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A tale of abuse in Canberra

By 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.

    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.

What’s Your opinion?

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62 Responses to
A tale of abuse in Canberra
Pesty 1:46 pm 25 Jul 08

Best of luck with it mate. don’t worry about the catholic church, they can afford to pay-up. Screw the bastards for every cent you can, you DESERVE it!

Whatsup 1:27 pm 25 Jul 08

As a starting point someone needs to take responsibility for covering the costs of professional counseling and ensuring all the victims are supported. The school and catholic church are businesses, if injuries have occurred at the “workplace” then accountability should sit with them. I don’t know the legal side of this but there is a moral obligation that needs to be fulfilled at the least.

Doctor Evil 1:26 pm 25 Jul 08


The only thing I find harder to comprehend than your life story so far is the fact that someone could have a go at you about it.

Honestly, I don’t know what else to say except good luck mate, I hope you can get your life back on track and beat the bastards who did this to you…….

Mick1965 12:55 pm 25 Jul 08


Stop worrying about the school!

It’s not about them any more. They had their yime – and thos who worried about the school went a step further and justified covering this up for around 30 years! There are schools everywhere in Canberra and your priorities seem to need revisiting.

Schools are buildings – there are people, flesh and blood, and they are suffering.

Mick1965 12:49 pm 25 Jul 08


Thanks for your support. It’s critical that we do know there are people out there who do care. Sometimes the comments like Skid’s just throw me off and I wonder why the hell I bother. Then I read a few simple, genuine words from you and I feel better.

To the people of Canberra:

We do need your support, and we do need you to give voice to that support. I know that hundreds of people are sitting, reading this and you are too stunned to respond.

PLEASE – if you can show here your support – even if it is a few simple words like “we’re with you”, please come forward and post something.

Overwhelmingly, the main message I am getting here is “stop talking”, “that is not substantited”, “poor Marist/Daramalan” and a string of completely inappropriate, disgraceful and mean-spirited comments.

I call upon you to please balance these with what Canberrans actually feel about this true horror story. Not just what the “big mouthed smart arse” element want to contribute.

In other words – tie a yellow ribbon Canberra. Let us see if you are getting it, or if you think we have spilled our milk and should stop crying.

Skidbladnir 12:41 pm 25 Jul 08

CG, is that the ‘royal’ We, or a group of people you’re speaking for?
If the latter, you might actually be suprised.

I support the case from what I’ve heard, and claims of compensation for those who require it, but also recognise that a functional school still needs to come out of this, so don’t think that -everyone- has a claim to compensation until its proven or accepted.

But Catholic Insurance (the people who will be making the payout, I’d suggest) will be taking a far more conservative stance than even my first comment on this post.

Jem 11:53 am 25 Jul 08

Mick, I’m a newbie to commenting but I’ve been lurking around RA for a while now and have followed the threads on this topic. Just wanted to say I think you (as well as all the other victims and family) are incredibly brave for speaking up and coming forward. It breaks my heart and makes my blood boil at the thought of all you’ve been through at the hands of these monsters. Good luck to all of you!

Mick1965 11:43 am 25 Jul 08


You are welcome. It was about time. I really wanted to set straight the context of how that financial compensation can actually help victims. We don’t get a normal life, and I know a few Marist victims who have taken thier lives (how do we compensate them?).

I initially helped the inquiry but I was adamant I did not want any money in return because I felt it would cheapen my quest and bring into question my intentions. I eventuelly realised that there’s an enormous gap between what I should have been and what I am. This is also difficult to admit because I am a proud person and it’s almost like realising you are retarded….damaged and capable of less. It makes me feel that my best effort can only ever be a compromise, and that is awfully hard to cope with.

johnboy 11:27 am 25 Jul 08

Play the ball not the man please CG.

Mick1965 11:25 am 25 Jul 08


Thanks mate. It is good to have support, and (as I have stated previously) most of the support that has led to me being able to tell my story has come from the good folk here at Riot ACT. I must admit I might not be comfortable in a room with fellow victims yet, so the “anonymnity” (after telling my story half of Canberra will now know exactly who I am) helps.

Whatsup 11:21 am 25 Jul 08

Thanks for sharing your story. To be honest I don’t want to try and start to imagine what life has been like in your shoes. I can only hope you are given every opportunity to heal and grow into the person you have the potential to be. You’ve clearly shown courage and strength so far, may those attributes continue to serve you well.

Canberra Gardener 11:19 am 25 Jul 08

Skid – we always thought you were an idiot…….

……..and you just proved our point……Thanks.

Mick1965 11:13 am 25 Jul 08


Absolutely, I do mean “while the therapy is going on”.

The imbezzlement charge was thrown out of court because the judge ruled it was never a criminal matter. The judge stated in his summary that it was peculiar that the good sisters even tried to make it a criminal case, and outrageous that the police took it on.

It was concluded that what I did could be interpreted as silly or irresponsible (difficult this one – the funds I controlled were personal contributions from students and the cheques I wrote were for the students…..), but not criminal.

So no, it has nothing to do with these charges.

Good to see you focussed straight on the important stuff!

Skidbladnir 10:58 am 25 Jul 08

On the final line does he mean “while the therapy is going on”?
Otherwise it reads as if he should never need to work a day in his life because he was abused…

GAA = Graduate Administrative Assistant?
The ‘lower end of the public service scale’ in paragraph 14 may have something to do with the fact there’s a previous embezzlement charge (noted at the end of paragraph 9), which is not yet shown to be linked to the molestation.

Canberra Gardener 10:57 am 25 Jul 08

It takes courage…….to stand up and be counted.

Mick1965, please know we support you and your quest for peace.
We are all there beside you, and some of us have walked the same path.
What you say makes a lot of sense.

Keep up the hard work……I too hope it will mean something in the end.

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