‘This is the first chance I’ve ever had to talk to anyone after all these years.’
Quenton’s parents got divorced in the 1940s when he was ‘very little’. His mother re-married shortly afterwards and her new husband didn’t want him around so he was put into care. She never came to visit him.
He was sent to a Catholic orphanage in a regional town in Victoria, and stayed there until he was 15. Physical punishments were frequent and ‘you only had to look the wrong way and you’d cop it’. The neglect and abuse caused him to run away a few times. Once he was locked up in a room for a week after being returned by the police.
When Quenton was 13 he witnessed a staff member, Mr Berger, raping another boy.
‘I didn’t know what he was doing, but I knew it was wrong. That stuck with me for years.’
He reported what he had seen to the orphanage’s matron. She alerted the police and ‘next thing’ he knew Berger was in jail.
A couple of years later Quenton was sent to work at a Catholic seminary in another town. He lived in the shed on the grounds, away from those ‘studying priesthood’.
During the day Quenton did hard labour on the property while the other residents ‘went to college’. This gave a priest called Father Angleton an opportunity to sexually abuse him several times over a two-year period.
‘When the boys were off the property, that’s when he got me … He laid on me for about 10 minutes, and then got up and walked away as if nothing happened.’
Quenton disclosed Angleton’s abuse to another priest, Father Cole. He understands that Cole ‘told a few people’ but nothing further was done.
Upset by this Quenton stopped working at the seminary and moved interstate. He did not tell anyone about the abuse again for many years.
Quenton has carried ‘considerable guilt and shame’ about the abuse for decades, and still has trouble with this today. He has experienced relationship issues throughout his life and is estranged from his family. When he tried to reconnect with his mother ‘this didn’t work out’.
He considers himself a ‘very unstable man’ who had been given ‘poor education’, and has ‘muddled’ from job to job. He has now sought counselling and has a positive, professional relationship with his therapist.
It took Quenton a ‘long time’ to speak of his experiences again after being ‘shut down’ as a teenager. He has never reported Angleton to the police and has not taken any civil action against the Catholic Church.
‘You don’t oppose the Catholics because you’ll never win.’