Pedophile Priest Who Sexually Abused Students to Be Jailed in Sydney

By Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen is a Vietnamese reporter based in Sydney and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at nina.nguyen@epochtimes.com.au.
December 9, 2021 Updated: December 9, 2021

A Catholic priest who sexually abused a dozen young boys in the 1980s at a prestigious boy’s college will be jailed in Sydney on Friday.

Anthony William Peter Caruana, a former teacher, music conductor, rugby coach and dormitory master, is due to be sentenced in the New South Wales (NSW) District Court for 26 offences committed against 12 young boys at Chevalier College in NSW’s Southern Highlands more than 30 years ago.

The historical charges included 22 counts of indecent assault and four counts of sexual intercourse with two of his students.

Also known as Father Tony Caruana in his private life, the 79-year-old was first arrested in Sydney and underwent a jury trial in April 2019. He was later granted bail in a Local Court in Sydney but again charged with some additional offences in October of that year.

During the seven-week trial, jurors heard evidence from 12 complainants who were between 11 and 15 years old at the time the offences were committed.

Caruana’s abuse was not confined to one area of the college: as a rugby coach, he held onto one 12-year-old’s genitals while showing him how to pack a scrum; at a swimming carnival, he grabbed a year-seven boy’s genitals underwater; and he attacked one 13-year-old repeatedly in a music band story room.

That last victim was told words to the effect of “you’re pleasing a man of God” and “God will love you if you do what I say” as the boy struggled against his grip.

It was also reported that during the course of events, boys reporting the abuse to their parents were not believed and that this brought on further trauma that compound the effects of the abuse and brought further trauma that lasted with them for the rest of their lives.

Caruana was removed from his teaching role in 1989 and forced to take psychiatric assessment and counselling after complaints.

During that counselling, he wrote about his “sexual problem” of being sexually interested in boys.

Judge Robyn Tupman, who will sentence the elderly priest, has heard that Caruana was isolated from his peers and family at the age of 10 when placed in a junior religious role.

His lawyer said this “overwhelmingly dysfunctional upbringing” was the contextual background to his psychosexual dysfunctions.

However, the Crown pointed out that the former priest while deserving punishment for the offences had spent the better years of his life riding around and enjoying freedoms.

Chevalier College has responded to the original verdict via an email sent to current and former students on July 13 after the initial guilty verdict was handed down. In it current Principle Sean McDermott declared the college’s profound feelings of sorrow over the events.

“I want to emphasise our profound sorrow that such events – which we openly acknowledge as part of our Chevalier history – could ever have occurred,” said the apology statement by Principle Sean McDermott.

Caruana has been in custody since July 14—the date of the jury’s final verdict.

Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen is a Vietnamese reporter based in Sydney and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at nina.nguyen@epochtimes.com.au.