Sorry, if this post is shorter than the 1st! Tue nite’s 2nd Revelation hit home a lot harder for me + my weekly Counselling call starts in a few hrs. While I tried to take some notes, of how Catholic patterns were carried on in both school classes + individual attacks-instances. Even while noting these out, my mind feels like it’s returning to a spinning-whirlwind feeling. Predators knew this + took advantage of it.
PAUSE Take a break, from what you’re doing. These moments can be very complex and anyone involved, may be drawn into the trappings. Put your phone, or computer down and clear your mind. You can always return later.
Advice on STRESS-tension
While I was returning, to continue typing (after my break), an advert of the 3/3 Episode of Revelation was playing on TV. Whilst I had been making comments, when I 1st saw it on Tue nite actually watching it directly had a ‘freezing’ effect. Not temperature, but in my movements. I hadn’t felt like that, since after another church incident in 1990. 🧊
ABC’s iView has available online viewings of these Revelation Episodes, which also allow you to watch what you can, pause + replay whenever you’re ready!
Anglican Church officials wrongly told a woman who was sexually abused more than 60 years ago they had to hold off resolving her complaint, then offered a payout and an apology if she agreed to a gag clause.
The church’s Brisbane diocese has admitted to again failing Beth Heinrich over her 1995 complaint, which culminated in then-governor-general Peter Hollingworth publicly blaming her for a priest sexually exploiting her as a 15-year-old.
Its apology for causing her “additional trauma and distress” through “unacceptable delays” came a day after the ABC questioned its latest missteps in the case, which led to Dr Hollingworth’s public downfall but still fuels calls for him to be stripped of millions of dollars of public benefits.
The diocese in January belatedly offered Ms Heinrich up to $30,000 for its mishandling of her complaint, which Dr Hollingworth dismissed repeatedly when he was archbishop of Brisbane.
Beth Heinrich pressed the Anglican Church in Brisbane for redress after former archbishop Peter Hollingworth stood by the priest who sexually abused her
The diocese said it could not resolve her complaint because it would “prejudice” another church investigation of Dr Hollingworth
Church investigators denied this and the diocese then offered Ms Heinrich a payout and an apology if she kept it confidential
The offer was a fraction of the $200,000 she sought — a figure she said was increased after independent legal advice and church officials in Melbourne advising that her original request for $50,000 was too little.
The Brisbane diocese also told her in January it was “happy to provide an apology” but this should be kept “confidential” until its Melbourne counterpart ended a separate investigation into whether Dr Hollingworth should be stripped of his Holy Orders.
Its request for secrecy contrasted with Dr Hollingworth’s widely publicised 2002 comments on ABC TV’s Australian Story program that it was “not sex abuse” by priest, and later bishop, Donald Shearman, but “rather the other way round”.
“It was devastating for me at the time [and] I’m still really angry about it because there’s been no ending to it,” Ms Heinrich told the ABC.
“[Dr Hollingworth] knew the true story but he chose to lie about me and victim blame.”
A church spokesman said: “The Brisbane diocese acknowledges there have been unacceptable delays in finalising a redress claim of Ms Beth Heinrich”.
“The diocese apologises that this has caused her additional trauma and distress,” the spokesman said.
‘Most extraordinary case’
Child protection expert and University of South Australia adjunct professor Chris Goddard said Ms Heinrich’s was “the most extraordinary case of so-called secondary abuse I have ever seen”.
He helped Ms Heinrich prepare her testimony to the royal commission into child sexual abuse, with a 300-page presentation involving about 70 documents.
“To my knowledge [Dr Hollingworth] has never publicly apologised for the public humiliation of Beth,” Professor Goddard said.
In 2005, the Bathurst Anglican diocese paid Ms Heinrich $100,000 over Mr Shearman’s abuse of her while running the church hostel where she was a school boarder in the 1950s.
Ms Heinrich said she decided to press a complaint over Brisbane diocese’s mishandling of the matter, after it advertised in a newspaper for survivors to come forward in the wake of the royal commission into child sex abuse in institutions.
