Story transcripts

Boystown: Update

Friday, November 16, 2012

Reporter: Michael Usher

Well, it has been a landmark week for victims of clergy abuse around Australia with the announcement of a Royal Commission into these crimes.

It's an incredible relief and vindication for victims - especially for the men we interviewed recently who suffered atrocious sexual and physical assault at Boystown in Queensland.

See the original story, Breaking the Silence, here.

View lawyer Jason Parkinson's online chat here.

Full transcript:

MICHAEL USHER: "How many of you were sexually assaulted at Boystown?” These men were barely teenagers when they were placed in the home for disadvantaged boys at Beaudesert, run by the Catholic De LaSalle brothers. As a result of their courage in speaking out, Queensland Police established a special Operation to pursue criminal charges against the Brothers, and separate legal action by the victims has become quite simply, enormous.

JASON: It is clear now without doubt Australia's largest child sexual abuse case. Um the numbers of men coming forward are in three figures and we're just still working through it, um but the atrocities that that ah I've heard firsthand are deplorable.

MICHAEL USHER: This ground-breaking case, and the Queensland Police action, will run parallel to the national Royal Commission.

JASON: This is an inquiry into organised crime…um, there is no more serious crime other than murder than the sexual molestation of a child. If that's not worthy of a Royal Commission I don't know what is.

MICHAEL USHER: Should the de la Salle order be extremely worried about this Royal Commission and what it means for what went on at Boystown?

JASON: Um I think there's a large number of de la Salle brothers who have having sleeplessness nights, just like their victims.

MICHAEL USHER: You've interviewed dozens of them now, how are these men?

JASON: They're, they're shattered. They're very brave men to come forward and I'm just glad they're going to get some help.

MICHAEL USHER: Since we last spoke, what more have you learned about the atrocities that went on at Boystown?

JASON: Um I have heard ah of men, sorry, fourteen year old boys being hit on the testicles with electric cattle prods. I just can't imagine things much worse than that.

MICHAEL USHER: Mal Burrows, knows their pain. He was brutalised by one Catholic Brother in particular at Boystown, when he was just 12 years old.

MAL: I was raped.

MICHAEL USHER: How many times do you think that you were raped?

MAL: To be honest, I don't know. Too many to count. Too many to remember.

MICHAEL USHER: That brother is still alive today. And finally, after all these years Mal feels like he might get some justice. But the biggest relief of all is simply that people are listening.

MAL: As a man, speaking about this is one of the hardest and most embarrassing things to reveal, and so the response has been very supporting. And I guess that helps us as individuals, people actually do listen to us. And hopefully now that we have the attention of the royal commission that's come forward these people cannot hide behind the cloaks any more.

MICHAEL USHER: It’s time for us to go, but waiting online tonight to answer your questions about our ongoing investigations into the Boystown abuse scandal and the newly announced Royal Commission into child abuse by the clergy is lawyer and former detective Jason Parkinson. Just go to our website and don’t forget you can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. That’s our program for tonight. We will be back next week at the usual time of 7.30pm with another edition of 60 Minutes. Thanks for your company. I'm Michael Usher. See you then.

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