‘I went to my first boys’ home for wagging school. Something I have to say that’s very important is, I had ADHD. Back then nobody knew what that was. As far as anyone was concerned, you were just bad, you know what I mean? And when I had the ADHD I wasn’t violent or anything, I just couldn’t stay still and I’d talk, and playing around I could never march properly, couldn’t make my bed properly. I put myself offside with a lot of people, like they had different ways of doing things to me.’
Cade’s first placement after his mother relinquished care of him was in a government-run boarding school in New South Wales. He was about 10 years old when he arrived in the late 1960s and while he was there he was sexually abused by a man who’d come to relieve the houseparents while they went on holiday.
After nine months, Cade was moved to another government-run boys’ home. He described being constantly terrified while he was there because his frequent punishments involved him being locked outside his cottage. His greatest fear was being left alone and he’d scream and bang on the door and try to force his way back in, and this often resulted in him being tied up outside.
Cade recalled telling two visiting religious Brothers, Peter and Julius, that he’d do anything not to be locked out of the cottage. They offered to spend more time with him and over a period of time gained his trust. They then began taking photos of him.
‘Mate listen, I was in the nude, they were in the nude. I’m not stupid as a kid. I’m asking questions, you know what I mean, about why is this taking so long or why do I got to do this? But the molesting weren’t like touching me or things like that. Watching, and they’re still in the nude and … they got these things on that priests do wear. They took photos and I asked about that and they were going to put it in the Bible and put it in a sacred place, and it went on for a while. Mate, this went on for six or seven months, you know what I mean? And they’ve got me three times a week.’
After he continued to get into trouble at the boys’ home, Cade was sent at 14 years of age to a training school for juvenile offenders. Upon his arrival, he was beaten up by a group of boys. It was common, he said, for officers and workers to get other boys to ‘more or less do the beatings’.
One day Cade absconded and was picked up by a staff member, Mr Bradham, who took him to his home and got him to do some work in his garden. Over a period of time, Bradham continued to take Cade to his home and make him strap him while he masturbated himself.
During one period of punishment, Cade was put in an isolation cell and while he was there, Bradham came in and raped him.
When Cade told his mother what had happened she confronted Bradham who denied everything and said that Cade was ‘the camp homosexual’ who’d ‘pulled stunts like this before’. No further action or investigation took place.
After leaving the training school, Cade said he ‘was gone’. He’d spent the intervening years in and out of jail for a variety of crimes. He’d used drugs and alcohol and had twice tried to end his own life. He had two children but didn’t like them, however he reported being a good grandfather.
Cade spoke to the Commissioner from jail and said that during his last period of release he’d ‘really tried’ to help himself. He’d seen a psychologist and a psychiatrist and taken prescribed medication, but it wasn’t long before he was back in jail.
‘I hate this jail, mate. I hate being in jail, institutionalised. I probably done things that put me back in jail. I want to know what it was all about mate. I really want to know what it was all about. I want to know, how did this happen? How did I not have a life, you know what I mean? I don’t blame the government. I don’t blame me parents. I don’t blame these pricks that done what they done. How did it happen, mate? It’s like I haven’t even had a life. Me life’s been a complete effing waste, mate …
‘Some of the things that I’ve done are deadset putrid. How did this happen? I was just a normal kid, mate. I never used to wreck other kids or beat them up or nothing. They sent me to a boys’ home and I turned into a raving lunatic. You know, I think that’s it mate. I keep on saying to meself, like I said to you – how come someone never said, “What’s wrong with this bloke? He’s been in boys’ homes all the time. There’s people coming to visit him all the time. He’s got parents, he’s got sisters, he’s got brothers”. What the effing hell is going on? Is everyone stupid, along with me?’