Fabien's story

Fabien was born in the early 1960s. He told the Commissioner that his father was violent and abused alcohol, and that when Fabien was four, his father turned him, his mother and his siblings out of the house.

Fabien and his siblings were made wards of the state and sent to institutions. Fabien went to a Catholic boys’ home run by the Salesians of Don Bosco. He was very young for that institution, which was intended for adolescent boys, but he was placed there because his two older brothers were there.

Fabien told the Commissioner that the sexual abuse started when he was about six or seven. Father Roberts was the headmaster and later the rector. Roberts lured Fabien into his office with lollies and chocolates. Roberts put Fabien on his lap, pulled down his pants and raped him.

Fabien said, ‘I can still smell – I can still feel his breath on the back of my neck, holding me down, I can still hear him grunting. He told me it was normal. I couldn’t break free – I tried. It hurt – it hurt so much. I still feel the pain. This went on for a while. Then he sent me to the dormitory’.

‘Roberts said that if I told anybody, he’d take my brothers away … and I would never see my brothers again.’

Another boy who was a victim of Roberts’s abuse later killed himself. Fabien says that there was at least one Brother who must have known what was going on. Several times he ran away from the home and told the police, but each time he was taken back. Once, he told a priest in confession and suffered a beating so he didn’t tell anyone else after that.

He only saw his mother twice during the 10 years he was there and government welfare officials didn’t visit him. He said ‘the priests had total control of my life’.

Fabien was also sexually abused on a frequent basis by a Brother at the home.

At 15, Fabien ran away to live with his father. He said, ‘I told my father what the priests did to me, and why didn’t he come and see me? He laughed, so I burnt his house down, and overdosed on his medication and was in a coma in hospital. I survived’.

Fabien ended up on the streets, stealing money for drugs. He attempted to kill himself many times, and used drugs and alcohol, ‘anything to stop me dreaming’.

Much later in his life, Fabien told his wife about the abuse. She said that it explained his erratic behaviour over the years.

Fabien has been given compensation of $75,000 for the abuse by the Brother, who has been jailed.

He was hurt to find out that a section of the home had been named after Roberts, who had died. Fabien said, ‘Any plaques and statues or memorabilia that involve any of these sexual abusers that are found guilty should be removed and destroyed’.

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