Victims tell of merciless abuse

The West Australian

April 29, 2014

A former resident of the Christian Brothers’ Bindoon orphanage yesterday exposed harrowing details of his exploitation by the home’s brothers, telling the first Perth hearing of a royal commission of his years of being groomed as a sex “pet” and sadistically beaten.

John Hennessey, the first witness at the hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, described being repeatedly and mercilessly raped, forced into child labour and beaten so brutally that he once believed he would die.

At times breaking down, and prompting some in the packed public gallery to weep uncontrollably, Mr Hennessey said he had been subjected to the “most distorted, twisted patterns of sexual” behaviour by criminals who were safe in the knowledge that his legal guardian – the State Government – would never bother meeting its responsibilities.

Mr Hennessey, placed at the home in 1947 as a child migrant and remaining there for five years, said his abuse was clear evidence that the State Government and other institutions, such as police, had been in collusion with the Catholic Church.

He is one of 11 former residents of four WA Christian Brothers’ homes – Bindoon, Clontarf, Castledare and Tardun – who will give evidence to the royal commission over two weeks.

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