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Broken Rites Australia helps victims of church-related
By a Broken Rites researcher
A member of a Catholic religious order — Brother Vincent Crawford — appeared in Sydney's Hornsby Local Court on 21 July 2009, charged with indecent assaults, allegedly committed against a girl in the St Ives area (in Sydney's north) between 1975 and 1980.
Brother Vincent Crawford, born in 1932, is a member of the order of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, known in the Catholic community as the Passionists. The order's Australian province comprises several dozen ordained priests, together with a smaller number of religious brothers.
Earlier in his religious career, Brother Vincent Crawford was known by his religious name — Brother "Brendan" Crawford. Subsequently, he reverted to his birth name, Vincent Crawford. Before being charged, Brother Vincent Crawford had been living in recent years with the Passionist order at the Holy Cross community in Templestowe in suburban Melbourne.
In 2009 Brother Vincent Crawford was charged with six counts of assaulting a female and committing an act of indecency on someone under the age of 16. At the time of the alleged incidents in the late 1970s, the Passionists had a presence at 138 Killeaton St, St Ives.
The complainant (Nicky) told police that, as a child, she attended the parish of St Anthony in the Fields, which is located in Terrey Hills, a suburb in Sydney's north. Nicky alleged that her abuse at the hands of Brother Brendan Crawford (as he was then known to Nicky) started when she was 12 and it ended when she left home at the age of 17. Most of the alleged incidents took place at Nicky's family home in St Ives.
When the matter came up for a first mention at Hornsby Local Court on 21 July 2009, Vincent Crawford pleaded not guilty. The Hornsby magistrate directed the prosecution to complete some paper work for the next court listing, which was to be at Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on a later date. Crawford was granted conditional bail pending his court proceedings.
At a later hearing, early in 2010, the court was told that Brother Vincent Crawford (then aged 77) was medically unfit to undergo the court proceedings. As a result, the prosecution was withdrawn, thus ending the proceedings permanently.
The police officer who handled the investigation was Senior Constable Rebecca Dummett, of the Hornsby Detectives Office, Kuring Gai Local Area Command. The solicitor from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was Mariella Schattiger.
On 12 July 2010, the Brother Vincent Crawford case was reported on ABC Radio's "PM" program (the reporter was Michael Edwards).