Ex-teacher cleared of sex charges
An elderly former teacher has been cleared of allegations he repeatedly sexually abused a young Aboriginal girl at Wandering Mission almost 60 years ago.
Michael Francis Moran, 83, was accused of molesting the student when he was her teacher at the Catholic mission, about 120km south-east of Perth, between 1960 and 1963.
But after a four-day District Court trial, and more than five hours of deliberations, a jury last Friday acquitted him of all charges against him.
During the trial, prosecutors told the court the complainant, a member of the Stolen Generation, was taken away from her family as an infant and made a ward of the State, with her earliest memory being taken to the mission when she was four years old.
She was initially raised by nuns and Mr Moran became her first non-Aboriginal male teacher when she was 10 years old in 1960.
The complainant, now 68, came forward after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, filing a statement with police in 2015.
His lawyer Philip Urquhart said the first Mr Moran heard of the allegations was when he was charged last year.
Mr Urquhart said before retiring, Mr Moran had a decadeslong career as a highly regarded educator in which he taught hundreds of children.
“Yet it is one solitary person who has made these allegations against him, over 50 years later,” he said.
Michael Francis Moran