Eric's story

Eric was serving as an altar boy in the Anglican Church near his home in regional New South Wales in the early 1960s when Reverend Randall started sexually abusing him. The priest also made Eric available to a paedophile ring operating out of an Anglican boys’ home in the area.

Eric told the Commissioner the abuse started when he was 10, and continued for four years until Randall moved to another parish. Eric suppressed memories of the abuse until the 2010s when media reports surfaced that Randall had been a serial child sexual abuser throughout his 40 years living in the area. By then, Randall had been dead for a few years.

Initially, Eric defended the priest against the allegations, until he heard his mother remark, ‘I wonder what the green walls in the rectory might know’. Eric said the reference to green walls caused a flood of memories, and he suddenly recalled being sexually abused by Randall in the rectory with green wallpaper. The abuse also occurred in many other locations.

Eric said when he travelled to outlying communities with Randall, ‘It was mainly oral sex. He liked oral sex once he dressed up. On camps and in his house it was full rape’.

As an altar boy, Eric always went back to the rectory after church services. ‘I was his “best boy”. He made me feel very special. He’d do a ritual which was supposed to make us feel God, because it was all about being able to touch God. He’d make cuts on my back so I’d bleed, then he’d smear the blood and have sex with me. Afterwards he’d clean me off. Mostly it was loving and gentle; other times he was aggressive and it was painful.’

One day, Randall drove Eric to a local Anglican boys’ home and left him with two men to be sexually abused. Trips to the home became a regular occurrence until Randall left the parish. The priest would drop Eric off or ring for one of the men to pick Eric up after church services.

On one occasion, he was taken to a campsite where there were a number of men and other boys. ‘There were 10 or 12 of them and they treated us like animals. I tried to escape in the bush, but they dragged me back. There were other boys they abused. I didn’t see them, but I heard them.’ Eric said he recognised one of the men in the group as a regular attendee at church.

Eventually, Eric said, Randall moved his attention from Eric to another boy who subsequently moved into the rectory to live.

Until Eric realised and disclosed the abuse, he thought there was something wrong with him and didn’t understand why. ‘I always felt like a fraud. I could never be alone with a group of men. I thought I was crazy.’

He required intensive psychiatric treatment and has been trying to manage the continuing memories and his distress ever since. He has been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder.

The Anglican Church initially met the cost of Eric’s treatment, but after several hospital admissions they baulked at covering further care, Eric said, because ‘they thought I wasn’t getting better’. Eric sought legal advice and the Church paid him around $450,000 plus costs about five years ago. He also reported the matter to police.

Eric didn’t want what happened to him to happen to anyone else. He said he was told by an Anglican Church representative that other boys who’d been sexually abused by Randall had suicided. ‘No one wants this to be true.’

‘Sexual abuse is like a bullet’s hit you. You don’t know what it’s hit or when it’s going to come out, but it will.’

He doesn’t know what his life would have been like without the abuse. ‘I just thought I could have spent all those years not being scared and not thinking there was something wrong with me. And now, it’s like every day it’s happening to me again.’

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