Former Vic priest Rapson jailed for abuse

Former Catholic priest David Edwin Rapson preyed on vulnerable Melbourne schoolchildren to inflict cruel, sadistic and violent sexual abuse.

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He drugged some of his victims with spiked Milo, and on other occasions gave them alcohol and cigarettes, or lured them to him by letting them play computer games.

Rapson, 60, was on Thursday jailed for 13 years for the abuse of eight boys at two Catholic colleges between the 1970s and 1990.

Victorian County Court Judge Liz Gaynor said Rapson’s crimes of unrelenting sexual exploitation were an incalculable breach of trust.

“These were dreadful crimes against vulnerable victims who were entirely in your power,” she said.

“You have ruined lives.”

Judge Gaynor said Rapson had joined a circle of abusive staff at one of the schools.

“You soon became an enthusiastic member of the sexually deviant group of religious operating at the school at the time,” she said.

The judge said Rapson had preyed on students who had trusted him, including some with learning difficulties and a boy whose father had cancer.

One boy was so badly abused that he could not walk the following day and needed surgery a short time later.

Judge Gaynor said Rapson used his position as a priest and teacher to avoid being caught.

“It was brazen, it was manipulative and it was heartless,” she said.

Judge Gaynor sentenced Rapson to 13 years’ jail, with a non-parole period of 10 years.

In a statement read to the court last week, one of Rapson’s victims said he had thought about the abuse every single day since it happened.

“It’s like I’m always running from him,” he said.

“My life would have been so, so different if not for the abuse.”

Judge Gaynor said Rapson had been raised by a cruel and alcoholic stepfather, and was sexually abused as a teenager.

Rapson was in 1992 jailed for two years after being convicted of the sexual abuse of a boy at one of the schools.

He was removed from the priesthood in 2004 after the Australian head of his order travelled to the Vatican to personally ask Pope John Paul II that he be defrocked.

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