Maffra man faces historic child sex allegations

AN 86-year-old Maffra man will face Sale Magistrates’ Court again later this year to answer charges of indecent assault allegedly committed against St Patrick’s College students between 1979 and 1982.

The accused, Lawrence Todd Stevenson, represented himself in court on Wednesday morning wearing a kilt with sporran and telling the  magistrate he read Bible Scriptures.

Magistrate Steven Raleigh asked Stevenson if he had been given a summary of the alleged offences.

Stevenson said he had, but had not read them.

The magistrate  advised the accused to seek legal representation and warned him to take the matter seriously, saying if he was found guilty, he could face a gaol term.

SANO Task Force detectives charged Stevenson following an investigation into alleged historical sexual abuse at St Patrick’s College in Sale.

Stevenson has been charged with four counts of indecent assault, which are alleged to have occurred in Sale against male students between April 2, 1979 and December 16, 1982, and the Coonawarra camp near Dargo between October 1, 1979 and November 30, 1979.

He told the court he intended to plead not guilty to the charges.

Stevenson left the court and waved to a waiting television cameraman.

He will appear again in court on October 11.

The court appearance follows the arrest by SANO Task Force detectives of an 87-year-old Sale man in February last year following an investigation into historical sexual assault allegations at St Pat’s.

At the time investigators said they had received a number of complaints from former male students who attended the school during the 1970s and 1980s, when it operated as a boarding school.

Those allegations related to male students who were then aged between 11 and 15.

St Patrick’s College was a Marist Brothers school, as is Catholic College Sale, formed following the amalgamation of Our Lady of Sion College and St Patrick’s College.

The SANO Task Force was established to investigate historic and new allegations that have emanated from the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into child sex abuse involving religious and non-government organisations.

The task force also co-ordinates investigations emerging from the Australian Government Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

People with information about child sexual abuse in an institutional context can email the SANO Task Force sanotaskforce@police.vic.gov.au or phone the SANO Task Force on 1800 110 007.

To report a child at immediate risk or danger, phone 000 or a local police station.

For more information about the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, visit the website, www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.