In October 2017, the diocese told her it had “little option but to wait for the findings of the Melbourne investigation before [we] can advance and conclude the consideration of your complaints and claim”.
‘Happy to consider an apology’
It said any examination of her complaint “could not be safely concluded until the findings of the Melbourne committee are known, and may risk prejudicing the Melbourne investigation”.
However, the diocese changed its tune in August 2018 after Ms Heinrich questioned the delay.
It told her that it “might be possible to deal with your claim on a private and confidential basis without waiting for the outcome” from Melbourne.
It said the diocese was “happy to consider an apology” but it would be “better delivered” after Melbourne’s findings.
Any settlement would need to be “private and confidential” so as “not to prejudice” the other investigation, it said.
But Melbourne church officials contradicted this last November.
“I can confirm that any compensation or redress paid to you will not impact the investigation,” Kooyoora Ltd executive director Fiona Boyle said in a letter.
Updated April 6, 2016 — 11.19amfirst published at 7.04am
The royal commission into child sexual abuse has triggered a fresh wave of litigation against Sydney private and Catholic schools.
Sydney lawyer Ross Koffel says he has filed 10 claims on behalf of abuse victims against elite schools, including De La Salle College Revesby Heights, Knox Grammar School, The Scots College and the previous administrators of Waverley College, and more are in the works.
Mr Koffel said he been contacted by multiple former students across Sydney before and after representing former Knox students at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year.
“It just seemed to me to be the same problem in school after school after school, and yes the surprise to us was how many schools, how many students are affected,” Mr Koffel told the ABC’s7.30 program.
Mr Koffel said he had been particularly affected by the abuse at Knox, where he studied.
“I had a recollection of the places, the rooms, the school, the playgrounds where it occurred,” he said.
“I knew a lot of the teachers by name, and I was just completely floored.”
One of Mr Koffel’s clients, Adrian Coorie, is suing De La Salle College for damages.
Mr Coorie alleges the school knew, or ought to have known, that a former teacher, Errol Swayne, was a habitual sexual abuser of boys and failed to ensure Mr Coorie’s safety as a student.
Mr Coorie was encouraged to make the claim after telling the royal commission of the assaults he allegedly suffered at the hands of Mr Swayne, who lived on a caravan on the school grounds.
“Sometimes you can think that you are the only person that something has happened to but that’s not the case,” Mr Coorie told 7.30.
“And that’s where that was confirmed that other people had already been there and spoken to the royal commission about the same person, so that was a bit of an eye-opener too,” he said.
Mr Swayne, who has since killed himself, allegedly showed Mr Coorie pornographic films in the caravan on weekends, and molested him in his office during school hours.
Mr Koffel told Fairfax Media his clients were seeking damages ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to claims in the millions.
“That in each case varies but it is made up of past medical expenses, past economic loss, future economic loss – it’s a complicated formula,” he said.
“There’s obviously a systemic problem amongst all of these schools and one hopes that taking these actions, our clients who are the victims not only will be compensated but will get apologies from various institutions and recognition that the school has done the wrong thing by them,” he said.
“The outcome hopefully is that each school will have better procedures in the future so it will never happen again.”
Mr Koffel said three of the cases were against Scots, in relation to the school’s former maths department head John Joseph Beckett, who has already been convicted of the assaults.
The claim against the school is that it did not protect students from teachers.
“They had a responsibility to look after their teachers and we say that the school is liable for the actions of their teachers,” Mr Koffel said.
In a statement to the ABC, the Presbyterian Church of Australia on behalf of Scots College said it did not want to make any statement that may impinge on the court process.
“We support those who have come forward to tell their story of what happened to them and we respect their courage in doing so,” the statement said.
A Knox Grammar spokesman told the ABC he was unable to comment while the claims were before the court.
A spokeswoman for Waverley College said the school was aware of a claim in the Supreme Court regarding an accusation of abuse.
“This claim has been filed against the Trustees of the Christian Brothers, the previous administrators of the school, as distinct from the school’s current administration,” the spokesman said.
