Former Christian Brother will appeal jail term for indecent assault

A FORMER Christian Brother, convicted in 1997 over the indecent assault of two Ballarat school boys, was today jailed for three months over a fresh charge of indecent assault dating back to 1974.

Yet Stephen Francis Farrell, 62, who pleaded guilty to molesting his now third school boy victim, walked from Ballarat Magistrates Court after lawyers immediately appealed the jail term. 

Magistrate Michelle Hodgson said Farrell had exploited his position of power to sexually abuse a 10-year-old boy in his care, adding the community must know that the courts denounce such behaviour. 

"Slowly but surely we have come to realise many of these sexual predators are people who have taken advantage of positions of power," Ms Hodgson said. 

"We forget in a more secular 2013 the power the church wielded over families."

Farrell was a 22-year-old teacher at St Alipius Christian Brothers school in 1974 when he assaulted the 10-year-old victim after the boy spilt paint on his pants in an art class. 

A previous plea hearing heard Farrell told the boy to go to the sick bay and take his pants off before following him in, taking off the boys underpants and indecently assaulting him.

Farrell was convicted in 1997 of nine counts of indecent assault stemming from acts he committed on two nine-year-old boys, also pupils at St Alipius during the same period.

Ms Hodgson said effect of such offending on victims was "profound".

The court heard Farrell's latest victim said in a victim impact statement that the day he was assaulted was the "worst and scariest" day of his life.

Local victims of Farrell's said although pleased that he was "finally locked up" his appeal bail angered them.

"At the end of the day he can spend Christmas with his family," said Peter Blenkiron of victims' support group Ballarat District Group Survivors.

"While we know of people who have lost there lives due to the abuse they have suffered at the hands of Christian Brothers.

"It doesn't add up."

Also placed on the sex offenders register for life, Farrell will now face an appeal hearing in the County Court next February.

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