A tale of abuse in Canberra

johnboy 25 July 2008 62

In the recent discussion on abuse at Daramalan Mick1965 made a lengthy post about his own experience.

I thought it deserved a wider readership than being buried in the comments, so here it is.

(Warning, not for the faint hearted)

    In Primary School (St Thomas Moore’s the St John Vianney’s) I was considered by many to be a child genius. I was miles ahead in language, maths and music and nobody understood how I learned…I just did and I blitzed everyone.

    I moved to Marist in Year 4 where I was exposed to the madness of Miss Nunn (an ex-nunn) who would make us (as punishment for putting our hands in our pockets) take off our pants in fromt of the classroom, turn them inside out and put them back on, then stand in a garbage bin for a whole day at times.

    I had a good Year 5.

    In Year 6 I was beaten by Brother Jerome who actually broke my fingers a few times. Regardless, I maintained a standard sufficient to receive an Excellence in Study Award at the end of the year.

    When I hit year 7, it all changed. I started being called into Kostka’s office regularly, where he abused me. I was vulnerable, and lonely at the time. This was the turning point of my life. This was the difference between a confident, well adjusted leader with a genius IQ and a pathetic bastard who turned to drugs and alcohol to forget and supress. My grades went from straight A+ to straight Fs. I became self abusive and angry, not trusting anyone (and this developed, at times, into full blown paranoia).

    I left Marist in year 8 and went to AME School where I was told I needed a “challenge” and teachers who really wanted me to learn gave me that challenge. I completed my Year 12 certificate requirements by the end of year 9.

    I took samples of my work to Darra and I was accepted into Year 11 in 1981, without having done a day of year 10 (ie I skipped a year of schooling).

    Of course I had really done all the work before at Darra so I could afford to be stoned and/or pissed for that two years, and still get a pretty good ASAT….but nothing like I could have had! I struggled with authority and the clergy at Darra and never connected why – but it’s clear now I was still badly damaged by Kostka (not just him but the others who stood by and allowed it to happen). At Darra I still showed some leadership and was Captain of the 3rd 15 Rugby team.

    I went on to Signadou – my inspiration was to be the super-guardian of all kids and assure nobody ever had to suffer injustice. I did manage to maintain good results academically, and I went on to be SRC President in my final year. I had such a problem with authority that I went ahead and had the Nunn who was chief administrator at Signadou replaced, knowing full well she would see to it I would never teach as a consequence of this. She gave me an additional going away persent too! The trearurer had resigned at half term and left me with the cheque book. Of course I wrote quite a few liberal cheques (strippers for a 21st, cases of booze etc) and of course the good sisters had me charged with imbezzlement.

    I ruined a perfectly good relationship with my soulmate – who I left so devastated that she hasn’t spoken to me for 20 years. She was pregnant with my first child whom she never allowed me to meet.

    I spent the following 10 years trying to kill myself with drugs and booze.

    Sure, there were other factors, but I believe I would have had a far better life if Kostka had not molested me in Year 7.

    The contrast between me before this happened, and after this happened is phenomenal and if I do manage to get financial compensation then it will only be the difference between what I could have been and what that monster turned me into.

    Right now I am still a walking irony. I am a GAA (class of 01) who is still struggling in the public service at the lower end of the scale and the two reasons I am struggling are:

    (1) authority issues;
    (2) paranoia.

    Why the hell wouldn’t I be entitled to some financial compensation? Hopefully just enough to get a good shrink and not have the additional stress of all this going on and having to turn up to work every day.

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62 Responses to A tale of abuse in Canberra
Wayne Mckenzie Wayne Mckenzie 11:27 am 15 Sep 17

Mick1965. I just worked out who you are. How are you mate. I thought I was the only one. Contact me on FB mate and we’ll catch up for a beer

41212048 41212048 4:17 pm 09 Jul 09

It must be noted that there are names of people on the list supplied by CHW that went to court and were proven innocent. This comment is not meant to offend, i understand that people on the list committed unforgivable crimes that ruined peoples lives. However I feel those people who have stood trial and been pronounced not guilty should not be portrayed as the same as the other ‘guilty’ parties.

Zilog Zilog 7:46 pm 30 Sep 08


Seems like Moses and his commandments appeared well down the line, thereby creating a convenient statute of limitations, so all of his predecessor’s filthy behaviour and beliefs are all OK; it won’t happen again!

Sound familiar?

So when Marist and Dara shaft you with a change of the ground rules, relax, they’re following yet another time-honoured biblical tradition.

