Abuse Victims Took Their Own Lives: Classmate

By Kate Dennehy
Sydney Morning Herald

August 9, 2008

FIVE former students of a high-profile Catholic school committed suicide years after being sexually abused by a priest there, says an alleged sixth victim.

Paul Fauth, 59, now based in Melbourne, attended St Joseph's Nudgee College in Brisbane in the 1950s and 1960s. He said a classmate attempted suicide on July 30 in Brisbane after memories of abuse were rekindled prior to World Youth Day. His life support system was turned off on August 1 and he was cremated on Thursday.

Mr Fauth said that of his class of 29 students he knew of 10 who were sexually abused by the priest.

"When I was eight he first molested me by pulling my pants down and fondling me, saying that he had to check me out for disease," he said. "A week later he raped me and said it's what big people do and it should be our secret. I got myself expelled when I was 13 so I could get away from him."

It is understood the priest, now 89, lives in a retirement home in a Brisbane suburb. Mr Fauth said the alleged victims were planning legal action against the priest, possibly a class action. - Before World Youth Day last month, Bishop Anthony Fisher of the Sydney Archdiocese said some victims of sexual abuse were "dwelling crankily ... on old wounds".

Mr Fauth said Bishop Fisher's comments "were just so gut-wrenching and sickening. I was so upset I called my best friend from school and confided in him and he told me he'd been abused by the same priest".

They called others in their class and learnt six had been molested and four others had committed suicide. Mr Fauth demanded a meeting with Bishop Fisher and saw him in Sydney on July 29. "He offered me his Bishop's ring to kiss but I refused and told him he was a toad of a man," he said.

"I was so angry and hurt. I told him very forcefully that he had no idea of the pain and suffering he'd caused by his totally offensive comments."

A spokesman said Bishop Fisher had "expressed his sorrow that comments he had made ... had been construed as criticism of victims, and apologised for any hurt Mr Fauth had suffered as a result".

A Christian Brothers spokesman could not confirm whether Mr Fauth had attended the school or whether he had been abused.


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