Monivae College sex abuse victims wait for justice

VICTIMS of a former Catholic brother who abused boarders at Hamilton’s Monivae College more than 30 years ago must wait one more day for justice.

County Court judge Julian Leckie, sitting in Melbourne, said Edward Mamo, 68, had quite improperly and illegally used discipline as a guise to indulge his “perverted sexual desire”.

Mamo has pleaded guilty to seven charges of indecent assault of a child under the age of 16.

Judge Leckie said Mamo’s victims were grateful for his guilty plea because it vindicated them and cleared the air.

The judge apologised to several of the victims, who had travelled from Warrnambool to Melbourne to be in court, because he had to adjourn the matter to consider Mamo’s sentence. His sentence will be announced tomorrow.

During the 1970s and 1980s, children were not believed when they made allegations that religious people had interfered with them and were told their claims were ridiculous, the judge said, adding that this period was a sad one.

Defence lawyer Peta Murphy said Mamo offered his plea of guilty to the victims as an apology for the hurt they had experienced. Mamo did not dispute there was a sexual element to his offending but claimed his motivation at the time was discipline.

Ms Murphy told the court that anyone charged with indecent assault during this period often received good behaviour bonds or probation and if they were jailed, the average sentence was 12 months. 

Prosecutor Kieran Gilligan said Mamo was guilty of a gross breach of trust and had cynically exploited his victims for sexual gratification.

Mr Gilligan urged the judge to take into account the change in public attitudes to these type of offences, given that there was now a parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse and a royal commission to be held into matters involving the clergy.

Mr Gilligan said Mamo should be jailed for up to four-and-a-half years.

His victims had previously told the court how they were taken into a dark basement at Monivae College and indecently assaulted by Mamo from 1976 to 1980.

Mamo was aged between 31 and 35 when the incidents took place and was a brother of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Australia, which operated Monivae College.

He did not teach at the Catholic school but lived on site and worked as a bus driver, hockey coach, groundsman and laundry employee.

Mamo had ordered one victim, who was 11 at the time, to the laundry room for punishment and instructed him to drop his shorts and underpants and to bend over an old tea chest in the middle of the room. 

Mamo then hit the boy with a thick leather strap 10 to 12 times. 

“When he was hitting these boys, he was getting some sexual gratification from it,” Judge Leckie said yesterday.

He said there was another incident where Mamo pinned a boy to the chair in the college’s lounge area and massaged his chest in a seductive manner.

In victim impact statements previously read to the court, the men, who had all been boarders at the school, told of fear, humiliation and disbelief that someone wanted to do this to them. 

One said he had lost trust in all human beings.the age 

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