• Graeme Mundine was sentenced to three years in prison for child sex offences int he 1980s. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
A well-known Aboriginal rights advocate and prominent figure in the Catholic archdiocese of Sydney has been sentenced to prison for historic offences of pedophilia.
Jack Latimore

22 Dec 2018 - 2:53 PM  UPDATED 22 Dec 2018 - 2:53 PM

A prominent Aboriginal rights advocate has been convicted of historic sexual abuse crimes and sentenced to three years in prison with an 18 month non-parole period for offences relating to five male victims in the 1980s.

Bundjalung man Graeme Mundine, 58, faced three charges of assault, an act of indecency and four charges of indecent assault to a party under 16 in Campbelltown District Court for offences that occurred over a four-and-a-half year period while he was a Marist Brother dorm master and teacher at St Gregorys College in Sydney.

In sentencing, District Court judge Chris O’Brien acknowledged Mundine’s contribution to the Aboriginal community in the years after the crimes tool place and noted the absence of similar offences since that time.

The businessman and former chairman of the Abbott government’s Indigenous Advisory Council , Warren Mundine, said the news of his brother’s crimes came as a shock and "raises a lot of questions".

“I first learnt about it through a group text last Friday and I’ve been devastated,” he told NITV News. “The whole family is shocked and angry. We condemn any and all forms of sexual abuse,” he said. “Personally, I keep thinking about the pain and suffering of the victims over all these years.”

Graeme Mundine, who hails from Baryugil, around 75km north-west of Grafton, is the youngest of 11 children and was himself educated as a child by the Marist Brothers. After leaving school, he joined the brotherhood and went on to teach at a number of schools and engage in wider youth work.

In the 1990s, Mundine became the inaugural Chair and Executive officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council. He also co-authored the Catholic Church’s response to the 1997 Bringing Them Home Report on the Stolen Generations.

Later, he headed the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission within the National Council of Churches in Australia. He was also the Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Mundine was the second former Marist Brother from St Gregory’s College convicted of sex crimes this month, after known pedophile Russ Francis Murrin, 63, was sentenced to another 10 months in prison for historic child sex offences.