This report contains material that is sometimes confronting and disturbing. Sometimes words or images can cause sadness and distress, or bring back memories for people affected by child sexual abuse which are very hard to deal with. More on support, reporting and sharing your story.
Names have been changed
The real names of individuals have not been used. The names of all individuals and any other identifying features have been changed.
Adam said that until he was sent to boarding schools in 1951, at the age of eight, he was a happy child whose parents loved him. He told the Commissioner that he enjoyed playing as a child plays, with ‘butterflies, beetles and insects and basically animals and living things, interesting leaves, rocks, etc!’
Adam started at a Jesuit college in Sydney in 1955, at the age of 12. He told the Commissioner that there was frequent corporal punishment and that he usually did not know why he was being punished.
He said that one day, Father John, who later became the Headmaster, had been watching him play-fight with another boy in the playground. The Priest summoned Adam to accompany him to a small sports storage room. He locked the door, sat on a chair and made Adam stand in front of him. Father John said ‘Eh eh eh boy… did he try to knee you in the privates?’ He then unzipped Adam’s fly, put his hand inside his pants and fondled Adam’s testicles.
Adam asked him to stop. He told the Commissioner ‘I was very shaken up, but knew … I couldn’t tell anyone’.
After this, Father John acted as if nothing had happened. He regularly strapped Adam who said he appeared to get pleasure from it. Adam said that he just held out his hand to be punished and behaved as if it didn’t hurt him at all. He said, it was ‘basically, f… you John’. Adam’s grades at school plummeted.
On another occasion, Father Michaels, who was the Headmaster at that time, summoned Adam to a room he had never seen before. Father Michaels locked the door and made Adam sit on a chair opposite him.
Adam said, ‘He pulled his chair closer to me, put his right leg between mine and clamped my right leg between his legs. He put his hands on my right leg and started to slide his hands up and down my leg. At the same time, he said to me “You’ve been accused of cheating in the exams”. I was surprised and I said “I didn’t cheat Father!” At that point, his right hand had reached my testicles and I pulled away. He stopped and said “That’s alright then”, sat back and we stood up. I don’t remember if he said any more, but he unlocked the door and I left.’
Adam described how he has struggled all his life to come to terms with his treatment at the hands of the priests. He is suspicious of authority, has anger management issues and has spent his life swinging in and out of depression. He has been unable to keep a steady job and has used alcohol and drugs to block out his difficulties.
In 2008 Adam was awarded $20,000 Victims of Crime Compensation for the priests’ sexual assaults. He believes that the Royal Commission may help him reach some closure of the feelings he still struggles to contain.