Lucian still vividly recalls the taste of Brother Clarence’s mouth. ‘I can still recall the sensations of his wet lips and fat tongue pushing into my mouth. It repulsed me then and still does now.’
The Tasmanian Catholic school Lucian attended in the 1970s was run by the Christian Brothers. He was an intelligent, well-liked and well-behaved boy with a strong faith in the Church and his school. Brother Clarence taught him for several classes a week, and Lucian believes ‘used to give me more time and advice above other students’.
When Lucian was 12 years old the Brother began sexually abusing him in class. ‘Brother Clarence would put his hand on my thighs and stroke my legs … He would be rubbing up and down my thighs with his hand, including my inner thighs and my buttocks. I never saw him do this to other students but I am sure they would have had to have seen him do this to me.’
During cricket practice the Brother ‘would stand behind me showing me how to play shots, but in reality he would be grinding his penis into my behind and back. At this time I had no idea of what was going on. I was confused, I was just starting to reach puberty and came from a family where nothing like this was ever discussed’.
One day Lucian was kept back after class, and Brother Clarence ‘tells me we could be friends and that he can help me with my schoolwork and cricket, and asks me if I would like that. I respond, “Yes”. And then he backs me back into the library corner and starts to fondle me and kissing me on the mouth, sticking his tongue in my mouth, groping my privates’.
Brother Clarence abused him this way many other times, ‘telling me it’s alright and natural, that I’m special’. Lucian tried to avoid him at school when he could, but still had to face him at cricket. One time after training Lucian was putting the equipment away in the storeroom. The Brother blocked him from leaving and pinned him down. Then he raped him, ‘talking dirty, telling me he loves me, I’m his special boy’.
Bleeding and in pain, Lucian was left to clean himself up while Brother Clarence left without another word. The next day, the Brother tried to rape him again after class, but this time Lucian managed to fight back and escape.
Lucian told his grandfather about the kissing at the time, and was believed. He thinks that his grandfather then reported it to the school, but there didn’t seem to be any action taken against Brother Clarence. In fact, Lucian seemed to be treated like a ‘black sheep, avoided, pushed aside’ by other Brothers after this, so assumes they all knew he had disclosed.
He never reported the rape to his family. ‘It was always in the back of my head what had happened. I didn’t know if it was my fault, whether I’d sinned. I didn’t understand about paedophiles, anything like this.’
Although the abuse had stopped after two terms, Lucian lived in fear for years, ‘and people picked up on it. I was bullied’. Schooldays became a blur and he couldn’t learn anything, so his grades plummeted.
Lucian left school as ‘a lost adolescent’ before he had completed his studies. ‘I had great plans and dreams for my future, and that’s what was stolen from me. And it’s now I realise the gravity of it.’ He is angry that his grandparents worked hard to send him to the school, and he never received the good education they had paid for.
Lucian began drinking in his 20s, and the next decade was extremely difficult. He rebelled ‘against all forms of authority’ and engaged in risk-taking behaviours. ‘I was just beating myself up … I was just pushing too hard trying to clear the devils out of my mind.’
In his 30s he reached breaking point. ‘I’ve always had high goals, I’ve always been good at things … I just looked at my life, looked at my drinking, looked at what I was doing, realised that the friends that I had probably aren’t the best … that my life was completely geared around this culture of drinking, being at the pub, beating myself up about what happened … It was just time to “Get on with it Lucian”, to put all this behind me, and “Lift your game. Stand on your own two feet, mate” … From then on, I wanted every day to accomplish something’.
Lucian reached out to a man he knew from his childhood in the church. This man became his mentor, and was the first person he fully confided in about the abuse.
Fifteen years ago Lucian met his wife, and they now have children. ‘She was beautiful … We fell in love, we married, and we’ve lasted the distance.’ He learned a trade too, and is now very successful in his own business.
Lucian has since provided a statement to police, who treated him well during this process. As Brother Clarence is now deceased this report was made for intelligence purposes only.
Recently Lucian has been in contact with a legal firm regarding recognition and compensation from the Church.
‘That’s a big step, that they acknowledge it and they apologise for what happened … Because it seems from my point of view that they’re fighting you, and they’re saying that it never happened … They’re accusing me of lying, all the victims, and the whole lot. Why is it so hard?’