Indigenous lawyer Warren Mundine says his family was devastated when they learned one of his brothers had molested five boys while teaching as a Marist brother in southwest Sydney.
Graeme Mundine was jailed for the crimes and the 63-year-old is currently serving a community corrections order for indecently assaulting another boy at the same school.
Warren Mundine told Daily Mail Australia he was unaware his brother – the youngest of 11 siblings – was a pedophile until he was arrested in 2018 and had not spoken to him since 20 years.
“He was charged, he was convicted and he went to prison,” Mr Mundine said.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over. We have no relationship and that’s it.
Mr Mundine was a leading campaigner for the No vote in the Voice to Parliament referendum alongside Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who has pushed for years for the protection of Aboriginal children from sexual abuse.
Graeme Mundine, the brother of Aboriginal lawyer Warren Mundine, is a convicted pedophile who was jailed for molesting five boys while teaching as a Marist brother in south-west Sydney. Graeme Mundine is pictured
Ms Price, spokesperson for the Coalition for Aboriginal Australians, introduced a motion in the Upper House last week calling for a royal commission into child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities.
She was supported by South Australian Liberal senator Kerrynne Liddle.
Mr Mundine was not as vocal as Senator Price in his support for such an inquiry, but lashed out at the Federal Government when Labor and cross-bench MPs voted against it.
“What a bunch of stupid wonder,” he wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on October 18.
The Mundines are a fiercely Catholic family and Warren welcomed the High Court’s unanimous decision in April 2020 to overturn Cardinal George Pell’s historic pedophilia convictions.
“Cardinal Pell has been vindicated,” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “He is innocent of the charges.”
Mr Mundine told Daily Mail Australia his brother’s beliefs had no influence on his relative public silence on the issue of child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities.
“It has nothing to do with it at all,” he said. “I know when I talk about these things, some people in the Twittersphere say, ‘Oh, but your brother…’.
“Well, it has nothing to do with me. That didn’t stop me from saying anything. I haven’t spoken to him in over 20 years.
Warren Mundine (above) was a leading campaigner for the No vote in the Voice to Parliament referendum alongside Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who called for a royal commission into the sexual abuse of indigenous children .
Mr Mundine said learning of his brother’s crimes “rocked my family and it continues”.
“It was a devastating thing for our family because my mother and father were very vocal about how they felt about these things,” he said.
Mr Mundine said he had spoken out about the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the past and would do so more in the future.
“I’ve been fighting for economic development for 10 years,” he said. “But these issues all work together.
“I’m going to talk about it a lot more and work with Jacinta and Kerrynne Liddle to resolve these issues.”
Graeme Mundine was found guilty in December 2018 after pleading guilty to four counts of committing an indecent act and two counts of indecently assaulting a child under 16.
He was jailed by District Court Judge Chris O’Brien for a maximum of three years, with a non-parole period of 18 months, for the offenses committed against five teenage victims.
Graeme Mundine, the youngest of 11 siblings, is serving a community corrections order for indecently assaulting a student in the 1980s.
Mundine’s crimes occurred over four and a half years in the 1980s when he was a dormitory master and teacher at St Gregory’s College, a Marist school in Campbelltown.
Justice O’Brien found that Mundine, who married and moved to the Central Coast after leaving the Marist Brotherhood, “sullied the reputation of the religious order”.
“This is a serious breach of trust and an abuse of power,” he said. “The offender took advantage of the victims’ naivety and vulnerability.
“It is disturbing that the events occurred while the victim was seeking advice or support and was the victim of sexual abuse.
“The victim impact statements were both powerful and moving. »
The Mundines are a strong Catholic family and Warren Mundine (above) welcomed the High Court’s unanimous decision in April 2020 to overturn Cardinal George Pell’s convictions for pedophilia.
Warren Mundine has not been as clear as Senator Price in his support for a royal commission into the sexual abuse of indigenous children, but he attacked the federal government when Labor and crossbench MPs called it rejected on October 17.
After leaving the Marist order, Graeme Mundine was appointed as the first president of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council.
He then led the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission within the National Council of Churches Australia and the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Mundine was also a founding board member of Jarjum College in Redfern, a Jesuit school established to educate urban Aboriginal children.
In his sentencing remarks, Justice O’Brien recognized Mundine’s contribution to the Aboriginal community in the years since he stopped molesting children.
Mundine was supported in the Campbelltown courtroom by his wife, University of Sydney academic Gabrielle Russell, and two other relatives.
While incarcerated, Mundine was questioned by NSW Police over the 1986 indecent assault of another boy at St Gregory’s and was charged in April 2020, two months before his parole.
The new charge kept Mundine in prison for a week after his sentence expired, but he was released on bail in June to live with his wife on the Central Coast.
Graeme Mundine is pictured with his wife Gabrielle Russell (left) and head of Catholic education Aunty Elsie Heiss when she received an honorary doctorate at the University of Notre Dame in 2010.
Mundine pleaded guilty in October and narrowly escaped another prison sentence when he was sentenced by Campbelltown District Court Judge Andrew Colefax in December.
Judge Colefax said Mundine assaulted the teenage victim while he was submitting a maths exam.
“You told him to sit on your lap, which he did,” Judge Colefax said. “You then grabbed him by the chest and pulled him towards you.
“You rubbed his thighs and grabbed his penis by the outside of his pants.
“Your face came into contact with his and you manipulated his penis for about two minutes before releasing it.”
Mundine broke down in court as he apologized for his offence, which he described as a “serious breach of trust”.
“It’s a terrible thing,” he told Judge Colefax.
“After being in prison and meeting people who have been abused, you can see how much damage is done to people outside of the physical events that are happening at that time.”
Judge Colefax said Mundine, who was taught by the Marist Brothers, had gone straight from school to a celibate lifestyle “which is very unusual for most members of the community”.
It was in this context that he committed “these terrible crimes against children”.
“He left this world, grew up and has been in a fully functioning heterosexual marriage for almost 20 years,” Judge Colefax said.
Imposing a three-year community corrections order (CCO), Judge Colefax said he would have sent Mundine back to prison if he had not already served a custodial sentence.
“Ideally, His Honor Judge O’Brien should have been seized of this matter so that he could impose an appropriate sentence on you for the totality of your offence,” the judge said.
Mundine’s CCO order called for him to perform 500 hours of community service and expires in December.