Child abuse claims

DETECTIVES have appealed for information following an investigation into historical sexual assault allegations at St Patrick’s College in Sale.

Investigators from the Sano Taskforce have received a number of complaints from former male students who attended the Catholic school during the 1970s and 1980s.

The male students were aged between 11 and 15 at the time of the alleged incidents and were boarders at the school.

St Patrick’s College merged with Our Lady of Sion College to form Catholic College Sale in 1977.

Sano Taskforce Detective Inspector Stephen Dennis said the complaints had been made during the past 12 months and urged victims or anyone with information to speak with police.

“St Patrick’s College was operating as a boys only boarding school when the incidents occurred, so there may be people outside of Sale that may be affected,” he said.

“While we have had complaints at this time, we suspect there may be other victims out there who have not come forward.

“What we are looking for is people who attended the school in the 70s and 80s or who either worked at the school or had relatives who could assist with the investigation.”

Detectives have been in the Sale area this week investigating complaints.

“It’s never too late for people to come forward with these allegations,” Det-Insp Dennis said.

“We have police that specialise in looking into incidents of this nature that occurred decades ago.

“People who prey on children will be investigated no matter how many years have passed.”

Det-Insp Dennis declined to state how many suspects had been identified, saying the investigation was ongoing.

Detectives would like to speak to any victims or witnesses who have information relating to sexual abuse at the college during the 1970s and 1980s.

Director of Catholic Education in the Catholic Diocese of Sale, Maria Kirkwood, said it was upsetting to hear the allegations.

“Obviously we are deeply distressed when we hear allegations of this nature,” she said.

She said Catholic College Sale, supported by the Catholic Education Office, would fully co-operate with the investigation.

People with information are being urged to phone the Sano Taskforce toll free line on 1800 110 007.

Information can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

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