In the late 1980s, when Lee and his brother were arguing aggressively, their mother decided enough was enough and called in a Catholic priest to help her teenaged sons resolve their issues.
Lee told the Commissioner, ‘when I was 13, my brother and I didn’t get along, we fought like cat and dog. The parish priest, Father Kilroy, came around two or three times with everyone there, so we could talk things over, and then there was the one time when he came and I was the only one home’.
Lee said when he and Father Kilroy entered the rumpus room, the priest asked Lee to sit on his knee, put his arms around Lee, and kissed him.
‘He pulled open my track pants and made a comment about my penis and pubic hair. I knew it was wrong, but I did enjoy what was happening, I suppose. I was a bit mixed up with my sexuality. He didn’t play with it, but I don’t know how far it would have gone if my father hadn’t come home then. Father Kilroy left straight away, and I burst into tears, I fell into Dad’s arms and told him what had happened.’
Lee recalled his father reported the abuse to the bishop straight away, and understands the bishop at first denied the abuse had happened, but later admitted it had. Within a few days, Father Kilroy moved away.
‘I told Mum what happened as well, and she stopped going to church for a long time. Mum and Dad sent me to the doctor to talk about my sexuality, and that was about it, it wasn’t really discussed again. The police weren’t involved at all.’
In the 2010s, Lee decided to report the abuse to police.
‘I did nothing up until 18 months ago, and it always kept resurfacing for some reason, it was still getting brought up and I needed to deal with it. The police told me they had 10 other complaints relating to Father Kilroy. It still hasn’t gone to court.’
The sexual abuse has affected Lee in a number of ways.
‘I was very distressed when it happened. I knew that I was gay, but coming from an Aussie family, it wasn’t really accepted back then. I’ve struggled in long-term relationships, trust is a big problem. I think a combination of the abuse and my sexuality, I didn’t deal with this there and then. Counselling has helped, and I am a lot better now.’