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Kristopher's story

Kristopher spent two years as a boarder at a Catholic-run college in rural Queensland during the early 1990s.

Mr Morgan was a teacher and dormitory master, who was very friendly with the boys and well-liked by them. He invited boys to his house, which was just opposite the school, and gave them alcohol.

Kristopher thinks Mr Morgan must have been drugging the alcohol because he would have one beer and pass out on the couch.

‘I woke up one time to find him masturbating himself and no pants on. I don’t know what happened to me. I took off out of there.’

Kristopher said the incident had made him think of another time in the dorms.

‘I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I’d had a wet dream … I thought that’s all it was so I started to go back to sleep and then I could feel someone’s hand and I sat up – they were hiding behind a locker – I sat up and I punched them in the face with the back of my fist.’

He told the Commissioner he chased the person outside but they got away. The next day he saw Morgan had a black eye and asked him how he’d got it, and Morgan said it was from playing football.

Because of this Kristopher suspected it was Morgan who had abused him in the dormitory but he couldn’t prove it.

Not long after, Kristopher moved beds and a friend moved into his old bed. The next morning his friend had gone, and Kristopher was told his friend’s father had taken him out of the school. Soon after Morgan disappeared from the school too.

‘I don’t think anything was said until after he disappeared and then it started coming out that he was asked to leave the school several years earlier but we didn’t know what for.’

Kristopher didn’t tell his parents, partly because his father was under severe financial stress at the time, but also because of two previous experiences.

He had been abused by babysitters when he was about six or seven. After he told his mother she reported it to the police. It happened again, and she reported it to police again, but on both occasions the police dismissed it because Kristopher was underage.

‘I told one friend about the incident that happened in the dormitory but I never ever mentioned the house because I just thought no one’s ever going to believe me. In the past experiences nothing ever happened.’

He said he just wanted out of the school and tried to get expelled. At one point drugs were found in his locker and when he asked to be expelled, the school wouldn’t do it.

Kristopher said the incidents when he was younger had left him with absolutely no faith in the justice system or the police and he was very confused by what happened at the school. He started getting into drugs, then stealing, and then selling drugs.

‘My first ever charge was trafficking, I got a suspended term for that. I could never hold a job because of my drugs. It just snowballed to the point where I tried to kill myself several times.’

Kristopher has ended up spending much of his adult life in jail, and is currently serving a 15-year sentence for a violent crime. He said the only time he got any help was when he was in jail but the courses he did were badly run and didn’t deal with any of the trauma he’d experienced.

In 2008, after his father had died, Kristopher told his father’s de-facto about the abuse and she helped him start the Towards Healing process. He said the Church stuffed him around so he engaged a no-win-no-pay lawyer and spent the next four years pursuing his case.

Kristopher found out there was an internal investigation into the school which proved the principal had known what was going on, and which revealed cases of drugs being planted in boys’ lockers. He thinks the technique was used as a means to get boys to submit to abuse, but because he wanted to be expelled it didn’t work on him. The report also said several other boys had reported Morgan, and that Morgan had fled the country.

Kristopher’s lawyers reached an out-of-court settlement with the Church and Kristopher was paid $70,000. Out of that, the public trustee paid $55,000 to the victim of Kristopher’s own crime, and after legal fees and charges Kristopher was left with about $1,500.

None of this has restored his faith in the authorities.

‘To pay victim money with victim money, it’s just wrong,’ he said.

Kristopher has had to spend periods of time in detention with convicted rapists and paedophiles. It’s given him a very particular view on the criminal justice system, which he believes has got the sentencing laws wrong, with sex offenders often receiving shorter sentences than people jailed for other crimes.

‘This person’s given people drugs by that person’s own choice or underlying choices, but that child that has been affected for their life hasn’t had a choice’, he said. ‘They’re animals and they should stay where they belong – in a hole with no lights on.’

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