“The Christian Brothers ceased administration of the College in 2007 and as such we have no records of the alleged events. Waverley College has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind,” she said.
The action against De La Salle College, Revesby Heights, is against De La Salle Brothers, which had governance of the school at the time.
A spokeswoman for De La Salle Brothers Australia said she could not comment on matters before the courts.
“More broadly the De La Salle Brothers are committed to working compassionately and cooperatively with complainants in the civil process,” the spokeswoman said.
Separately, the royal commission said in November it wanted to hear from former students from either The King’s School or Tudor House Preparatory School with information about abuse.
❏ Support is available by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732; Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491.
RoyalCommBBC How much does this info remind others of past schooling, or as past enrolling? These amounts of public notices, continues to impact society. Throughout Australia + our world.1
CH It was scarily familiar to my experience at BBC in the 1990’s. Shockingly so actually.
RoyalCommBBC Golding was my BBC ‘playlist’, too. Anytime to talk, is a worthwhile way to start ‘venting the stresses’ (that have often been hidden for decades). Some (e.g. family) may be so conditioned, that even they will deny that anything wrong had occurred, but this is when Victims/Survivours must defend their own rights.
RoyalCommBBC Golding (+ perhaps others) was known to follow a repeat-pattern of screen/review/glean/target. This is an example of “repeat offender”. There had been WOM, that he was tried/found-guilty yet his death had closed further discussion. Cheers, if you’ve started up another! (Planned repost in https://royalcommbbc.blog/statements/)
CH The worst was the way his departure from BBC was hushed and not an inkling of checking if any students had been abused etc just a literal mentality of ‘gossip and rumours about people is wrong’ and ‘protect the schools reputation’. I can remember being told this in band practice 1st day back after he disappeared from the school over a holiday break. School had a replacement head of music already there from England so they obviously knew enough to plan ahead yet we were all told nothing. Parents and students alike.
Amongst most of the comments during and after the screening of 4Corners ‘Boys Club’, some past Students and Family of other Private Schools may recognise similarities. Beyond each school’s personal reputation and heritage, many strive to have common traits ingrained into their students. Whether this be for academic-sporting-cultural benefit, sometimes included is acceptance of behaviours found unacceptable in aged maturity. This is where the prevalence of ‘developing teenagers’ (pre-adolescents) are often targeted by Grooming, Personal-Training/Coaching and Private-Reversals.
How much has already been hidden, by non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) / payments of ‘hush money’ / Deed of releases? To what extent will some of these occasions be acting against the intentions of the Letters Patent of the 2013-17 Royal Commission? Oh what a tangled web has been woven, through all of these attempts at Justice.
To anyone effected by these ongoing CSA matters, help is available to all:
Redress +/or Personal Settlements;
Further information is available, including suggestions from other bodies. Surviving-victims should never be alone, which is motivation to force along these RCbbc Blog’s. It is hoped that similar support groups, from about other communities (e.g. St Kevins) could share a similar passion.
By Debbie Cuthbertson, Simone Fox Koob, Farrah Tomazin and Chris Vedelago
February 16, 2020 — 12.00am
“Jesus is coming to get you.”
That was the warning Lionel (not his real name) alleges Christian Brother Rex Francis Elmer gave in an attempt to silence him after he sexually assaulted him at a Melbourne orphanage in the 1970s.
The words rang in the boy’s ears long after.
Elmer “kissed me on the forehead and said well done” after molesting him, Lionel said.
“He then told me not to tell anyone. He said to me, if you tell anyone, Jesus would come down from heaven and take me away and you will not see your family or friends ever again,” he told police.
“I was scared and really believed what he had said, that Jesus would take me away if I said anything. I was an altar boy and I believed this.
“The word ‘Jesus’ was ringing in my ears.”
The assaults continued, as did the warnings, for more than a year, Lionel said. It was a vicious circle.
“This sort of incident happened at least two to three times a week,” Lionel said in his witness statement to police. “The same sort of thing. I would piss the bed scared at night that [Elmer] would come to me. I was petrified of him. I couldn’t tell anyone because I was scared of getting a flogging and being taken away by Jesus.”
