When he was growing up in the late 1970s, ‘a whole heap of Brothers’ used to come and visit Caden’s house in Melbourne. Brother Richard Maynard, who taught at Caden’s Catholic school, used to come over for dinner quite a bit. Caden’s parents were very involved with the Church, raising funds for various charities. When Caden went ‘a bit off the rails’ in Year 8, they were not impressed. Then, when his beloved dad died suddenly, Caden’s school work started to go downhill.
His mother encouraged him to spend time with Brother Maynard as a way of straightening him out. Caden looked up to Brother Maynard, who was ‘very funny, very charming’ and ‘always had his arm around me, cuddling me’. He lived with Maynard out at his property for a couple of weeks, where he helped him do work on his house.
Maynard introduced him to cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol. They’d sleep in a caravan on Maynard’s property. Caden would often wake up very late, in Maynard’s bed, with a sore bottom or a feeling that he needed to go to the toilet. Sleeping in was out of character for Caden. He was a hyperactive boy, normally, and it drove his mum mad. When Caden asked Maynard why he was in his bed, Maynard would say he had needed to shift Caden off his bed to access some stuff.
Caden believes that Maynard drugged him and sexually abused him as he slept. He can remember seeing Maynard add something to his coffee which wasn’t sugar but it didn’t register with him at the time that anything was wrong.
When they visited a friend of Maynard’s they both kept asking Caden if he was thirsty and wanted a drink. Eventually he did drink what they offered him. Later, he woke up groggy and sore in Maynard’s car as they were driving back to the caravan.
Maynard had a dark room on his property and one morning, after Caden woke very late, he went looking for him there. The door was locked, so he knocked. Maynard very angrily told him to wait. ‘Never, ever, was he angry with me – always kind and nice.’
He now believes that Maynard was developing photos of him that he’d taken the night before.
Caden’s school work didn’t improve and he left school at 14. By Caden’s second or third visit to the property, Brother Maynard had been removed from the Brothers and sent to various other schools. He was ‘sort of swapped around, always, more than five times, until he ended up stopping teaching’.
Years later Caden was talking to a friend about Richard Maynard. ‘Ring him’ she said and he did. Maynard told him he was now living as an openly gay man. ‘I’ve done some really bad things’, he said to Caden. ‘I was so scared.’
Caden reassured him it was fine to be gay, not understanding what Maynard was talking about. ‘From then, it went around my head and drove me nuts … and then I started remembering things … It all started to make sense.’
He continued to piece together his memories until he realised what Maynard had been doing to him out on the property. Caden didn’t disclose the abuse to his family but after talking to some trusted friends, he approached the school where Maynard had taught. The problem was that he couldn’t prove that sexual abuse had taken place. His solicitors tried to get his reports but the school claimed not to have them. Caden fell into a massive state of depression and tried to take his own life.
Caden underwent a long convalescence and finally disclosed the sexual abuse to his family. He encountered Richard Maynard again and this time he challenged him. ‘When I was a little kid … did you do things you shouldn’t have done?’ Maynard replied a bit too quickly. ‘“No, do you believe me?” I’ve never seen a lie come out of someone so quick in my life.’
He still ‘liaised’ with Maynard a bit after that encounter, but then shut it down.
Caden is leading a positive life now. ‘I’m not ashamed that that happened to me, because it wasn’t my fault’, he told the Commissioner.
Caden is still in the process of getting evidence together and has been told by a contact that Maynard sexually abused other boys from two different schools.
Focussing on everyday tasks helps Caden cope with the impact of the abuse on his life. ‘I am not who I should be, and I live with that. And it’s not fair.’ His close friends and family also give him strong support. He overcame a struggle with alcohol and has a job that gives back to the community.
As he left the Commission, Caden said, ‘I’ve got that gut feeling that good things are gonna come from this, not just for me but everyone’.