Former St Joseph’s College teacher John Patrick O’Brien jailed for abusing boys 50 years ago

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The former Marist brother pleaded not guilty but was convicted by a jury of 11 counts of acts of indecency or attempting to procure acts of indecency and seven counts of indecent assault in April.

In handing down a sentence of seven years and nine months with a non-parole period of five years, Judge Warwick Hunt acknowledged that O’Brien’s age, fragility, medical conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic would mean his time in prison would be particularly difficult.

O’Brien had shown no remorse for his actions, the judge said.

To his victims, Judge Hunt said he hoped the decision would “bring some healing”.

O’Brien, who was watching the proceedings via audio-visual link from Long Bay prison, did not react to the sentence.

O’Brien was 26 when he started abusing boys half his age at the school, and was later made principal of Marist College Kogarah.

The 81-year-old was due to be sentenced last Friday in Lismore District Court, but it was delayed because O’Brien was in a coronavirus-related lock-in at Long Bay prison after he attended a medical appointment.

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