Another boy who had complained about being abused by Elmer was flogged with a cane by another brother then removed from the St Vincent de Paul Boys’ Home, Lionel said.
“He dobbed Elmer in for doing something sexual to him. It was two days later that this guy who got hit and dobbed got taken from the home.”
He said he told another boy at the home about the abuse. That boy replied that Elmer had also sexually assaulted him. “We were both scared that Jesus would come to take us,” Lionel said. “This is what we thought happened to [the boy who left].”
Lionel said he also confided in a nun from a nearby convent. “I told her what Elmer had been doing to me. She said ‘Darling, please do not say a word to anyone, I will fix this for you’.”
Soon after he confessed to her, Lionel alleges, Elmer and two other brothers brutally beat him, including with a cane, in an assault that left him bleeding from his behind and bedridden for more than a week.
While he was still recovering, Lionel said, Elmer abused him again. He punched the boy repeatedly, giving him a black eye and bloody nose after the boy vomited on the brother during the assault.
When I spewed, he punched me in the face with a clenched fist … three or four times. I couldn’t see out of my left eye for a few days until the swelling went down. He said to me ‘Jesus is coming to get you’. This is the last time that I ever saw Elmer.”
In mid-1976, Elmer suddenly left St Vincent’s. “I don’t know what happened to Elmer, but he was gone from the home,” Lionel told police.
Lionel, now aged 59, said of the ongoing effect of his abuse: “I get teary talking about this but I have learnt to deal with it. It is always in my mind and it always hurts me.”
On Monday, Elmer pleaded guilty in the County Court to the indecent assault of two other complainants, also from St Vincent’s, in the 1970s, after which prosecutors did not proceed with charges related to Lionel’s accusations. That meant that Lionel’s witness statement was never tendered and Elmer never faced his allegations.
Court documents show the 75-year-old was charged in 2018 with 19 counts of indecent assault and one of false imprisonment in relation to three victims during the 1970s.
The first complainant, who had been in state care since infancy, told police Elmer repeatedly abused him between the ages of 11 and 13, usually while he was sleeping in a dormitory.
He said the first assault occurred when Elmer threw off his bed covers, demanded he do as he was told, and put his hand down the boy’s pyjama pants. The assault, however, was interrupted. “Someone has approached the bed as he was being assaulted by the accused, who then fled,” according to the police brief of evidence.
“The complainant was summoned to the office of the now deceased Brother in charge, Brother Carey … Shortly thereafter the complainant recalls being sexually abused by the accused on many occasions.”
The second complainant, who came to the orphanage aged seven after his parents died, was sexually abused by Elmer repeatedly between the ages of nine and 11.
On one occasion Elmer led the boy, who had been playing in the grounds of the home after school, upstairs into his private bedroom at the end of a dormitory.
Elmer produced a large book with pictures of human anatomy and made the boy sit on his knee while the brother asked him to name various body parts, including male genitalia, and masturbated against the boy’s back during the 20-minute assault.
As dormitory master at St Vincent’s, Elmer was responsible for up to 40 children at a time, aged between seven and 14.
The most senior Christian Brothers officials in Victoria knew in mid-1976, when they removed Elmer from the orphanage, that he had abused boys there.
Later that year they made Elmer principal of St Joseph’s, a Catholic boys primary school in Warrnambool.
Elmer was in charge of the school from 1976-81. He worked in the town alongside several other notorious paedophile clerics including priests Paul David Ryan and Robert Claffey, and fellow Christian Brother Edward Dowlan (all since jailed for child sexual assault).
Elmer left Warrnambool after more complaints about his behaviour at St Vincent’s reached his superiors. In 1988 he reappeared, in an article from a small Tasmanian newspaper called Western Tiers, published in his home town of Deloraine.
“Brother Rex Elmer will be spending Christmas at home with his mother … and family before leaving to go to Africa to set up a Mission School at Arushia [sic] in Tanzania with two other Christian Brothers,” the newspaper reported proudly on page 3.
