Victim of Sexual Abuse by Catholic Priest Felt "Completely Abandoned" by Church
By Karl Hoerr
April 8, 2016
|PHOTO: John Joseph Farrell has been convicted of 62 child sexual abuse offences. (Fairfax Media: Barry Smith, file photo)|
Victims of a former Catholic priest who sexually abused children in northern New South Wales in the 1980s have described the devastating impact of his crimes in statements read out in court.
John Joseph Farrell, 62, is awaiting sentencing for 62 offences involving 12 victims.
One victim said in his statement, which was read by his mother, the abuse was compounded by the fact that when he reported what happened to him, he was not believed.
"I felt completely abandoned by the institution I had put so much faith in," his statement said.
The victim said he had enjoyed a happy childhood until the age of 11.
"When I met Farrell, all of that changed," he said in his statement.
He said the Catholic Church merely protected Farrell.
The man also said it was no coincidence he started drinking after meeting Farrell.
He said he developed chronic alcoholism, never engaged in study or long-term employment and has had 20 different homes in the past 25 years.
Victim 'never had a proper relationship' after abuse
Another victim said that having to re-live the offences against him was traumatic.
"I have never been able to have a proper relationship because of what happened to me," his statement said.
My experience with John Farrell was always present in my thoughts and never was I prepared to reveal that I was a victim.
Child sexual abuse victim
Another victim who was raped by Farrell was overcome with emotion as he was preparing to read out his victim impact statement in the witness box.
His partner stepped up to read the statement on his behalf.
In it, he said the abuse continues to cause him problems with intimacy.
"I feel unclean until I've showered [after sexual activity]," he said. "John Farrell has shown neither remorse nor regret for what he has done to me and others."
Most of Farrell's victims were altar boys in the Moree area, but three of the victims were girls.
A woman who was sexually abused by Farrell said in her statement that was submitted but not read to the court: "I naively assumed that God must have been okay with it."
"My experience with John Farrell was always present in my thoughts and never was I prepared to reveal that I was a victim," she said.
Judge Peter Zahra is due to sentence Farrell on May 2.