Three abuse victims of the Marist Brothers plan to seize properties of the Catholic order, including their Sydney headquarters, after failing to pay for the victims' legal costs despite a court order.
The Marist Brothers is an international Catholic order with a presence in around 80 countries. Founded in 1817, the religious institute has been hounded by allegations of child abuse in several countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and Chile.
Guardian Australia reported about the attempt of the three survivors, known to the courts as MM, MJ, and HG, to levy the Marist Brother’s properties after failing to comply with a 28-day court order demanding the Catholic order to pay for the victim’s legal fees. The three abuse victims previously settled with the Marist Brothers over historical child abuse claims that haunted the organization.
While the three victims and their lawyers, Ken Kush & Associates, have already applied to take hold of the Marist Brothers’ properties, the Catholic order said there were “unfortunate” delays in sending the payment due to an unnamed “third party.” They also said they’re now trying to urgently communicate with the defendant’s lawyers to make the payment.
NSW supreme court has authorised the sheriff to levy #Marist headquarters in Sydney for survivors of sex abuse after Marists failed to pay victims legal fees. If Marist Brothers donot satisfy the debt, other properties can be levied. #Lismore https://t.co/xid7ojlkpK
— Reference Group (@Smartcairns11) December 5, 2022
However, the three victims had already written to the Marist Brothers, reminding them of their missed payment due date. When the Catholic order failed to act on the deadline, they filed three separate motions to the New South Wales supreme court. In one of the motions, precisely MM’s case, the supreme court allowed the sheriff to seize a building serving as the Marist Brother’s headquarters in Sydney, located on Coward Street. The defendant can also levy the Catholic order’s other properties if their Sydney headquarters does not fully pay the debt.
MM said that the public must be aware that the Marist Brothers are using the church-goers to fight against survivors of sexual abuse from the clergy in court.
“Marist Brothers are spending a fortune of their followers’ money making life hard for victims of child abuse, of multiple, pandemic-level pedophilia going on in the Marist Brothers. Look up the number of Marist Brothers [in the royal commission],” he said.
“I’m one of nine kids. There’s more than 20 years between us. It was in my oldest brother’s era, in my era, and in my younger brother’s era.” he continued.
MM also said that while the church continued to gain a considerable amount of wealth, his lawyers needed to withhold parts of his settlement until the Marist Brothers settled the legal costs. He is based in Lismore, which was ravaged by floods this year.
A spokesperson for the Marist Brothers said they are now processing the payment for the legal costs as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, there was a delay in the costs phase of this matter involving a third party,” The spokesperson said. “The Marist Brothers lawyers (Makinson d’Apice Lawyers) have contacted the plaintiff’s lawyers (Ken Kush & Associates) regarding this delay.”