“Rex was a pupil at Our Lady of Mercy College and St Patrick’s [College] and has been teaching at various schools, including Warrnambool in Victoria. He is hoping to see old school friends while at home and we all wish him well in the future.”
The school Elmer helped found in northern Tanzania is now run by the Congregation of Christian Brothers East Africa District and has more than 1300 students.
Elmer left the school in 1993 after more complaints surfaced, and was sent by his order to the United States for counselling at the St Luke Institute for paedophile Catholic clergy in Maryland.
He was charged In 1997 with 69 counts. He was convicted the next year of 12 counts: one charge of indecent assault against each of the 12 boys. The judge sentenced him to five years in prison with a minimum of three years and four months.
At his sentencing, Judge Thomas Neesham described Elmer, then 53, as a man of God who had indulged in “depraved self-gratification”, The Age reported at the time.
“Each of your victims was a small boy in your care. Each was an inmate,” he said. The boys, many of them orphans or wards of the state, were aged between eight and 12.
“They were helpless,” Judge Neesham said. “Who could they tell, who would believe them?
“All your victims wear deep emotional scars to this day as is brought out by their victim impact statements,” he said. “As a teacher and a man of God, how could you not have had an inkling of the devastation to your victims’ faith … by your act of misbehaviour.
“Your victims will have to live in the misery that you inflicted upon them … You will have to live with the disgrace that you brought on yourself and your family.”
Elmer had been living in a Christian Brothers home in Brunswick at the time of his first conviction and was still working for the order in an administrative role. In 2002, after his release from prison, he was placed him on “restricted ministry”.
He now resides in a property owned by the order in the same suburb. His bail was extended following his guilty plea this week until his sentencing in July.
“The accused is currently retired and resides within the Christian Brothers Community,” a police brief from his current case states.
The order has received 22 claims for redress from people who allege Elmer sexually abused them as children, according to documents it provided to Austalia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which reported its findings in 2017.
Those claims all related to accusations of multiple assaults alleged to have occurred between 1969 and 1985 – from when Elmer was a novitiate (a Christian Brother in training) to the years when he worked in South Melbourne and Warrnambool, mainly during his time at St Vincent’s.
The documents also show the order knew that a number of victims had alleged that other clergy had participated in the abuse by Elmer.
Catholic Church Insurance (CCI) refused to cover the Christian Brothers in relation to any claims of abuse by Elmer after 1976, ruling the order – including its most senior cleric, then provincial Brother Patrick Naughtin – had “prior knowledge” of his crimes.
“Whilst the Visitation was in progress [13/06/1976], a Child Welfare Office reported to Brother [redacted] Acting Superior that Rex had been interfering with little boys; this was true and it had been attended to by the Provincial,” said a CCI document submitted to the royal commission.
In a letter dated June 20, 1976, Naughtin wrote to the acting superior of the orphanage: “Thank you very much for the report on the situation which developed … in connection with Br Elmer. It is indeed a serious and most unfortunate state of affairs and I am grateful for your bringing it to my attention so promptly.”
In his letter, Naughtin (who died in 2010) expressed concern for Elmer’s reputation, not for the welfare of the children he had abused. He also referenced the illegality of Elmer’s actions but did not report him to authorities.
“I have interviewed Br Elmer and discussed this position with him. He is clearly aware of the serious nature of his actions and I took pains to point out his legal and moral obligations in the matter.
“It seems to me extremely unlikely that there will be any recurrence of what had happened … It would seem to me best at this stage not to transfer Brother … immediately, though I would propose to announce his change next August – the usual time for releasing details of staffing for the following year.
“In coming to this decision I have been guided by the Brother’s assurance for the future, by his excellent record to date and by consideration for his reputation which would undoubtedly be harmed by a sudden transfer at this time.”
When Elmer left St Vincent’s he was replaced by Edward ‘Ted’ Dowlan, now one of the most notorious paedophile clerics in Victoria. They later worked together at St Joseph’s in Warrnambool.
