The 49-year-old father of three spoke angrily, detailing his horrible experiences at the hands of the Marist Brothers.

If I did believe, I would see God every day on the swings in the backyard, and in the bathtub 

 He said he had put his faith in the Marist Brothers three times, but each time had been betrayed. 

The first time was when he was a student at St Augustine’s College Cairns. He was abused by three different Marist brothers from when he was 11 in 1976. He was made to shower naked in front of Brother Leonidas. A brother who was supposed to be tending to his injured foot made him take his pants off and tried to masturbate him.

In 1981, Brother Ross Francis Murrin “put his hand down my pants, fondled my genitals and tried to kiss me”.  This hurt the most because he had turned to Brother Murrin “in my time of need and fear” and thought they were good friends. 

The witness known as DK told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he believes other brothers at the school and its principal Brother Gerald Burns knew of the abuse and condoned it.

“After the abuse by Brother Murrin, I received a number of floggings and was treated differently by the brothers. I remember being excluded from events and feeling like they were trying to get me to leave the school”, he testified. His grades suffered.

 His next betrayal was the Towards Healing process he went through in 2009-2010, DK said. He described it as a “sham” and said his mediation meeting was “aggressive and destructive”.

He said he only discovered the supposedly independent facilitator assigned to his case Michael Salmon was in fact the director of the Catholic Church’s NSW Professional Standards Office from the television some time later. DK received a payout of $88,000.

He has briefed lawyers on a civil claim.  The third betrayal revealed itself in his preparations for the Royal Commission when he saw “terribly hurtful” documents previously kept from him, DK said. He was disgusted to read how the Marist Brothers were preoccupied with potential legal liability but showed “complete lack of concern” for his well-being.

He “read and discovered things that are so morally repugnant” that he thought “those involved in the Towards Healing process I went through have totally lost their way”. 

After 37 years the “weight of the anger, hurt and pain is too much to carry” and “I need to forgive”, he said. Brother Alexis Turton agreed brought Mr Salmon in to facilitate at DK’s mediation, even though involving a PSO director was expressly against Towards Healing rules. He said it was an “oversight” and acknowledged the conflict of interest potential, but said he had informed DK of Mr Salmon’s job in the Catholic church. DK denies this, and likewise denies “absolutely” Mr Salmon’s similar claim that DK was informed of his church job before the mediation. 

Brother Murrin was convicted in 2008 and 2010 for child sexual abuse at schools at Daceyville and Campbelltown and is in gaol. DK said he had forgiven him.

The hearing continues.

@smharmitage