Protesters gather outside the public hearing in Perth.Suspicious deaths at WA’s Bindoon Farm schoolPerth child abuse inquiry told about the horrors of sexual abuseVictim became Christian Brother only to be ‘treated like outsider’
Victims of sexual abuse at Christian Brothers run institutions have slammed the law firm which represented them in a class action, alleging they were “forced” to sign a settlement they did not understand.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard from the final two of 11 victims at Wednesday morning, the third day of Perth’s public hearing.
Gordon Grant and Edward Delaney spoke of sexual abuse at Bindoon Farm School.
Mr Delaney, who was taken as a child to Australia from the United Kingdom without the consent of his mother, described the class action put forward by Slater & Gordon in the 1990s as “a joke”.
He said he was told the church had made an offer and, “if I did not take the offer, I would get nothing.”
“If I did take the offer, that was the end of it. It was only around $3000. For what we went though, I felt this was an insult”.
Mr Delaney said while he signed the document he said he “did not understand the details of the settlement” and was sorry he had signed anything.
“In my opinion, I was forced to sign the document,” he said.
Mr Delaney said he felt Slater & Gordon did not care about the victims they were representing.
“I think they felt that we were a lower class of person,” he told the commission.
Mr Grant, who had been sent to Australia as a child migrant from Whales and gave evidence of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at Bindoon, also told the commission he believed his telephone was bugged by Slater & Gordon after speaking out in a newspaper article.
It is understood that Hayden Stephens, a partner with Slater & Gordon, will be questioned at the hearing on Thursday.
Howard Harrison, a partner with Carroll & O’Dea, who represented the interests of the Christian Brothers and individual defendants is also listed as a witness.
The hearing also heard specific requests from some victims.
Mr Grant asked that a swimming pool named after one of the Christian Brothers have its name changed and that the remains of another Brother be relocated, from where it lies among the remains of other child migrants.
Brother Francis Keaney, who has been mentioned frequently during the hearing, is buried alongside the bodies of young boys from the Bindoon school.
“There is at Bindoon the mortal remains of Brother Paul Francis Keaney,” he said.
“We want those remains taken up and his mortal remains, whatever is left of them, to be reinterred at the Christian Brothers plot at Karrakatta.”
He said he knew of 14 “repeat offenders” buried at Karrakatta already.
“So if that is done, Keaney’s bones will be with his mates at Karrakatta Cemetery,” Mr Gordon said.
He said his tombstone could “go down to the piggery, the pigs will find use for it, I’m sure.”
Mr Grant also said there was a pool in Bindoon called the Brother Dawe Memorial Swimming Pool.
“I want the name Brother Dawe removed from that swimming pool,” he said.
Mr Delaney requested priests and brothers be able to marry.
“I would also like to be able to send a letter to the Pope saying that priests and brothers should be allowed to marry, I believe this would solve a lot of problems,” he said.
His comment followed evidence that boys were used for the sexual pleasure of a number of Brothers and were taught to despise women.
Compensation has come up as something some victims would like addressed.
Most feel the compensation already paid in Slater & Gordon’s class action and via Redress WA through the state government were insufficient.
The hearing continues. Follow WAtoday on Twitter
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.