A 1996 letter from an unnamed Christian Brother was submitted to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry in 2013 into the handling of child abuse by institutions, including religious orders. It sheds light on how widespread the abuse was at St Vincent’s, and how determined the church was to dismiss it.
“I accepted with good faith the sudden departure of Brother Elmer from the school and the appointment of Brother Dowlan to fill his position,” the letter reads. “Indeed, I spent many extra hours, which I could ill afford, assisting Brother Dowlan to understand the nature and behaviours of the boys and the teachers.
“As you are probably aware, many of St Vincent’s residents had been sexually abused, and often displayed overt and outrageous sexualised behaviour. Furthermore, they expected or requested that this behaviour be reciprocated by the adults in their lives. A major part of our endeavours at St Vincent’s was getting these boys to a point where they would expect not to be abused. Now I find that all of this work could have been compromised by the presence of a man like Brother Dowlan …
“I take note of your congregation’s position that the brothers were unaware of Brother Dowlan’s tendencies and activities. I cannot accept this as a reasonable position. I cannot believe that the number of allegations against this man could have been kept from his various communities’ and the congregation’s superiors. I find that expecting the public to believe this is preposterous. I do not believe this plea of ignorance.”
St Vincent’s orphanage closed in 1997. It was home to more than 6000 boys over 140 years.
Information provided by the Catholic Church to the royal commission showed it had received 114 claims of sexual abuse at the home, the highest number of any Catholic institution in Victoria.
The Christian Brothers declined to answer The Age’s questions about Elmer, citing “ongoing legal proceedings”.
Particularly, Rudd house / Boarders may have experienced more than the Day boys from a single to constant Canings via anyone is ‘Corporal Punishment of a minor’ : aka Phyysical Child Abuse. There is no wonder it was outlawed in Public Education, gradually followed by Private Edu (1990’s). Even use of Caning as a threat results in the same level of Redress: 100-500’s each yr X $5,000 (min.) : $500,000-$2,500,000 / yr may make lasting impact on ANY Institution (Church-State-Private).
Imagine these figures, spread throughout each City-State-Town + Coupled with Public Apologies + Counselling-Support: the immense multitude of ‘the masses’ of impacted Students, Parents, Families throughout ANY Institution may be quite profound. Another perspective (POV) is painted by ‘from little things, big things grow’. EDRMS also explain that compliance is strengthened by good recordkeeping and systems. A solid evidence base is essential for these commitments.
Using this common phrase as incentive, so much can be gained for anyone whose been through. Physical Abuse, through Caning, has been used as the example of this post. From NRS site – Who can Apply is simply explained: https://www.nationalredress.gov.au/applying/who-can-apply. Feedback is encouraged, whether anonymously/pseudonym/name via WP, FB, eMail or Twitter.
Circumstances that might affect how your application is processed
Depending on your circumstances, your application may progress to assessment differently. These circumstances include if you:
Resulting from the dramatic jumps in past BBC students/‘Old Boys’, family members and other interested viewers, RCbbc Blog is now approaching 750 Subscribers! From something that began as simply an idea, a few like-minds started messaging and now there has been leaps in global viewers. Obviously, BBC has earned a place with its high-levels of diversified achievements: academic-sporting-cultural both inter-intra-world competitions.
This post is however, not to focus on the positive, public and uplifting moments – rather provide further reinforcement of the solutions that should be easily understood by those effected by CSA. While Child Sexual Abuse has, does and will continue to exist its acknowledgement, realisation and avoidance-of will allow continued trust to be had with where our children and young adults are schooled.
Should any current + future parents / adoptees have any concerns of their children’s care, following is a copy of what BBC/PMSA has provided for this purpose: (as follows) Further assistance may be gained through Qld Police’s Children’s safety-Youth safety-Children and the internet-Who’s chatting to your kids?-PoliceLink-Child Protection Investigation Unit (CPIU) https://www.police.qld.gov.au/units/victims-of-crime/child-protection
knowmore is immense help, for any stage of Compensation-Redress-Legal advice. As stated on their site: “Free legal help; FOR SURVIVORS”. Explained further, throughout the site “knowmore is an independent service giving free legal advice to survivors of abuse by providing them with information about the justice and redress options that may be available to them.” explains more. Whichever stage you’re at / your family are at, knowmore provide specialised advice in this field!