“Oh but we’ve cleaned up our act now …… so that EXCUSES all that preceded.”

Neat, huh?

Zilog Zilog 10:21 am 25 Sep 08

Sick ’em, Mick! Go you good thing!

Me, I’ve come to the conclusion all Abrahamists are evil. Abraham was most likely Satan himself. Burning bushes and homicidal rages directed at his kids? What a F*CKING DERANGED PSYCHOTIC MAGGOT. What a role model for the church!

Humanity’s greatest need is for a time machine; to forwith go back and BUTCHER a babe named Abraham.

The churchies are natural-born perverts; it’s their creed. It’s all there in the first few pages of Genesis, Numbers, Deuteronomny, etc. (Who’s ever bothered to read that shit? Well maybe we should – therein may lie deep and profound understanding)

Turns out they’ve only been PRACTISING WHAT THEY PREACH; the whole “covenant” thing was just a ruse to cover institutionalised sex abuse.

From Abraham to Joshua to Jacob to THE WHOLE DAMNED LOT OF THEM, they all conveniently ignored a couple of poppy Moses’ commandments and, to a man, proceeded to rampantly fornicate with their wives, whores, daughters, half-sisters, step-children, anything-they-might-stick-their-cock-in. It was a GREAT JOKE, thoroughly enjoyed and passed from generation to generation. The tribes, man, it’s all about the TRIBES! (Read, ritualised, institutionalised incest.) All thoughtfully documented in a book. A second-millennia-BC equivalent of “The Joy of Incest”.

Let’s not even go near the thinking behind ritual genital mutilation, but you can probably see a thread here…


The mercy and the faith and the hope and the love were all CRAP. Just a FANCY COVER STORY to perpetuate opportunistic sexual abuse. As paractised today all over the god-lovin’ states! Just following Abraham’s fine example, man!

It’s all spelt out very plainly in THE GOOD OLD BOOK.

Any wonder the brothers bent over backwards to never go near the old book. It describes them to a tee. And how they understand that they may behave.

Mick1965 Mick1965 1:21 pm 27 Aug 08


AME was as bad as Marist because it too was extreme, but the “other” extreme. There were a few student/teacher episodes there too, but all were consentual.

Asbergers? Like Jerry Espenson in Boston Legal? Are you on crack?

I-filed I-filed 9:41 pm 24 Aug 08

It sounds as though the wonderful AME School is what rescued you. Amazing school. What a shame it only went to Year 10 or you may have recovered in time.
The higher-end-of-the-spectrum intelligence and “authority issues” and operating at a low level in the public service is very likely to be due to some form of Aspergers, though, Mick, rather than the abuse. It is very common for highly intelligent Aspies to be in junior roles.

stonefish stonefish 7:56 pm 24 Aug 08

CHW’s list contained so many mentions of “Hunters Hill” that I thought I’d try to set the record straight. Hunters Hill in Sydney for many years had 3 – yep – 3! – Marist schools. The most famous is St Joseph’s College – a secondary GPS school which is still there. Across Mark St, you had Villa Maria – A marist day school which went from 3rd class to 3rd form and which closed down as a boys school in 1966. THAT is where Brother Kostka taught. Thirdly you had Marist Sisters Woolwich which took boys from kindergarten to 3rd class. In 1966, Marist Sisters took over Villa Maria, and so far as I am aware, it remains a girl’s primary school today. So Marist Brothers teaching (etc) in Hunters Hill could mean Joeys, Villa Maria pre 1966 (a la Kostka) or maybe in some cases both.
You make me feel very lucky, CHW – I only ever met one of your “subjects” in the 12 years I was a Marist boy! And had no idea about him until lately!

Mick1965 Mick1965 2:27 pm 20 Aug 08

Hi CHW and welcome. Sorry – I missed your comments until now.

It is good that you feel free to comment here.

I am so sorry to hear about what Fr. Cusack did to you. I hope you are getting by and working towards healing.

Very valid points you made but I fear those who don’t get it will never get it!

Can you say your age and maybe give an overview of your life and where/how you feel the abuse altered things?

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 9:10 am 17 Aug 08

CHW – All very valid comments. The issue of the Towards Healing process is very worrying and this is something that Time For Healing ACT will be fighting strenuously. Feel free to contact us at TimeforhealingACT@gmail.com

CHW CHW 8:40 am 17 Aug 08

The Soul Of An Accountant

I certainly was left with the impression that the diocese of Goulburn and Canberra is far, far more concerned with looking good on the accounts sheets than providing any more than a meagre compensation to the victims of their paedophile religious and lay employees. For example: having provided a draught contract of agreement that included a clause agreeing that I had sought legal advice, they were shocked that the solicitors’ recommendations which I (as per the diocese’s own legal document stipulated) had sought were -that the sum the Towards Healing protocol offered was derisory! This was the advice of no fewer than THREE different solicitors, including two recommended by the Women’s Legal Service as particularly experienced in such cases (I had felt obliged to seek a second and then third opinion, just in case).

