Lloyd Francis's story

Lloyd never met his mother, and when his alcoholic father was picked up by the police in the early 1960s, Lloyd and his siblings were placed under a care and protection order. Lloyd was about two months old when he was sent to a Catholic children’s home in Victoria. He spent 14 years in the home, followed by a year in a home run by the Christian Brothers.

At the first home, Lloyd ‘used to get belted every day … Most of us kids used to get belted … There’s a lot of stories, really … I was the worst one treated’. Sister Janine, the cottage carer, seemed to pick on Lloyd more than the other children and Lloyd remembers her telling him frightening stories about her childhood in Europe.

When Lloyd was seven, Father Kennedy was sitting outside one day, smoking a cigar. ‘I asked him for a couple of drags of his cigar and he gave it to me … Nothing happened that day, but that evening, Sister Janine said … “Father Kennedy wants you at his cottage”, and that’s when the sexual things started.’

Lloyd went inside the priest’s cottage. Father Kennedy was lying on the carpet and he lifted his robe ‘and showed me his willy. He said, “Lloyd, suck on this, like you sucked on the cigar”. So I tried three times and he’s, “No, no, no. that’s no good … Take your pants off and lay on the bed” …

‘I thought I was going to get the strap. Nuh uh. He put his dick up me and that flipping hurt, man … He said to me, “Jesus doesn’t like screamers, Lloyd. Or criers” … It kept going for a while … and he said, “If you tell anyone … God’s wrath will come down on you”. Even at seven, I knew what that meant and that scared me for a hell of a lot of years …’

Father Kennedy raped Lloyd several times a week for the next two years. Each time, the priest would tell Lloyd to ‘say three Hail Marys and three Our Fathers … That’s your punishment’. Lloyd thought to himself, ‘“Punishment for what?” I wasn’t even a naughty boy’.

The abuse only stopped because Father Kennedy died. Because of the priest’s threats, the first person Lloyd told about the sexual abuse was his sister, in the early 2010s.

When he was 14, Lloyd was living in the children’s home run by the Christian Brothers and one night a Brother woke him up and said, ‘“Your turn, Lloyd”. I didn’t know what he was saying. I [thought], “What am I going to get? A cake and a Coca Cola? What does he mean?”’

The Brother took Lloyd through a doorway, into the gymnasium, where he raped him. ‘I started yelling and swearing at him and that’s when he strapped me across the … face and when he was finished he said, “You can go back to bed now”.’

The small boy in the bed next to him asked what the mark on his face was and when Lloyd told him he had been in the gymnasium with the Brother, the boy said, “Oh, that happens here a lot”.’ When he mentioned the Brother and the gymnasium to an older boy a few days later, the older boy said, ‘Say no more’.

Lloyd was similarly abused by a second Brother during his year at the home. ‘You have to accept it. What else can you do … Are you going to run away? Where are you going to go?’

After the physical and sexual abuse he experienced at the two children’s homes, Lloyd ‘had a lot of anger. Frustration sometimes …’ He recalled that as a teenager, he became ‘angrier and angrier … Deep down inside of me, even what’s going on around me now … It’s just taken over me life’.

Lloyd was diagnosed with mental health issues when he was 18, after spending time in and out of a number of juvenile detention centres. He then spent the next 15 to 20 years in and out of jail, but it has been 20 years since his last incarceration. He now has significant physical disabilities, the result of drinking heavily since he was 15.

Because of his physical and mental health issues, Lloyd has been on a disability pension since he was 18, and now lives in supported accommodation.

Lloyd wanted to come to the Royal Commission, ‘to do something for the kids … because I don’t want them to go through what I went through … Most of the kids [were] scared like [I] was … It might not be as strong as what it was in those days, but speak out. You have to. Otherwise, it’s going to go on and on’.

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