Notorious paedophile Brian Joseph Spillane​ sentenced

Brian Joseph Spillane. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald
Brian Joseph Spillane. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

Serial paedophile and former priest Brian Joseph Spillane​ has been sentenced to another 13 years jail for abusing young boys, many of whom were homesick and turned for him for help, at a private Catholic boarding school.

Spillane, 74, kept his back turned to his victims and their families as the sentence – which will extend his parole date to 2026 - was handed in a packed court room in the Downing Centre District Court on Thursday.

The former teacher, chaplain and head of discipline at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, in central west NSW preyed on young boys who were desperately homesick and came from strictly Catholic families who revered priests. 

Spillane used religious rituals, purporting to perform exorcisms, prayers and to speak in tongues, as a ruse to sexually abuse the boys.

"He knew that most of these complainants were desperately homesick and offered them comfort only to sexually abuse them," Judge Robyn Tupman✓ said.

"He knew he could act with impunity and with almost no chance that his behaviour would be revealed."

Spillane was first taken into custody for child sex offences in 2010 and has faced a string of trials. He has found guilty of abusing more than 30 children over a period of nearly 30 years. The victims were both boys and girls, and the offences were not all linked to St Stanislaus.

Spillane was serving an at least 11-year sentence. Judge Tupman sentenced to a non parole period of nine years. As his sentence will run partially concurrent with Spillane's current term, his eligible release date has been extended by five years to 2026.

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

 "There is a prospect that he will die in prison," Judge Tupman.

"Even if he survives jail when he does emerge on parole he will be an old man."

There had been a suppression order in place covering Spillane's crimes and the name of the boarding school known as "Stannies" until last year after two more jury trials last year were complete.

Spillane was found guilty of 16 charges, including sexual assault, indecent assault and buggery, relating to attacks on several boys between 1974 and 1990. The boys were aged between 12 and 15 and were either boarders or day students at the school.

"It is unlikely that there was not one person at St Stanislaus that had not noticed what this offender had been doing for almost 20 years," Judge Tupman✓ said

Many of Spillane's victims had gone to him for help, feeling homesick after leaving their families to go for the school.

Spillane told one, 13, that he had the devil in him and purported to perform an "exorcism" on him by masturbating him.

He gave another of his victim, 15, medication to make him drowsy before he sexually abused him. Spillane was the school's dean of discipline when he raped another 15-year-old boy. 

He arranged candle-lit "prayer meetings" at night with his pupils where he claimed to start speaking in tongues, trying to woo them into a trance like state in order to sexually abuse them.

"These were impressionable teenage boys all borders all away from their homes so without any independent sounding board to check this behaviour against," Judge Tupman said.

After leaving the school, Spillane worked at a suburban parish in Sydney before he left the church in 2004.