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Daryl Martin's story

Daryl grew up in the Hunter region, attending his local Catholic school. His dad was a hard worker who drank a lot, and his mum was the main parental caregiver.

In the 1970s, when Daryl was around 11 years old, he was sexually abused by his teacher, Mr Laws. He didn’t know at the time that Laws had previously been convicted of child sex offences.

‘The molestation comprised of fondling of my genitals. This would occur at front teacher's desk, while sitting in his lap. This occurred on at least two occasions that I can remember.’

Another boy in Daryl’s class disclosed that Laws had abused him too. This boy later said that he remembered having conversations with the other children about not going up to Daryl to ask questions.

At the time Daryl did not tell anyone about the abuse, as he was ‘a fairly timid child’ and did not want to cause trouble for family members employed by the Church. He first disclosed around a decade ago to his wife, and also told a former classmate around this time. Five years ago he informed his mother, who was ‘horrified’.

Daryl told the Commissioner that he felt guilty about not disclosing the abuse at the time, as he knows Laws went on to abuse other children.

‘l will always regret not coming forward back in the 80s and possibly stopping the abuse that occurred to other innocent children by this monster at other Catholic schools in the 80s and 90s.’

He has never reported the matter to police or the Church, and thinks Laws is now deceased. Knowing that Laws already had convictions for child sex offences at the time of the abuse is hard for Daryl to reconcile, and he wonders who allowed Laws to be employed at the school and why.

‘Going back now, thinking about it, it’s purely a violation of care ... that could have been prevented by checks and balances ... I suppose as it gets to the crux of it, they actually employed a known [offender]. That’s the thing I just cannot come to terms with. Simple as that ... I honestly believe that he was part of something bigger. I just can’t believe how he could be just a lone wolf in this whole thing ... I’d like to know what exactly they were doing.’

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