Especially galling is the realisation that i) the diocese cries poor, but claims such compensation payments from their insurance company; ii) the Papal City is not stripping any of its gilding to assist its victims, any more than it cashes in a single art work or property investment to support its poor and impoverished.

CHW CHW 8:33 am 17 Aug 08

Finding that there is more discussion around Canberran child sexual assault in Catholic schools in the seventies, eighties, and nineties, I was reassured to see public forums highlighting the revolting tactics the Catholic Church is using to sleaze out of its responsibilities.

In my opinion, there is a general misunderstanding of just how iniquitous it is to refuse to compensate the victims of the priests and other Church staff. It is difficult enough for victims to find the courage to live day to day, let alone confront the authority supposedly responsible for educating – and developing the potential of – its parishioners’ children.

When attending the parish primary school where I was educated (and where the priest was an importunate, persistent child-molester) a theme heavily emphasised was that of the dutiful parishioner’s obligation to improve on his/her innate resources, so as to return to God an increase or profit on the original ‘investment’. In fact the parable encapsulating this imperative refers to God providing one ‘talent’ to each of three participants – the most successful, and therefore the most worthy, returns three talents to God, having increased his stake through wise speculation in diverse ventures.

This parable had a heavy rotation on the sermon roster; it is cruel and demoralising to contrast this heavy emphasis on striving to achieve the best realisation of one’s potential, with the realisation that the priest sermonising was allowed to prey at will upon whichever little girls came within his reach with impunity, for at least two decades.

It is a legal fact that sexually abusing children cripples their potential to achieve socially, educationally, emotionally, relationally, and most legally relevant, financially. Unfortunately none of the immense damage is visible (to parents, family, loved ones, peers) as it would be if the damage was physically manifested: if, for instance, the victim of child sexual abuse was scarred visually – if they were missing a couple of limbs – then the failure to achieve would be instantly comprehensible.

This results in a child, adolescent, and then adult with a consciousness of having failed in all areas of life, and having no other explanation than that of personal inadequacy. To then burden a victim with having to pursue the Catholic Church for compensation is bizarrely inhumane. To realise that the church’s legal weasels are delaying resolution of these cases in order to advantage themselves of legislation that will ‘tidy up’ outstanding cases is just another contemptuous, degrading abuse of those who were child sacrifices to a seeming of respectability.

To those proponents of the view that such victims are holding the Church to ransom for injuries irrelevant to their lives today: if there were children who were systematically deprived of one or two limbs because the then guardian of their spiritual safety was covertly enamoured of amputations, would those children be expected to evince a ‘stiff upper lip’ and cope with their limbless state without anyone ever allowing them special consideration? Would they have to perform as their fully mobile peers do, without access to any mechanisms to ameliorate their handicap?

And once more: to those who wallow in blessed ignorance, and believe that we should focus on the good in our lives, not the bad: how else do you think we get through the episodes of depression we repeatedly suffer? The episodes where we contrast our desire to succeed and achieve, with our repeated failures to do so? The episodes where we flog ourselves for not rising above those abuses/abusers, for not proving our intrinsic worth to ourselves by forging ahead and fulfilling our potential??? We get through by grinding grimly forwards, finding beauty in small pleasures, by shutting away the bad stuff and just living in the moment (until our ability to function is impaired by automatic compartmentalising…)

CHW CHW 8:13 am 17 Aug 08

I have to say – Canberra Catholics need to acknowledge that those supposedly leading and protecting their diocese during the sixties and seventies were in actual fact sheltering more than one or two sexual predators. Those molesters of children were indeed given every opportunity to prove their lack of restraint: the attitude at the time amongst the administrators of the parish was demonstrably more concerned with allowing a paedophile to “redeem his soul”, than with protecting the children of the parishioners. This, of course, has proved to be the case throughout Australia; indeed, most of the church’s sexual predators have rotated through a number of parishes in their careers.

