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Fraser's story

‘Being fair-skinned we used to get taken away from our families. I just happened to be one of those people.

‘My mum had various men throughout my young life. She wasn’t allowed to have control of me, but she’d come and take me away. Whenever she found out where I was she would come and grab me. But generally, after a matter of months, the novelty’d wear off of having to bring up a child.’

In the late 1970s Fraser’s mother took him out of a foster home in New South Wales and they moved to South Australia. ‘About four, five months later it wore off again and she put me into care. And from there that’s basically where the dramatic nightmare started.’

Fraser was made a ward of the state at the age of nine and would be in care for almost a decade. ‘I didn’t stay in care all that time. I kept running away, purely because of these predators.’

He started getting into trouble and was put into a boys’ home in Adelaide. Fraser said the staff were kind, but they allowed the children to be taken on outings by men. ‘That’s where 90 per cent of the abuse happened.’

Fraser had a paper round after school, and one day he met a man, Nigel Webbes, who soon started giving him money and gifts.

‘At that time a newspaper was 25 cents. So when someone’s giving you five dollars and 10 dollars for a paper, a child automatically will hunt that person down every day.

‘A child doesn’t think they’re being groomed by people, they just think … this bloke cares about me, you know? So the guy knew exactly what he was up to.’

Fraser recalled that Webbes would come to his school, often dressed like a clergyman. ‘He’d actually put on a priest’s outfit to prey on kids. When you’re younger everyone thinks that a priest isn’t a threat. Anything but that.’

 

Fraser was sexually abused by Webbes and then by another man, Maurice Kretsch, who used to take him to Anglican church camps in the Adelaide Hills. ‘The camps basically were to prey on children’, Fraser said. In the years since he’s learnt that these men were part of a powerful paedophile ring.

He remembered being picked up in taxis and taken to private parties and gay beats.

 

‘I used to get drugged. I didn’t realise … they’d pick you up and you’d go for a drink or something to eat somewhere and then all of a sudden you’d wake up …

‘I was carted interstate, for fuck’s sake, as a kid by these people.’

Once, in a church, Fraser was raped so violently by a Catholic priest that he bled for three days.

After going through only part of his files, Fraser found more than 20 occasions when he was taken out of the home by the men. He tried to tell some of the staff what was happening but wasn’t believed.

‘So it never come out of my mouth again.

‘I did tell my mother when I was younger, but she was too drunk and drug-fucked to take any notice of anybody other than herself.

‘I sort of like blamed her for a long time but she was that young – she was 16 when she had me – she was only a young girl, not even old enough to have a child to be honest.’

The sexual abuse finally stopped when Fraser was in his early teens. He ran away and lived on the streets, using drugs and committing crimes to support his habit. He couldn’t read and write, and did the last few years of high school in jail.

For more than two decades Fraser tried to block out his memories but found a particular song or smell would instantly take him back. He admits that the abuse made him extremely homophobic, and he sees all clergymen as potential paedophiles.

In the early 90s Fraser met a senior member of the Catholic Church and told his story.

‘He said, “Oh, I can’t see that”, those were his words, you know. He just dismissed the statement. And normally a statement like that would shock somebody, but he didn’t waiver in the slightest. I told him the names of the priests, too.

‘He just brushed it off as if it was nothing, and passed me $20 with contempt.’

A few years ago, in prison, Fraser met a psychologist who he said ‘basically changed my life’. Perhaps most importantly, she helped him to understand that he wasn’t to blame for the abuse.

‘I had a hard time dealing with it initially because I let those things happen … [but] it was a way of surviving. I’ve got no shame in what happened to me. I was a child, I should’ve been protected, not preyed on.’

And that’s why he spoke to the Royal Commission. ‘That’s the main aim, that’s the main thing that you want done. It can’t keep going on. It wasn’t just me, there were so many kids. There are plenty of us who didn’t make it.’

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