William Standen Sentencing: I Hope You Get Locked Up, Victim Tells Catholic Brother Abuser

ABC News
April 15, 2016

PHOTO: William Standen later became the principal of Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral College until he retired in 2010. (ABC News: Narda Gilmore)

A man indecently assaulted by a Catholic Brother more than 30 years ago has told a sentencing hearing he hopes the 66-year-old gets "locked up for good".

William Peter Standen has pleaded guilty to 18 charges of indecently assaulting 18 boys during the late 1970s and early 1980s while he was a year seven dormitory master at a Catholic boarding school in southern NSW.

At a sentencing hearing in Sydney, 11 middle-aged men read out victim impact statements.

None of them could be identified for legal reasons but each told of how they had suffered years of ongoing trauma, mental health problems and drug and alcohol addiction as a result of the abuse.

One man told the court his parents sent him to the school in order to protect him from domestic violence at home.

"My parents believed they were sending me to a safe place," he said.

"Not this mind-twisting institution that I had to battle through for six long years."

The same man described how scared and confused he felt when Standen, also known as Brother David, abused him, saying he was paralysed with fear.

To look back on it now, it was complete hypocrisy from a broken Catholic system of abuse and cover up.

Sexual abuse victim

In the courtroom, he looked Standen in the eye and said: "I hope you get locked up".

"Whatever your sentence turns out to be, it will be insignificant to the life sentence of over 30 years that you inflicted on me and others."

Crown prosecutor David Scully said Standen was an intelligent man and it was difficult to accept that he did not know what he was doing.

Mr Scully said Standen abused his position of trust and his crimes were "perverse and disturbing".

Teacher later 'regretted the cruel and sadistic practices'

Forensic Psychiatrist Dr Olav Nielssen told the court it was his opinion that Standen committed the abuse out of sexual frustration, rather than for his own gratification.

"He greatly regretted the cruel and sadistic practices that [marked] his early career," Dr Nielssen said.

Dr Nielssen said that while he believed there was a sexual element to Standen's offending, he did not think Standen displayed paedophilic tendencies.

Standen's Barrister Greg Walsh said his client had "fallen from grace" since he was arrested and taken into custody on the charges.

"All dignity has been stripped from him," he said.

Mr Walsh added that Standen had a clear sense of his culpability and said that as a teacher Standen had failed in his responsibility to treat the boys with compassion, fairness and dignity.

'I lost faith and respect in the Catholic religion'

Another man said he struggled to hide his tears from his classmates after he was abused.

"From that day forward I had lost faith and respect in the Catholic religion," he said.

One victim said he was fortunate that the only real harm he suffered was his hate and dislike of the Church.

"I was taught respect and good Christian virtues and values," he said.

"To look back on it now, it was complete hypocrisy from a broken Catholic system of abuse and cover up."

Many of the men cried as they read out their statements, while others asked a representative to read on their behalf.

Most abuse occurred after lights out, court told

Court documents revealed Standen was the only person to supervise the year seven boarders after lights out and would regularly watch them shower.

You were deserving of protection and you were tragically let down.

Christian Brothers Oceania Province

He would regularly punish the boys by smacking them to the buttocks with a strap or his hands.

The documents stated Standen would call the boys into his room either under the guise of punishment or to undertook additional tuition.

Most of the boys were from rural families, and often felt homesick, isolated and had minimal contact with their parents while they were at boarding school.

Standen later became the principal of Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral College until he retired in 2010.

He was arrested at Sydney Airport in August 2014.

In a statement, the Christian Brothers Oceania Province extended their "unreserved apology" to victims in response to what was heard at the sentencing hearing.

"You were deserving of protection and you were tragically let down," the statement said.

The name of the school where Standen served as a dormitory master when the abuse is alleged to have occurred has been suppressed for legal reasons.

He will be sentenced at a later date.








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