Before the Canberra courts at this time is a Marist Brother accused of sexaully assaulting young boys in his “care”; and recently, there have been settlements made regarding two other teachers at Catholic High Schools in Canberra. The primary concern of the Catholic Diocese would seem to be to deny that the hierarchy were aware of any activity by sexual predators in the diocese, at any time since its inception. With just the minimum of effort, I have come across five other predators who have had complaints made against them during the terms of their employment at Catholic Schools employed in Canberra by the diocese; with a total of eighteen Marist Brothers Australia-wide having had complaints made against them, with some complaints leading to prosecution and conviction.

And of course, there was my own abuser, Father Patrick Cusack, who was an incorrigible molester of little girls – his habits were so entrenched that it would appear he indulged himself with the majority of the little girls he had access to in his years as a man of the cloth.

Truly, it beggars belief when the current Bishop of the diocese, supposedly in a position (at least for some few years) to have known had complaints been made about Cusack, professes no knowledge of any such complaints. In all these Canberra cases, the official diocesean position has been that “they did not know”. Morally, surely sheer decency requires a more comprehensive survey than reliance upon one or two official’s recollection? By avoiding a more general inquiry as to any records, any where, of complaints (against priests, brothers, teachers, et al) at the time by children to any adults, the impression conveyed is once again of an attempt to divert and constrain possible compensation claims against the Diocese. For victims, the overwhelming impression is that the account spreadsheet is God, rather principles of compassion and decency.

Quite frankly, those who assisted paedophiles to avoid prosecution at the time – by adopting the attitude that it was a matter between the individual and his god – were themselves committing what is now an illegal act, and in any era their lack of action was a betrayal of those children they were supposedly protecting. The decent action would be to acknowledge that predators existed within the Canberra diocese, and at the time were assisted in their activities by their peers’ concealing those activities from not only general knowledge, but also the law of the land. To hand responsibility off by claiming no personal knowledge of a particular paedophiles’ predations is a weasel action, that damages the credibility of all those in office.

The Church, which professes to exist as an entity in some respects, adroitly sidesteps moral responsibility for the culture that allotted paedophiles their particular niche within its structure. The fact that those assaulted in Canberra before 1985 can no longer lodge cases against the individual responsible for assaulting them, is a quibble that today’s Catholic Administrators must rejoice in. Once again, what a moral and decent entity would see as iniquitous, the Catholic Church piously embraces as meet, just, and anyway out of their hands.

Inevitably, the impression generally is that the Catholic Church prefers to support the criminals over the victims. I have long believed that if an honourable attempt was made to ascertain the actual extent of sexual abuse within the Canberra diocese, and then to adequately compensate the victims according to realistic assessments of loss of earnings, superannuation, emotional damage etc, NOT what the parish accountant wants to pay – then yes, financially and morally it would make an impressive statement. It would finally remove the suspicion that somehow, by entering an order, or by accepting ordination, an individual was entitled to special considerations for the rest of their life – regardless of their criminality, and certainly over the considerations due to mere parishioners.

I would like to point out: crippling children by subjecting them to the predations of paedophiles has legally proven consequences to their ability to function as adults. Choosing to support the perpetrator of the abuse, by allowing them shelter and financing their legal teams, is commendable from a Christian perspective. It does, however, provide a sadly deficient contrast to the plight of the victims, who are surely more deserving of such strength of commitment from the Church.

For your Reference, I compiled this list, eighteen of whom were members of the order of the Marist Brothers, from the Broken Rites website; note the first five names on the list all worked in Canberra. Note also that this list contains two lay teachers, included because complaints were made of their conduct to the Marist Brothers running the schools at which they were teaching at the time of the assualts. Note further, that these teachers ( in common with the religious also named in the list) continued in their teaching positions at those schools subsequent to complaints being made about them.
Paul John Lyons: Canberra

Br Wayne Duncan: Hunters Hill, Parramatta, Lidcombe (all in Sydney), Ashgrove (Brisbane), Canberra.
Br Kostka: Canberra
Br Peter Spratt: Canberra.
Other Areas
Br Ross Murrin: Queanbeyan, Cairns, Brisbane, and (all in Sydney) Coogee, Parramatta, Campbelltown, Hunters Hill, Dundas, North Shore.
Br Greg Carter: Cairns.
Br Terry Gilsanen: Campbelltown.
Br Brian Robert Gordon: Dundas.
Phillip John Hardy: Eastwood (Sydney).
Br “Oswald” McNamara (Hugh Michael McNamara): Hunters Hill, Brisbane.
Br Terence Mulligan: Auburn Sydney.
Br Gregory Sutton: New South Wales.
Br Colgan Taylor: Central Queensland.
Br John Desmond Dyson: Kilmore, Central Victoria, Alice Springs.
Br Geoffrey Veness: Cairns.
Br David Christian: Perth.
Br Francis Hesford: Kilmore (Victoria).
Br “Nestor”(John Aloysius Littler): Westmead, Hunters Hill, Sydney.
Br Raymond Foster: Queensland and NSW.
Br “Edward”: Coogee.
Br “Norbert” Mathieson: Parramatta, Eastwood (in Sydney).
Br John Maguire: Hunters Hill
Br Malcolm Philip Stanley Hall: Warragul, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands.
Br Raymond Foster: Queensland, NSW.

