Paedophile Christian Brother jailed
Melbourne - A paedophile Christian Brother, whose defence was largely funded by the Catholic Church, was jailed for 14 years on Monday for sexually abusing 11 boys at Australian schools.
Robert Charles Best, aged 70, pleaded guilty to 27 sexual assaults against children he taught in Victoria state from 1969 until 1988.
Victims of the paedophile yelled at him as he was led from the dock, calling the former school teacher a "maggot".
Best, who is already in jail serving four separate terms for sexual assaults against his students, was sentenced to 14 years and nine months.
Victorian County Court Judge Roy Punshon said his offending was a grave breach of trust because of his role as a teacher and spiritual guide.
"Because of your power and position of authority, victims who were young and immature commonly felt powerless and unable to complain, either at all or effectively," he said.
Some of the children, aged between eight and 11-years-old, were molested while they were ill or injured.
A lawyer representing the victims in a civil action, Vivian Waller, described the crimes as "absolutely horrific" and said she wanted the Church to pay the victims compensation.
"We'll be claiming damages for pain and suffering and for the cost of medical treatment, and other special damages that will assist these victims to recover from what they've been through," she told reporters.
In a statement, the Christian Brothers, a Catholic order which runs schools around the world, apologised unreservedly to the victims.
"The Christian Brothers are deeply saddened by these events, especially by the great distress and suffering caused to these victims and their families," said Brother Brian Brandon from their Professional Standards arm.
Best initially contested the charges, and the Catholic Church at that time contributed financially to his defence, but he later changed his plea to guilty.