Fresh abuse claims emerge against ex-Marist Brother Kostka Chute, court hears

Fresh abuse claims emerge against ex-Marist Brother Kostka Chute, court hears

Fresh claims of historical child sex abuse have emerged against former Marist College Canberra teacher Brother 'Kostka' Chute, a court has heard.

John William Chute, 84, was last year committed to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court for allegedly sexually abusing boys at the Pearce college in the 1980s.

Brother John Kostka Chute leaves the ACT Magistrates Court after his committal last August.

Brother John Kostka Chute leaves the ACT Magistrates Court after his committal last August.Credit:Megan Gorrey

Chute, also known as Brother Kostka, was among four men police charged as part of an ongoing investigation into historical child sex abuse, mostly on boys younger than 16, in ACT schools.

He faces six counts of indecent assault and two acts of indecency for offences allegedly committed against two students over several years from 1980. He has yet to formally enter pleas to the charges.


Lawyer Greg Walsh signalled at Chute's committal in August he would make an application that his client was unfit to plead, noting he had been found unfit to plead to separate charges in the NSW District Court.

The matter was mentioned in the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday, when prosecutor Trent Hickey said further complainants had come forward and a fresh indictment, outlining the new allegations, would need to be prepared.

The fitness to plead application is set to be heard in the court at a later date.

ACT Policing said in a statement on Thursday they expected fresh charges would be laid in relation to the alleged new victims when Chute next faced court.

Chute taught at numerous Marist Brothers high schools and colleges before he moved to Marist College Canberra in 1976.

A police statement of facts, tendered in court at his committal, said the abuse against one of the alleged victims began when Chute touched the boy's genitals from behind as the child patted the teacher's labrador at school one day in 1980.

Later that year, Chute allegedly touched the same boy's genitals over his pants as they sat in chapel. On another occasion he inappropriately touched the child beneath his underwear in the monastery, court documents said.

A second alleged victim claimed Chute had fondled his genitals after giving him a bear hug when he returned a borrowed cassette tape to his office in 1985.

That same year he allegedly touched the same boy inappropriately during class on dozens of occasions.

Past abuse by Gregory Joseph Sutton at schools associated with the Catholic Marist Brothers organisation, including Marist College Canberra, was closely examined during the ACT hearings of the child sexual abuse royal commission.

The royal commission found the organisation moved Chute to different schools when it received complaints they were inappropriately touching children.

The commission found Marist Brothers' actions enabled Sutton and Chute to continue to access children throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.

Prosecutions against the four men accused of the historical abuse were launched after the ACT government in 2013 scrapped an archaic statute of limitations, which meant some offenders could not be charged if complainants didn't come forward within 12 months of the alleged crimes.

Megan Gorrey is the Urban Affairs reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald.

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