Church abuse survivor home from Rome

By Matt Crossman
Star Weekly
March 15, 2016

Paul Levey fronts the media in Rome.
Photo by Ballarat Courier

More church abuse survivors from Sunbury have spoken up in the wake of Cardinal George Pell’s Royal Commission appearance.

Sunbury’s Paul Levey, who was in Rome when Cardinal Pell gave evidence via videolink, said he had been inundated with calls and emails since returning last week.

Some were from men who were talking for the first time after being abused while students at Salesian College.

‘‘More brothers, priests and teachers who were at Salesian have been named, and I know for sure they’ve not been previously named or charged,’’ Mr Levey said.

“There’s been a 25 per cent increase in calls to the Centre Against Sexual Assault in Ballarat … Sunbury, now, has just exploded.’’

A large number of Salesian College principals, boarding masters and brothers who were at the college between 1960 and 1990 have faced courts on scores of sexual abuse charges.

Mr Levey, who was abused as a child by a Ballarat diocese priest, said that while he previously believed that his trip to Rome would be ‘‘the end of it’’, he had returned with renewed fighting spirit.

Mr Levey has called on the local Catholic diocese and Salesian College to pitch in for more men’s counselling services in the area. More than $11,000 has been raised to set up a Sunbury Men’s Survivors group, but more is needed to sustain a service.

‘‘I want the church to help fund a Sunbury support group, and I would like to see more done nationally to make people aware of the help available,’’ he said.

Mr Levey, who went to Rome with a group of Ballarat diocese survivors, said they were disappointed that the Pope claimed to have not received requests for a meeting.

Mr Levey decided not to take part in a meeting with Cardinal Pell, who did not look at survivors while giving evidence.

Having tied ribbons to fences and doors at the Vatican as visual reminders, Mr Levey urged anyone affected by church abuse to speak out.

‘‘What we’re saying is, no more silence.’’


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