Depraved Warden "Wrestled Boy in Underpants"

The Australian
May 24, 2012

DEPRAVED: The inquiry into child abuse at St Andrew's Hostel in Katanning told warden wrestled boys in underpants. Picture: Nine News Source: PerthNow

WESTERN Australia's inquiry into child abuse at state-run boarding houses has been told of yet another depraved warden.

The inquiry, led by former Supreme Court Justice Peter Blaxell, has focused previously on events at the St Andrew's Hostel in Katanning in the 1970s and 80s, where convicted pedophile brothers Dennis and Neil McKenna abused children in their care.

Details emerged on Wednesday of the bizarre behaviour of the late Roy Wenlock, who was warden at St Christopher's Hostel at Northam, 100km northeast of Perth, from 1963 until 1977 when he was forced to resign.

Wenlock, who then worked with children as a development officer with the West Australian Cricket Association, was never charged or convicted of any sexual offence.

Counsel assisting the inquiry, Philip Urquhart, told the inquiry Wenlock lured boys to his home with treats before wrestling them - up to six at a time - while they were in their underpants.

The boys were made to straddle Wenlock and grab his armpits while he tried to buck them off - an act Mr Urquhart described as ``simulated sexual intercourse''.

Wenlock would often yell out, ``You brute! You brute!'', giving rise to the boys' nickname of ``bruting'' for the sessions.

Mr Urquhart said Wenlock was careful to wrestle boys aged 14 or older - sometimes on their 14th birthday - as WA's child sex abuse laws at the time only protected boys under that age.

"Roy Wenlock appeared to have escaped the scrutiny of police,'' Mr Urquhart told the inquiry.

One boy's mother complained to police in 1975, only to be told there was insufficient evidence, though police were aware of Wenlock's activities.

It was not until after two boys complained to the son of Avon MP Ken McIver that Wenlock was forced to leave St Christopher's at the end of 1977.

A former boarder who is now a WA police officer said Wenlock was a "large, physical man'' who doled out corporal punishment, forced students to attend church and watched boys shower.

"It was definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, child abuse,'' the officer identified as "C'' said.

C became one of Wenlock's "favourites'' and wrestled him at least once a week.

The officer said he knew Wenlock derived sexual pleasure from it and he "knew it was wrong'', but victims rarely spoke out for fear of being branded gay.

He had tried to suppress his memories for 40 years and suspected other victims had done the same.








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