Former Hamilton Marist Brother Terry Gilsenan arrested with 400 sexually explicit images

Sentenced: Former Hamilton Marist Brother Terry Gilsenan pictured at the order's harbourfront home in Sydney.
Sentenced: Former Hamilton Marist Brother Terry Gilsenan pictured at the order's harbourfront home in Sydney.

MARIST Schools Australia saw no problem giving convicted child rapist Brother Terry Gilsenan a prominent position on its website in 2015, as contact person for school resources including comic books and posters.

He was only identified as “Brother Terry” when the Newcastle Herald checked to confirm he was a former Hamilton Marist Brother who was jailed in 2001 for raping a 12-year-old boy in the 1980s.

‘‘It is the view of the Marist Brothers that Brothers who have been convicted can be gainfully employed, provided the strictest conditions are met,” Marist Brothers Provincial Leader Brother Jeffrey Crowe said in 2015.

“Brother Terry’s role and these conditions were considered appropriate for someone in his circumstances. They are regularly reviewed.”

Nine months later Gilsenan, 62, was charged with five counts of making and possessing child abuse material while living at the Marists’ harbourfront property in Drummoyne and a second property at Tennison Point.

At a sentencing hearing on Friday a Sydney District Court judge was told Gilsenan was still on parole in 2003 when he photoshopped a photo of the head of a 13-year-old girl on to the naked body of a woman and used it as part of a sexual fantasy, for his sexual gratification.

The court was told the Marist order allowed him to remain a Marist Brother after serving his jail sentence, and later approved formal roles for him within the Marist Schools system.

Between August 2015 and February 2016 Gilsenan photoshopped more images of a teenage girl and a naked woman. During a police search of his belongings at the Marist properties in February 2016, more than 400 images of naked children were found.

Solicitor Greg Walsh argued Gilsenan’s crimes were serious but he had not disseminated the images and there was no physical harm or cruelty, although he conceded they were “not victimless crimes”.

Gilsenan has been removed from the Marist order and is no longer a Brother after the Marists adopted “a much more vigorous and rigorous regime” of responding to its convicted child sex offenders because of the Gilsenan case, Mr Walsh told the court.

He argued Gilsenan had already served 20 months’ in custody and “never wants to offend again because he just doesn’t want to go back to jail”.

The court was told Gilsenan will be supported by the order when he leaves jail.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

Gilsenan was a teacher at Hamilton Marist Brothers in 1995-96.

The Herald, Newcastle