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Kyle Adam's story

Kyle was only a few months old when he and his brothers were placed in care in the late 1960s. He believes that his parents just couldn’t afford to keep their large number of children.

The boys were sent to a Catholic orphanage, then another run by the Christian Brothers. The authorities wanted to keep them all together, so even though Kyle was too young for the second orphanage he was sent there with his older siblings and kept in the infirmary. At the age of five he moved into the main dormitory.

Brother Steven, who was in charge of the dormitory, soon began sexually abusing Kyle. The Brother ‘had a private room right at the end of the dormitory and he had a seat outside … so we’d sit outside the dormitory … [He would be] masturbating him and me … No one else could see because it was all dark.’

This abuse occurred regularly until Kyle left the orphanage when he was 10.

Kyle attended primary school near the orphanage and was sexually abused by Father Williams, a priest who worked there. The abuse continued for about 18 months, until Kyle left the school.

When he was 12 and back living with his parents, Kyle arrived home one day and was told that he was going on a skiing trip with Father Williams. Instead of a trip to the snow, Father Williams drove him to a farm, where he and Kyle had dinner with the young couple who lived there.

Kyle and Father Williams stayed in a caravan in the back paddock, and this was where Kyle was horrifically abused for three days. Kyle believes that his mother somehow realised what had happened, because once he returned home the abuse stopped.

In the 2000s police approached Kyle and told him that his brothers had reported Brother Steven for sexually abusing them at the orphanage. Until then, he had been unaware that they had been abused by the Brother.

Brother Steven pled guilty to a minimal number of charges, and was sentenced to a short term in jail. When Kyle then tried to report Father Williams for sexually abusing him, he was told that the priest had died.

Kyle was accompanied to his session at the Royal Commission by his long-term friend and mentor, Bruce, a businessman who persuaded Kyle to complete his schooling in return for the offer of a job. Bruce told the Commissioner that there was a time when Kyle’s alcoholism was taking over, and he just had to walk away. He knew that until Kyle reached rock bottom, there was nothing he could do.

‘After the court case, I went home and tried to kill myself for eight years … I just tried to drink myself to death, trying to forget about things, until eight years ago … [I] met a decent doctor, had me on a lot of medication for a long time, but I’ve seemed to have held together for the last eight years.’

Kyle was diagnosed with serious mental health issues, but now that he is taking medication and has stopped drinking, he is doing a little better.

‘I’m finally strong. See, normal life, this is all easy because you only remember a little bit at a time and that’s very easy. But sitting in here with you today, and then saying the whole lot and then me listening to myself, it’s a lot different, so that’s how I’ve been able to get through. You can think about it a little bit, but … when we put both priests and Brothers together, in this room, it does upset me a lot.’

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