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Lachy Joe's story

‘Everyone has this idea that females are the responsible parent, what a load crap. My mother was a fucking idiot. She was incapable of looking after kids.’

Lachy hates the fact that his mother voluntarily made him and his siblings wards of the state. For the first five years of his life, he was moved around several children’s homes, foster placements and in and out of his mother’s home in Queensland.

In the mid-1970s when he was five, Lachy was in his mother’s care in the home he shared with her, his siblings and his step-father, Gavin. Gavin regularly invited his male friends over and they’d drink together. Lachy said whenever this happened, he was sexually abused by Gavin as well as most of his friends.

‘There was a shit load of alcohol and a shit load of drugs … Mum’d go to bed. We’d go to bed and he’d come join us.’

Lachy wasn’t sure how many times he was abused in this way. He is certain that his siblings were also abused when they were living with their mother. He ran away many times from the age of six but he was always returned. He was taken to the welfare department several times by the police and tried to tell them what was happening.

‘I’d run away, go to the Department of Family Services and tell them what’s going on. “You’re lying, you’re lying, you’re lying.” Straight back to Mum and step-dad.’

One of Gavin’s friends was eventually charged and prosecuted for sexually abusing Lachy and his siblings. Lachy gave evidence in court and the perpetrator was sentenced to two-years in custody.

When he was seven, Lachy was removed from his mother’s home and put into foster care. He moved between several foster placements before being placed with Mr and Mrs Camilla. He liked it there and described it as the most stable home he’d been in. However, when his mother applied to have him returned, he was sent back and continued to be abused by his step-father.

‘My parents fucked me and they put me in the government services and the government services fucked me even worse than my parents because they believed my parents. They put me back with that shit.’

In the mid-1980s when he was 12, Lachy was placed in a De La Salle boys’ home in a different town. He believes this happened because he ran away from home and was deemed uncontrollable. He wasn’t happy there – the education was bad and the other residents were awful. He absconded more times than he can remember, and was physically abused by the Brothers so often that he gave up trying to do anything.

‘I couldn’t turn left without getting in the bleed. Couldn’t turn right without getting in the bleed. I’d try and do the right thing, someone’d turn around say I’d [done something] and get in the shit for it.’

At one stage Lachy was put into a cottage with several other boys. It was supervised by Brother Cedric who was notorious for getting into bed with boys and groping them in public. Lachy was abused by Cedric on his second day. For about 18 months the abuse continued with Cedric coming to his bed and fondling him after lights out. Eventually Lachy was moved to a different cottage. He didn’t ever tell anyone about the abuse.

Lachy was 15 when he was discharged from the home. He became involved in crime and spent most of his late teens and early twenties in and out of jail. He has spent many years abusing alcohol and has struggled with drug addiction.

‘I’m very dumbfounded I survived to hit 18 and 20 years old. I didn’t think I was going to make it.’

Since the late 1990s, Lachy has steered clear of drugs and alcohol. He’s no longer committing crime, but struggles with anger management and finds it hard to relate to people and maintain friendships and relationships. He is a loner and prefers to be isolated from others because people agitate him.

Lachy eventually reconnected with his mother after Gavin had long since left, but it was difficult to reconcile because he remained angry that his mother had neglected him.

‘I’m fucked up, the way I look at things is not normal … I had no guidance when I [needed it].’

It took Lachy many years to disclose the details of his abuse. He participated in the Queensland redress scheme and received $13,000 compensation. He also made a civil claim against the Queensland government after which he received $110,000. The apology he’d wanted from the De La Salle Brothers wasn’t forthcoming.

At the time of his private session, Lachy had engaged lawyers with a view to making a claim against the De La Salle Brothers. He’d reported the men who’d abused him to police but nothing had yet come of this.

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