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Corey Michael's story

Corey doesn’t know the circumstances that led to him being placed in foster care in regional New South Wales in the early 1990s. ‘I’ve been in foster care since I was about a year old … and I don’t know how I ended up in that environment. I think my mother couldn’t look after me or something like that, but I couldn’t tell you much because nobody’s really ever told me.’

People often tell Corey that he should be grateful to have been in foster care and to have had a roof over his head, but he doesn’t think he should have been put in ‘that person’s care … because that woman … had a lot of kids taken off her when she was a mother earlier on in her life, because she wasn’t a suitable mother …

‘My foster father never hit me. I can’t say a bad word about him. I honestly can’t. It was my foster mum … For some reason, she just hated me. I don’t know why … She didn’t hate anyone else.’ Corey was physically and emotionally abused by his foster mother, and was often kicked out of his foster home. The first time he was kicked out was when he was about 10.

When his foster mother went to court to stop Corey’s birth mother gaining custody of him, Corey remembers being given ‘gifts all over the joint … just to say some things to the solicitor, and I felt good because I was getting gifts, you know …

‘As soon as all that was over and done with, it just went back to physical and probably like emotional … yelling and screaming and no matter what I did … it was the wrong thing … She just didn’t want me to be happy at all. So that’s how it felt as a kid …

‘I have no idea why [my foster mother] hated me, and that hurts heaps. Knowing what I know about that family, you know, their past and the sexual abuse that went on in there, I don’t know how DOCS could have ever put me in that care, to be honest.’

When Corey was about six or seven, he was sexually abused by one of his foster father’s granddaughters, who was about five or six years older than him. ‘It was her touching me, sucking my penis and she used to tell me to lick between her legs … She was only young herself … Maybe it happened to her.’

Corey told the Commissioner that he found out later that his foster mother’s adult son had been sexually abusing a number of young female relatives who lived in the foster home.

Corey enjoyed school, but he developed anger issues. ‘I was very aggressive towards other students and like swore a lot at the teacher and I was just very angry. I liked school. I’d rather go to school than stay at home. It was alright at school.’ Corey was suspended a number of times and was eventually asked to leave permanently in Year 11.

Corey moved away from the foster home, got a job and was enjoying life, but in the early 2010s, he began ‘on a downward spiral. Things went bad for me. I made ’em even worse for myself, and I committed a lot of offences, [some] sexual, but a lot were aggression …’ Corey is currently in jail awaiting sentencing for sexually abusing a number of young girls.

When Corey began having inappropriate thoughts, he never told anyone. ‘I hid it. And I think it just built up, built up, built up and yeah … [it probably] led to my offending now … If I hadn’t have come to jail, who knows that I would have done.’ Corey is now taking medication for anxiety and depression.

Corey told the Commissioner that courses for sex offenders in jail are not offered until near the end of the offender’s sentence, but he thinks they should be offered a lot earlier. He would like to get help as soon as he can.

If possible, Corey would like to just ‘do my time and get out and just do my own thing and find good honest people to be around and accept what I’ve done, and just have a wife and have a kid and just have a normal life instead of all this. That’d be ideal …’

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