dazednconfused1 dazednconfused1 10:13 pm 16 Aug 08

The thing about the topic of abuse is when certain people begin to claim that they represent the voice of all victims, how we all feel…people like Hetty Johnston for example. When you have been abused and when you see someone close to you who you find out has been offending well it completely messes with your head.

I feel there has been must more engaging comment here than from the public ranters.

One thing us survivors know is the signs if it is happening to someone else.

Chris Chris 6:32 pm 30 Jul 08

Mick, judging by your logon, I am about 10 years younger than you….that should give you an idea when I was at Dara

Mick1965 Mick1965 2:01 pm 30 Jul 08

Strangely enough Peter I was mates with a bloke a few years ago who turned out to be a molester and he was having intercourse with his own 5 year old daughter.

The really strange thing was my reaction. I didn’t have a clue how/what to feel. Other than the initial horror that I’d left my 3 year old twins at home in his care (only about 10 minutes thankfully). I guess I really wanted to know what the hell kind of pleasure an adult could get from hurting (in so many ways) an innocent like that.

I wondered whether to feel sympathy, hatred…..it was not nearly as clear cut as “let’s string him up!”.


So yes they are still out there and maybe if at her pre-school they taught ….something….it might have prevented at least the further times he did this.

Mick1965 Mick1965 1:55 pm 30 Jul 08


Teachers now days are warned to never keep back one child by themselves. They would also be discouraged from going away with them I’d say, even though I’m sure there are some great teachers out there you COULD trust your kids with.

Another important point I left out above is that nobody believes what you say about a priest/brother/nunn. Generally, until the recent admissions by the clergy, one would be afraid to suffer the humiliation of people saying “a priest would never do that!” and being punished instead of being heard.

I agree abusers would have a tougher time but it is my goal to see it’s damn near impossible for them.

peterh peterh 1:51 pm 30 Jul 08

sepi said :

Mick I’m sure abusers would have a much tougher time these days.

For starters the whole topic of abuse is much more openly spoken about. I think in the past people said nothing as they couldn’t really imagine/believe that others would sexually abuse little kids. For people that aren’t attracted to kids it just seems incomprehensible.

don’t believe it for a moment. I have a friend (yes, its true) who found out her daughter was being abused by her husband. this guy was a bit weird in college, i didn’t know how weird, though. apparently, he had been engaging in this kind of thing for years. He isn’t allowed access to his daughter now, but has shacked up with a new woman with 3 little kids.

She won’t believe a bar of it. I am friends with her too, and have told her to teach the kids to tell her the moment anything happens. “if xxxxx touches you here or here, you are to tell mummy right away. scream if you have to.” She has done so, but still doesn’t believe that he is the monster we say he is.

At least her kids have some sort of chance, now. Personally, if he was found to have a history of this kind of behaviour, it wouldn’t be a second opportunity for him, just chemical castration.

sepi sepi 1:18 pm 30 Jul 08

Mick I’m sure abusers would have a much tougher time these days.

For starters the whole topic of abuse is much more openly spoken about. I think in the past people said nothing as they couldn’t really imagine/believe that others would sexually abuse little kids. For people that aren’t attracted to kids it just seems incomprehensible.

And also people would probably take more notice of a teacher inviting kids to their place etc.

Although – I did go on a coast camp with a teacher and about 5 other students – and I remember there were a lot of hiking type trips too with only one teacher. I wonder if those type of activities have had to cease now that teachers have to remain at arms length from students at all times.

– on the point of damaging the legal case by posting here, I dont’ really understand the problem – can someone spell it out to me? Is it just a concern about pre-empting the case, or giving the defence a warnign of what you’re going to say??

Beserk Warrior Beserk Warrior 12:55 pm 30 Jul 08

Thanks Mick.

Mick1965 Mick1965 12:10 pm 30 Jul 08

Fellas – factual scrutiny is something I am not afraid of. There is documentation of everything I have said and there are multiple witnesses.

I see your concern, but frankly I don’t have a worry.

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