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Niall Greg's story

For six years in the 1980s, Niall attended a Marist Brothers college in regional Queensland. He loved being outdoors for some lessons, and was excited to be around his teacher, Brother Parker, who took his Year 5 class on trips whenever he got the chance.

Parker was popular with both teachers and students. He was a young man with a relaxed way of teaching, and was nowhere near as strict as the older Brothers on staff. He would often join in on his students’ conversations, and let them clean his fish tank.

One rainy day, Parker took Niall and his Year 5 classmates on a fishing trip. When they returned, he took the soaking wet students to the shower block and told them to clean themselves up. Niall said that Parker ‘would just ogle, just stand there and look. That was quite stressful’.

The fishing trips became regular events. Niall isn’t sure of the exact number of trips they went on, but he remembers that he always felt uncomfortable when Parker watched the boys afterwards in the shower.

Towards the end of Year 5, Parker sat Niall down at his desk, and had a long and uncomfortable conversation about girls, erections and masturbation. ‘It was totally inappropriate’, Niall said. ‘It appeared that everyone had to sit down at his desk … He had a pretext of talking about going into Year 6.’

Niall said that he was not physically touched by Parker, but he knew that the Brother had his ‘favourites’. In hindsight, Niall believes that two of his classmates were groomed and sexually abused by the Brother because their behaviour began to change dramatically half way through the school year.

When Niall started Year 6 he had no further contact with Parker. He thought about telling someone about the Brother’s behavior, but a fear of being disbelieved or getting into trouble stopped him. He did, however, later discover that Parker had moved to a parish overseas and been ordained as a Catholic priest.

Two other teachers at Niall’s school were also ‘well known’ for behaving inappropriately around the students.

At the gatherings he would host after sporting events, popular teacher Errol Jackson would walk around in his underpants, or show the boys pornography. ‘He said it was for sex education’, Niall recalled. ‘No one really knew what to say … We weren’t allowed to talk about it.’

Niall also remembered a classmate, Elliot Wilson, taking him aside and telling him that Jackson had tried to molest him as he drove him home from school. Elliot then told his mother who went straight up to the school. Jackson left the school soon after.

Another teacher, Walter Hancock, was ‘weird’ and known for ‘talking dirty’. Niall was taught by Hancock but was never touched by this man who was later convicted of child sexual abuse.

Niall said that the culture of the school ‘hushed up’ questionable behaviour and incidents. He and the others boys knew not to talk openly, otherwise they would be severely caned by the Brothers.

‘It was one of those things that everyone knew but you weren’t allowed to talk about it.’

Niall does not believe that his exposure to the offenders at his school has had any major impact upon his life. He has therefore not reported the men to police, the school or the Church, or sought any compensation.

Later in life, Niall learned that some of his classmates who had been ‘favourites’ of Parker and Jackson – including Elliot Wilson – had suicided. He found this extremely upsetting, and came to the Royal Commission to speak up for those who have passed away.

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