Prestigious Melbourne school Trinity Grammar has paid out more than $1 million to a former student for the historical sexual abuse he suffered.
John Turner, abused in 1974 when he was 16 by boarding master Leslie Wiggins, said he felt vindicated.
“It makes me feel whole again. It makes me feel like a person. I never felt adequate as an adult, I always felt I was hopeless,” he said.
“The feelings of inadequacy and extreme anxiety have been present with me my entire life since the sixth form.”
Mr Turner, now 62, was sent to Trinity as a 14-year-old, moving from Papua New Guinea where his step-father was the vice chancellor of its university.
Boarding school life in Melbourne was at first fun and full of mischief in the shadow of some of their masters who Mr Turner described as a “procession of weirdos and oddballs who came and went”.
The boys would make jokes amongst themselves when they knew they were being watched in the showers by one master, and Wiggins, the assistant school chaplain, was known to have “liked little boys.”
Wiggins targeted Mr Turner after he and his friends were caught smoking marijuana. Awaiting to hear whether he’d be expelled, Wiggins came into Mr Turner’s bedroom at night on the pretext of wanting to help him. Wiggins assaulted him twice before the teenager asked to be moved into a shared dormitory.
Mr Turner told his sister, then his father found out and called a meeting with headmaster John Leppitt, who asked Mr Turner to leave the boarding house. Mr Turner didn’t fight back.
“I felt that I was saving my fellow boarders from a disastrous outcome because they’d been threatened with expulsion and I’d been told I was the ringleader. They were country boys so if they were expelled, it would have been life-long shame,” Mr Turner said.
Mr Turner left the boarding house to live with his father in Richmond, and he said he was thrown into the “abyss”. He started an arts/law degree at Monash University, and his father had plans for him to go into politics. But riddled with anxiety, he couldn’t finish the degree and lurched from job to job. He now runs his own cleaning business.
“I could never hold a job down and it’s almost a direct result of that. I would just get restless,” he said.
Mr Turner said he chose to go public in an effort to try and get in touch with his school friends, as well as a close friend from Ruyton Girls’ School who was assaulted by a Trinity master.
“I don’t know what’s happened to them in their lives and I want them to know I was trying to protect them,” he said.
By coming forward, Mr Turner also had to disclose to his wife what had happened to him as a boy.
“It was difficult, but she has always been very supportive. She was terrific. And for her it explains a lot,” he said.
“Now that I’ve told everyone, I’m not ashamed of it.”
Wiggins was convicted in 1991 of indecently assaulting three boys on the Mornington Peninsula. He died several years ago.
Mr Turner praised the school’s current administration for their handling of his claim.
“Right from the start, they accepted responsibility,” he said.
School council chairman John Gillam said historical cases of child sex abuse has darkened Trinity’s history, but the school was committed to ensuring support and action for those affected.
“We are deeply sorry that these abuses have occurred. The school will not forget nor underestimate the impact these historical incidents have had,” Mr Gillam said.
Rightside Legal senior associate Laird Macdonald, who represented Mr Turner, said institutions are “slowly waking up to the devastating consequences of child abuse and the compensation they have to pay to deal with this dreadful legacy”.
Trinity signed up to the redress scheme in 2018 and Mr Macdonald said, had his client gone through that system, he would have received a maximum $150,000 in compensation.
The way the school dealt with Mr Turner’s claim signals a shift in a school that had struggled to grapple with historical abuse claims.
This came to a head when allegations were made against a once revered school figure, Christopher Howell, who taught at Trinity for more than 40 years.
Howell took his own life before he was due to face court on an indecent assault charge, and, even though they knew about the allegations, former headmaster Dr Michael Davies and his deputy Rohan Brown penned a tribute calling him a hero.