AUKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
One News Now
June 1, 2019
Chris Ledingham can still remember the first time he drove past an Auckland church where he was sexually abused as a seven-year-old Catholic schoolboy decades earlier.
“Quite a few years ago before any of this stuff came out, my younger brother wanted some help buying some carpets to take back to Taranaki,” Chris said.
“And he drove me down to Onehunga – I’d said I’d give him a hand – and we passed that presbytery, and it was like I was being stabbed in the chest with a brick with a knife on it. It really affected me.”
Yesterday, the 66-year-old returned to Our Lady of the Assumption Church for only the second time, to help launch his and his two brothers’ book telling the story of their abuse.
At least his older brother Mike will be there, too.
What Chris didn’t know for decades was that Mike had been abused too, by the same priest, and that Mike found out in the 1980s that the same thing had happened to their younger brother Gerry, all of it in the 1950s and 60s.
“It’s hard to talk about now, but we’ve got the words for it now – back then we didn’t even have the words,” Chris said.
“What do you call it? I didn’t know what the hell was going on.”
Mike said: “We didn’t know that people rooted kids, you know – I don’t know if you can put that on the radio.”
The previously-published Mike is the author of the book The Catholic Boys, helped by his sister Mary Ledingham, and put out by Rotorua’s boutique BMS Books.
The boys’ tormentor, the late Father Frank Green, used gymnastics as a way to get close to children; the New Zealand Herald has reported he was also chair of the New Zealand Gymnastic Council for several years.
Green died in the 1990s, before being held to account.
Their sister Mary Ledingham, one of the writers of the book, still hurts for her brothers.
“As a sister, I and their two other sisters and two other brothers are also angry that we did not protect them and to this day we still feel they have been cheated of their lives by those who should have known better,” she wrote.
Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.