18 October, 2016

Dear Marist Families,

You would have seen in the media that there have been ongoing hearings with the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Child Sexual Abuse.  One of the Commission’s findings has related to Brother Othmar Weldon and decisions he made in his role as Provincial Leader of the Marist Brothers’ Sydney Province in the late 1960's. 

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse concluded that in 1969 the Provincial Council of which Brother Weldon was Provincial “determined to give Brother Chute a canonical warning for the touching of a child at Lismore and with the knowledge of the Provincial transferred him to a position of responsibility as Principal of Marist College Penshurst”.  The Royal Commission further found, “Between 1962 and 1972, and 1983 and 1993, the relevant Provincial of the Marist Brothers took no, or no adequate steps to ensure that Brother Chute did not have contact with children through his work as a Marist Brother”. Given these findings it has been decided that Marist College Ashgrove would undertake a process of community consultation regarding the appropriateness or otherwise of maintaining the name of Br Othmar House in our Boarding Community. The process will follow the steps outlined below.

Working Party

I have asked the Head of Boarding, James Metzeling, to chair a working party which will oversee the process.  The working party draws from affected stakeholder groups and will oversee the consultation process and assist with data collection and presentation.  It will consist of:

Mr James Metzeling

Head of Boarding

Mr Trevor Goodwin

Deputy Headmaster

Mr Brendan Kiernan

Othmar House Coordinator, Former Student of the College and Current Parent of a Student at the College

Mr James Couper

Assistant Head of Boarding and former Supervisor of Othmar House

Mr David Meehan

Former student, Former Parent and Current Head of House in Day School

Ms Liz Dangerfield

Current Othmar House parent

Mr Tony Hogarth

Past Student and Boarder

Jay Buzzo

2016 Current Yr 12 Student

Declan Russell

2016 Current Yr 11 Student

A member of the Provincial Council will have input into the Working Party as required.  Should you have any enquiries about the consultation process or anything involved in this matter please contact James Metzeling on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 3858 4555

Online Survey Tool

The consultation process will be facilitated by a specially developed online survey tool.  Later this week all current students, staff and parents will be emailed a link to the survey tool, which will enable informed contributions to be made and all voices to be heard.  An invitation to former students, staff, families and friends of the College to join the consultation process will also be made.  This invitation will be displayed via our website and social media platforms and will invite those interested to request access to the survey tool.

The survey tool contains a ‘context for consultation’ explanatory page, which gives detail to the situation as it stands.  Additionally, whilst individual submissions via the tool will be anonymous, you will be asked to identify your association with the College.


In an effort to minimise anxiety and disruption, the consultation process will be efficient.  As noted, the online survey tool will be made available later this week.  Submissions via the tool will be accepted until Close of Business Tuesday 8 November 2016.  The working party will then collect and review the data and present it to me and the College Leadership Team in the week beginning 21 November, 2016. Following review of the information and careful consideration of all the issues, I will aim to advise the community of the College’s intentions as soon as practicable thereafter.

Again, I thank you for your understanding and support during this difficult time.  Processes such as these will not always produce an outcome agreeable to everyone.  However, we have designed a process of consultation whereby all voices can be heard and where all of those voices will be valued.  I trust that you support us in this endeavour. 

I ask that our thoughts and actions be guided by God’s grace and that our Lord’s gentle influence will assist us in the times that lay ahead.


Peter McLoughlin


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