Supreme Court for at least $750,000 in damages over what he claims were years of rape, intimidation and abuse.
In a statement of claim lodged with the court this year, Monteiro claims that he was ''intimidated, terrified and terrorised'' during his two-year stay at the order's Kendall Grange college for boys with behavioural problems between 1980 and 1982 when he was just 13 years old.
It is the latest in a series of disturbing allegations made against the St John of God order, whose brothers were recently accused by victim support group Broken Rites of pack-raping young boys in Victoria. It will also add to the pressure on the Catholic Church to act decisively against child sexual abuse in the lead-up to the royal commission.
Monteiro, whose mother died of cancer when he was two, claims that Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath and two other brothers who cannot be named for legal reasons, anally raped him on ''numerous occasions'' while he was at the Morrisett-based school.
He claims that during these assaults the three brothers would verbally abuse and belittle him by laughing at him and saying they would kill him if he told anyone of their conduct.
The court documents also allege that on more than one occasion, Monteiro witnessed a brother sexually assault his young, mentally disabled room mate ''George''.
''The second defendant fondled George … as George he rocked back and forth in a repetitive manner which I observed him to do when he was anxious,'' the statement says.
''George would push the second defendant's hand away and the second defendant would hit George in the face until he submitted …''
Monteiro claims that Brother McGrath and the other brother told him he would be committed to Morrissett Mental Asylum if he refused their sexual advances.
They ''drove [Monteiro] through the grounds of Morrissett Hospital, pointed out the mentally ill people … saying that they knew the manager and they they would be able to keep him there for ever.''
The 45-year-old claims that he was ''gravely mentally and physically impaired'' as a result of the abuse he suffered, sustaining post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar 1 disorder and borderline personality disorder. He says he has also been unable to maintain ''meaningful heterosexual relationships'' because of his ''inability to deal with conflict'' and ''feelings of shame, terror and dirtiness''.
In their defence submissions filed in the Supreme Court, the St John of God order accepts that Monteiro was a student at Kendall Grange in the early 1980s but denies that it operated it.
The order denies every allegation of abuse and mistreatment made by Monteiro and says the action against it is not permissible under the law.
The order declined to comment to Fairfax Media.
However, if proven, the claims may provide some insight into the psychology behind Monteiro's crimes.
In April 2009 he was sentenced to at least seven years and nine months' jail for the aggravated sexual assault of his former girlfriend ''JR'' and the malicious damage and theft of her property.
After falling in love with the out-of-work actor, JR discovered Monteiro's abusive tendencies and dark past, telling him the relationship was over and he needed to move out of her eastern suburbs apartment.
She returned after a short Christmas holiday with her parents to find Monteiro still there and refusing to leave. He beat and raped her in the bedroom they had shared, continuing the torment the next day with a stream of verbal abuse as she attempted to get away.
When JR later returned to the apartment with police, it had been trashed with paint and cleaning chemicals. Among Monteiro's vindictive gestures was the theft and disposal of a single shoe from every pair JR owned.
He was arrested soon after on his way to visit an old friend - Gordon Wood, the man convicted but now acquitted of murdering Sydney model Caroline Byrne.
This rape and assault was part of a history of mistreating women by Monteiro that dates back to 2000 when he became involved in a plot to discredit an Australian model who alleged she had been raped at a celebrity party in Melbourne.
Monteiro was found guilty of intimidating a witness by filming himself having sex with her and then threatening to publish the video online if she did not withdraw her allegations but the conviction was overturned on appeal.
In 2004 he surfaced again after being given a suspended jail sentence for stalking a former girlfriend - a central coast model.
Then, in 2005, Monteiro was the subject of an apprehended violence order taken out by high-profile real estate agent Jamie Upton after an incident at her home.
Just eight months ago the celebrity accountant turned art gallery manager Kay Schubach released a book claiming she too had been abused by Monteiro, describing him as a ''violent narcissist'' who raped and assaulted her and left her feeling so intimidated she could not bring herself to give evidence in JR's subsequent trial.
Monteiro has stopped short of directly blaming the abuse he allegedly suffered at Kendall Grange for his attacks on women but his claim that the trauma has made him unable to have ''meaningful heterosexual relationships'' suggests that he sees this as a contributing factor.
On a number of occasions he has referred to this trauma when facing sentencing, as part of his argument for a lenient sentence.
After treating Monteiro for more than a year, the psychologist Gordon Davies found that it was almost certain the bipolar disorder he was suffering from was part of the reason for his crimes. Dr Davies said ''it is almost certain that his illness was a significant factor in [the] genesis [of the offending]''.
But Justice Health care workers and counsellors painted a different picture, describing him as having a ''narcissistic personality type'' and as ''belligerent, agitated, self-entitled, abusive'', as well as failing to accept responsibility for his actions.
Monteiro is one of hundreds of former Kendall Grange residents and others who spent time under the authority the St John of God order across Australia and New Zealand who say have were sexually abused by its brothers.
Michelle Mulvihill, a psychologist employed by the order to meet its scores of abuse victims during compensation negotiations between 1998 and 2007, told Fairfax Media earlier this month that up to 70 per cent of the St John of God brothers were suspect child abusers.
Brother McGrath was extradited from Australia and convicted over assaults on boys in the 1960s at the order's New Zealand home.
Court documents show that Moneteiro's lawsuit was last before the Supreme Court on November 2, with all parties ordered to tender their medical evidence and to undertake informal settlement talks before the matter returns to court in May.