Salesian College Sunbury to Offer Public Apologies for Sexual Abuse of Students

Sunbury Leader
November 24, 2016

Salesian College principal Mark Brockhus in front of the Rupertswood Mansion. The school will be making a public apology on December 8 in relation to historical sexual abuse. Picture: Kylie Else

SUNBURY’S Salesian College will host a public apology to victims and loved ones affected by decades of historical sexual abuse there.

Australia-Pacific Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco provincial Father Greg Chambers will present the apology on December 8 to victims and their families in gardens in front of the Rupertswood Mansion, where a plaque will be placed on a “sorry stone”.

Years of abuse at the then boarding school at Rupertswood Mansion from the 1970s to ’90s has led to past priests being imprisoned, while other staff associated with the college at the time have been ordered to pay substantial compensation.

The dark history of Salesian College has again come to light with the ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Salesian College principal Mark Brockhus said the apology and monument was a starting point in confronting the college’s past which had impacted on dozens of victims.

“The apology is about making a sincere statement in a public setting which deals which the trust that was abused and broken in the past,” he said.

“The statement and monument has been something we have been working on for some time and we have had past students consult us in how to make this happen.

“We hope this apology will start a process of healing that will lead to more meaningful and ongoing support to those affected.”

Mr Brockhus said former students were asked to attend a public discussion on the past abuse earlier this year.

Frank discussion was triggered by Truth, Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan.

Mr Brockhus said a barcode on the sorry stone could be scanned by a mobile device and link to a recording and transcript of the apology and information on how to find help.

Another feature of the “place of contemplation” will be a stand of “resurrection orchids”.

Mr Brockhus said the orchids were distinctive as they returned to full bloom despite dying off.

The sorry stone itself is left over from the original construction of Rupertswood Mansion.

“I hope the community will be happy with this first step and victims feel they now have a safe place to visit on the school grounds if they would like to do so,” he said.

“We also recognise that it is very brave for anyone who has suffered abuse to even park the car and walk up the driveway.”

Dedicated processes such as mandatory reporting and policies have been updated in recent years to stamp out the possibility of similar abuses occurring again, while a Child Safety Committee has also been formed, he said.

To find out more ring Salesian College on 9744 0000.








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