The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has also heard that Christian Brothers pimped boys out to a visiting photographer at St Joseph’s Farm and Trade School, Bindoon, in the late 1950s.
A witness known as VV told the commission in Perth that a Christian Brother who raped him suddenly announced he needed to confess his sins.
“Then Brother Parker came back and said I needed to see Father Gerard. Father Gerard sat me down and told me what we were doing was very wrong, and that I should make myself less attractive,” VV said.
“I should stop leading Brother Parker on, because it was a sin. He told me it was my fault, all the while he sat there sucking a cigar, blaming a child for being assaulted.”
He said boys were also sent out on picnics with a local photographer, who was known to abuse boys. Boys were also promised parcels of land by brothers who used the inducement to groom them.
When VV — an orphan in care since the age of four in England — arrived at Bindoon aged nine, he was the youngest there and below the 10-year age requirement for the school.
Soon after arriving, he was raped by Brother Christopher Angus.
He was also savagely beaten numerous times, and lost hearing in his left ear.
Meanwhile, VV’s mother tried repeatedly to find him in England.
“She was told I was put into a good home in Australia, that I was cared for and loved and that I would receive an education,” he said. “She never gave permission for me to go to Australia.”
VV never saw his mother again.
Years after he left Bindoon he was offered $20,000 compensation by the Catholic Church’s professional standards office, which later upped it to $40,000 when VV said he found it insulting.
During the two-week hearing, 11 men will give evidence of the abuse they suffered as children between 1947 and 1968 at four institutions run by the Christian Brothers in Bindoon, Tardun and Perth.
Orphans as young as seven were stalked at night and repeatedly assaulted by the Brothers.
When the boys spoke out, they were branded liars and abused again.
The hearing has heard that only four Christian Brothers had been charged with sexually assaulting children at the institutions, and of those, only one was jailed — for just three-and-a-half years.
John Wells told the commission it was a nightly occurrence for Brothers at the Clontarf school in Perth to take boys into their rooms. He said he felt ashamed about what had happened to him, has never been able to show affection and has battled alcoholism for decades.
Another man, Oliver Cosgrove, gave evidence that sexual abuse occurred in plain sight at Castledare school, but that no one said anything. He said the cost of the abuse had been enormous and he had since struggled with depression and PTSD.
One former resident at Bindoon cried as he recalled his years of sexual abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers.
John Hennessey, who was a child migrant from the United Kingdom, said he could not read parts of his statement aloud.
It detailed how he was raped and beaten by a number of Christian Brothers.
“I lived in constant terror of physical violence. Punishments, by way of floggings with canes and straps, were frequently carried out as a public spectacle,” he said.
“If they could not get us during the day, the Brothers would get you at night — there was no escape.
“Most of the Christian Brothers at Bindoon when I was there were paedophiles. The remainder were sadistic and violent brutes.”