Salesians of Don Bosco

The Salesians of Don Bosco are an international organisation of Catholic priests and brothers who work with disadvantaged and marginalised young people. The Salesians first came to Australia in 1922 to the Kimberley region in Western Australia. In 1927 they moved to Melbourne, followed by South Australia in 1938. Today, the Salesians have a presence in every Australian State and its national headquarters is based in Melbourne. Salesian priests and brothers serve and work throughout Australia, instead of being confined to a particular local diocese. Furthermore, apart from owing schools, the Order also operates and owns homes, clubs and camps for disadvantaged boys.

In June 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse published an ‘Analysis of Claims of Child Sexual Abuse made with Respect to Catholic Church Institutions in Australia’, which heavily scrutinised the Salesian Order (like many other Catholic Orders) for numerous allegations and cases involving historical child sexual abuse.

The Royal Commission found that between 1950 to 2010, 114 people made a claim of child sexual abuse against the Salesians. This represents 21% of all claims received by religious institutes with priest and religious brother members. 47% of claimants were under the age of 13 years at the time of the alleged child sexual abuse and 53% were between 13 and 18 years of age (where the age was known). 69% of claimants alleged that the incidents of child sexual abuse occurred in the period from 1970 to 1989 (inclusive). The largest proportion of claimants alleged that the first incident of child sexual abuse occurred in the 1970s (45%).

Of the alleged perpetrators subject to one or more claims of child sexual abuse, 39 had a known identity (85%). In seven cases (15%) the survey response did not contain enough information to identify the alleged perpetrator. The average number of claims received per alleged perpetrator was 3.3.The highest number of claims of child sexual abuse received by the Salesians of Don Bosco against a single alleged perpetrator was 26. Four (10%) of the alleged perpetrators were the subject of more than 10 claims of child sexual abuse.

The Order has had many serial paedophiles over the years who have subsequently been accused, convicted and sentenced for various offences involving historical child sexual abuse. They include, for example, Father Patrick Laws, Father Frank Klep, Father Paul Raymond Evans and Father Adrian Wenting. The following Salesian institutions are also examples of where allegations and cases of sexual abuse have occurred:

Artemis Legal has represented clients and is still representing clients who were victims of physical and sexual abuse at institutions run by the Salesians of Don Bosco.

We invite former victims, students, teachers and parents to contact us to tell us confidentially what information they may have, and we will explain what options are available to help with these cases.

Call us or complete the confidential enquiry form.