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Adrian's story

It’s difficult for Adrian to remember which teacher started sexually abusing him first. In the mid-1970s, at the age of nine, two teachers from his Marist Brothers’ college took advantage of his parents’ trust in them at every opportunity available.

‘My parents were very much part of the Marist Brothers’ social circle, they volunteered at my school and both Brother Taggart and Brother McReeves were family friends. The Brothers would often join us on family holidays at different times.’

Adrian recalled being ‘touched’ during these trips and made to perform oral sex. He said the Brothers knew each other but abused him separately.

At one point, his parents invited Brother McReeves to live in the family home for about 18 months.

‘A lot of the abuse occurred as a result of that, and McReeves was abusing my younger … brother as well, though I didn’t know that at the time.’

The abuse continued until Adrian was about 14 years old. He told no one until he was 25, when he and his brother confided in each other.

‘It took about six years to go to the police … and I only went because my brother said I had to help him or otherwise he was going to commit suicide. We told our parents over dinner, and the next time I saw them was when I was on the stand in court five years later.

‘It took the police ages to bring charges, about four or five years, and I wasn’t allowed to communicate with my brother until it was over, so we couldn’t speak for years.’

Several others came forward to testify, and Adrian recalled two of them killing themselves during the course of the trial. He said Brothers McReeves and Taggart even attended one of the funerals.

Adrian said Brother Taggart admitted the abuse and received a two-year good behaviour bond, while Brother McReeves ‘fought it the whole way’, to receive nine years in jail. His sentence was reduced to four years on appeal, and Adrian said he effectively served two years in total.

‘When he was released, he must have applied to work in a school and the Marist Brothers rang me to say did I mind him working back in a school.’

Brother McReeves’ application was ultimately rejected.

When the court case concluded, Adrian sought compensation from the Catholic Church through its Towards Healing program.

‘They sent me to a psychiatrist of their choice to get assessed, farted around for a year and a half until my lawyer started legal proceedings and they settled out of court. They came up with $90,000 for my younger brother, and $75,000 for me, and we had to sign non-disclosures.’

From early adulthood, Adrian described battling alcohol addiction, spending time in psychiatric and detoxification wards, and having three marriages break down.

‘I’ve been diagnosed with post- traumatic stress disorder, I’ve seen psychiatrists and psychologists, but I chose alcohol and pot as my medication for about 15 years. My brother’s stuffed, he was on two bottles of scotch a day last time we spoke, I’m surprised he hasn’t killed himself, we don’t even know where he is.’

Adrian told of recently losing custody of his children.

‘The orders were all about alcohol. I went into detox because I went from drinking 10 beers a day to 30. I didn’t have any problems coming off the grog, no seizures, but I probably lasted five days on the outside before I was a blubbering mess. I’ve tried Alcoholics Anonymous, nothing’s worked.’

In the 2000s, Adrian asked the Marist Brothers for further help.

‘They wrote back saying they’d extinguished their responsibility with the payout. I truly believe they shouldn’t be allowed to limit their responsibility. I’ve had times like now when I’ve been unable to work and my sick leave’s run out. I asked them again just recently, rang head office and explained the situation because I’m out of money. This time they may come through with something. I don’t know.’

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