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Published: 07 November 2016
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Brother Best remains in Order despite child sexual abuse convictions

Brother Robert Charles Best appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday 4 November via video link from Ararat prison. He pleaded guilty to further indecent assault charges reportedly involving 15 boys in Ballarat and Box Hill between 1968 and 1982 and in Geelong between 1987 and 1988.

Following the hearing, the Christian Brothers Province of Oceania apologised for the actions of Brother Best and expressed sympathy. However, it appears that Brother Best remains part of the Christian Brothers Order despite his numerous convictions for acts of sexual abuse.

Brother Best joined the Christian Brothers Order in 1960 and taught in Catholic primary schools in Victoria for 20 years. In 2011, he was sentenced to 14 years and nine months incarceration for abusing 11 boys at three separate schools, including St Alipius in Ballarat. Among other sexual abuse, Best raped a nine-year-old disabled boy and molested boys during religious instruction classes. Most of those boys were aged between eight and 11 at the time.

Christian Brothers spent $1.53M in legal fees for Best

Last year, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that the Christian Brothers Order had spent $1.53 million on legal fees for Brother Best in 2011.

Brother Best will be sentenced in early 2017 in relation to his guilty pleas last Friday.

Best’s victims will have the opportunity to inform the relevant judge about the impact of Best's crimes on their lives. It is not yet known whether any of the boys were the same victims that were involved in the 2011 conviction.

Victoria Police sexual abuse investigage continues

Ryan Carlisle Thomas understands that SANO Taskforce, a taskforce within Victoria Police comprised specialist sexual abuse detectives, continues to investigate alleged crimes by Brother Best and encourages those who were abused by Brother Best to contact the SANO Taskforce to aid investigations. The SANO Taskforce can be approached by email at: sanotaskforce@police.vic.gov.au or by telephone on (toll free) 1800 110 007.

Ryan Carlisle Thomas has been successful in bringing claims for compensation against the Christian Brothers for alleged offences by a number of offenders in numerous institutions. If you or someone you know suffered abuse and want advice regarding your potential rights please contact us on 1300 366 441.

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