Maynard was more than ready to tell his story to the Commission. ‘I’ll get up in front of the world. I don’t care.’ He was a smart boy but was labelled a troublemaker by the different state-run and Catholic homes in Queensland and New South Wales he was sent to in the 1970s. He’d been put into care at the age of 10 by his Catholic family.
‘The trials and tribulations of your life determine the outcome of your character’, Maynard said. When he was young he was a good boy, before it all went wrong. ‘I was an altar boy, for fuck’s sake.’
But once he was in care, Maynard was bounced from home to home because he was ‘too full on’. By the time he was 13, welfare services were keen to find a place where he could finish his education.
His probation officer asked ‘How’d you like to go to BoysTown?’ Maynard thought it sounded good, like a town for boys.
On his first night there he was woken up and hit across the face by the two house captains. They dragged him out of bed and took him to Brother Vincent, the cottage head, who was waiting for him. ‘He just started flogging me with his fuckin’ straps, man.’ Straps that were weighted down with metal.
It was the first of a few hundred floggings that Maynard endured from Vincent during his two years at BoysTown. Once he was flogged 38 times in a row. He was so badly bruised he wasn’t able to go home for the weekend because the welts were so visible.
Brother James, who gave the boys lollies and tobacco, was ‘a rampant paedophile’ who used to masturbate openly. He’d do it as he watched the kids playing football. ‘He kept going. He didn’t care.’
But Maynard had to smile and be nice to him, because he controlled the boys’ money. It was Brother James who drove some of the boys to work at a piggery outside BoysTown. He would make them work in their underpants, with the excuse that he did not want the boys to get his car dirty. He’d watch the boys work through holes in the pigpen wall.
‘I hate organised religion. I think it’s organised paedophilia. Or it’s organised crime.’
How did the Brothers get away with it? ‘It was just well established man. That’s what they did.’ They just saw the kids as sexual objects, Maynard said. He had a list of all the Brothers who sexually abused him, or tried to.
Maynard hid the abuse from his parents. When he needed multiple visits to the dentist, as a result of what the Brothers did to him, his mum was mystified.
Maynard saw the aftermath of boys who’d been raped by another Brother – Brother Jeremy. ‘I seen the kids wetting beds in the morning, the kids that had committed suicide … We knew the ones he was fucking raping ... Everyone knew that.’
The boys were asked during confession about their sexual thoughts and whether they masturbated. ‘Everywhere. It was all to do with that … The daily grind was sex, mate.’
Maynard’s furious at the injustice he saw in BoysTown. ‘You see all the billions of dollars they make. I mean, we were getting boiled rice there at one fuckin’ stage, man.’
A doctor who was treating him for a minor injury asked where Maynard was from. When he heard he was from BoysTown the doctor said ‘Better leave him here for a few days’.
Maynard would escape whenever a home was ‘doing shit’ to him and he did a runner three times from BoysTown. When he got arrested for committing crimes, he was sent to a different state and on to other homes. At 17, he was put in prison.
He scorned the idea of reporting the sexual abuse to police. ‘They’d just say “You’re just causing problems ... You just shut your fuckin mouth, man”.’
Maynard would never see a counsellor when he was in prison because he didn’t want to be put on drugs. But he’s well aware that he’s been sexually and emotionally affected by his time in care and not just in BoysTown. He was sexually abused by a nurse in a state-run detention centre, which affected him deeply as well. He drank when he was younger but now he just self-medicates with pot.
He had a one-word recommendation for the Commission.
‘Accountability … So then in the future, people are saying, ‘‘I can’t do that shit. If I do that to some kid, in 20 years’ time they might get me for it” … No one who is denying themselves sex should be allowed to even work with children.’