Marty was born into ‘a very strict and conservative Catholic family’ in the mid 1960s. He was a ‘shy’ and ‘needy’ boy who ‘didn't really know how to mix with others’. After attending a Catholic primary school in western Sydney, he attended a prestigious high school in Sydney run by the Christian Brothers.
‘He was such a sensitive young boy’, his mother Judith said. She worried ‘that he would be taken advantage of … And, as it turned out, he was’.
Marty joined the church choir, and became ‘quite friendly’ with Ed Daley, a priest Judith had asked to keep an eye on her son. During breaks from choir practice, rather than hang out with the other boys, Marty went to the presbytery to talk with him.
‘Eventually that led to him inviting me to sit on his lap’, Marty said. ‘It culminated in an afternoon where the housekeeper looked in the window of the door into the room, and saw me sitting on Daley's lap.
‘He took me down the corridor, down to the very back of the old presbytery … He started to hug me, and the hug became more intense, and then he sort of lifted up my face, and then just started kissing me and – yeah, the contact got quite heated. And then he sort of pushed me ... He said, “What are you doing? You know, you're making me all hot”.’
Father Daley left the school less than a year later. ‘Nobody knew why or where he had gone’, but Marty later learned that he had been moved on to ‘many parishes’, and had been named in a news report about paedophile priests.
At this school, Marty said that ‘it didn't seem to matter where I turned … there was always somebody wanting to introduce a sexual element into the activity’. After sport, Brother Kirk would ‘hose kids until they took their swimmers off’.
The ‘atmosphere’ and ‘certain behaviours’ among the acolytes in the choir were also ‘suspect’. Wary of ‘certain cliques’, Judith made sure she attended the masses her son would sing at. ‘We did fear Marty was in danger’, she said.
Marty said that ‘I suppose what I'm almost alleging is that there was a paedophile ring operating’. The ring extended out ‘to a much broader geographical area’, and included his former primary school, and the Marist Brothers high school where he studied for his HSC.
In Year 11, Marty’s childhood desire to join the order that ran his primary school was ‘reignited’, so he attended a weekly ‘vocations awareness group’ at the order’s monastery. However, the meetings became ‘undisciplined’. ‘Alcohol was available’, and questionable movies were shown.
At the order’s retreat house, Brother Ian ‘plied’ Marty with alcohol until Marty felt ‘really sick’. He told Marty to lie on his stomach, massaged him, and gradually took his clothes off. Marty remembers nothing after being ‘flipped’ onto his back, but has read church documents which state that the Brother admitted to sexually abusing him. The day after the incident, Ian pushed him away – just as Ed Daley had done five years earlier.
Undeterred, Marty entered the order before he turned 18. There he discovered a community as ‘suspect’ as the acolytes had been. Pretty soon, one of the order’s founders, Father Angus, invited him to his room.
‘If you were lonely or missing home, you'd get the cuddles and “Oh, I'm the mother and father you never had,” and language about “Don't worry because I'm here”.’
The ‘activity’ with Angus became ‘more intimate’, involved pornography, and lasted for a number of years. Marty got by with the help of alcohol until, one day, ‘the alarm went off’.
‘I'll never forget this’, Marty said. ‘He was all vested up, and he starts mass and it's, “Lord be with you”, and I just went, “I can't cope with this!”’
By this time, Marty could see that he had been groomed. ‘I believe that the grooming started way back when I was in Year 7, and was capitalised on, and it left me in no position to be able to turn anywhere’.
He could also see that ‘the same people just kept popping up’, and described this affiliation of religious men across Sydney as a ‘cross infection’. Towards the end of the 1980s, as the order was becoming ‘cultish’, Marty reported Angus to a senior Brother, and left.
Marty later provided a statement to a canon lawyer who conducted a confidential inquiry into the order in the 1990s. Marty also went through protracted criminal and civil cases which resulted in the imprisonment of Angus, and others, and took a fatal toll on his marriage.
When asked about the impact of the abuse, Marty fell silent, and let his mother speak for him. ‘Very, very depressed very often’, Judith said. ‘There were times that I was fearful for his life.’ She had ‘pleaded’ with the bishop to have Marty released from the confidentiality agreement attached to his compensation because he had become ‘so introverted he wouldn't talk about anything’, and clearly had ‘very deep-seated problems’. The release has not been granted.
Marty has re-opened his Towards Healing case, but is frustrated by their ‘secrecy’ and ‘lack of transparency’. Judith will be glad to see the process resolved so that her son can stop reliving his past and ‘get a life’.
Marty felt that ‘another dot’ in this whole connected cross-infection needed to be mentioned. ‘There are more than a couple of student suicides that have occurred over the years … kids that have been associated with the Brothers. To me that's the ultimate damage that could ever be done to somebody. It's just … it's got to stop.’