‘I don’t know why I said yes to the police officer that rang me the first day. It was like, I just woke up, and she said, did this happen? And I … yeah, I said yeah.’
Until the police rang Scotty ‘out of the blue’ a couple of years ago, he had been ‘too embarrassed’ to tell anyone he had been sexually abused at a Catholic residential school in the Hunter Valley.
‘They said they’d get back to me. And about eight months later … a police officer rang me and asked me to do a statement. Asked me if I could tell them what happened so they could send it to the DPP.’
Scotty was not looking forward to doing the statement. However, ‘I was glad that there was going to be justice, like, you know, the bloke was going to be held accountable for what he done’.
In the early 1980s, just before he started high school, Scotty was sent to ‘a school for uncontrollable kids’ run by the Brothers of St John of God. ‘I think I was just one of them kids that never got diagnosed with ADD. I could never concentrate, never learned to read.’
At the school, Scotty was ‘scared’, especially of Brother Pat McIntosh, his first dorm master, who was ‘six foot at least’.
McIntosh sexually abused Scotty throughout his stay. ‘It started about two months into it, and it was regular, like every second night, or every night, or whatever.’ When Scotty was moved into another dorm, he thought the abuse would stop. ‘But it didn’t. He used to just come up there as well.’
While some of the Brothers ‘were just nice old blokes’, Scotty believes that they must have known about McIntosh because, at night, he would creep from room to room touching the boys.
Scotty also remembered a night when he ‘heard a ruckus’ in the dorm. He heard one of the boys saying, ‘ah stop it, fuck, go away, go away, stop’, ‘a bed getting slung around on tiles’, and a bashing. ‘He bashed him. Like nothing was ever said, but he bashed the bloke.’
He also recalled brutal treatment, such as being flogged with a leather strap if you didn’t get to the auditorium within 10 seconds after a bell. A Brother would ‘give it to you on your hands’.
Scotty spent about a year at the school, but spent his whole life trying to cope with or block out what had happened to him. By his mid-teens, he was abusing drugs. ‘I’ve abused every drug under the sun. I abused cannabis until … I ended up with getting emphysema. But I’ve taken like ecstasy, and took speed for like years and took acid, like LSD. ’
Scotty’s drug habit led to long stints in jail. ‘I went all through the system’, he said. ‘I done the whole rounds.’
He has also been ‘angry for years’. ‘I’ve chopped cars up with axes and just like, you know, like three thousand dollar cars, just attacked them with axes and destroyed them, and ran through walls … Some of the stuff you would not believe. Like, put my hand through crockery pots and just smash windows and smash schooner glasses over me hand and just all sorts of crap … I can’t even drive up the shop without getting road rage with somebody, or getting the shits with someone in the shop.’
His anger extended to violence against his former partner, and current partner Mary. ‘I emotionally abused her. I physically, like, a long time ago, and I did with my ex-missus, I was physical, like physically abused her as well. Not proud of it.’
Mary and Scotty have been together ‘off and on’ for more than 20 years. However, they ‘just can’t live together. I’ve just always pushed people away that I love’.
After he gave a statement to the police, Scotty acted on advice from a police officer, and saw a counsellor. ‘I seen him for a couple of months, but we never actually got around to talking about it. He knew but, what happened and stuff, but we never actually got around [to it].’ Scotty was worried that someone he knew might see him leaving the clinic, so he decided to stop going.
Coming forward to speak to the Commission was difficult for Scotty. He didn’t think he’d be able to deal with it. ‘But I need to change’, he said more than once. ‘I need to see a counsellor and change me life. ‘Cause I can’t go on the way that I’ve done for all these years.’
Scotty did not speak about the ‘nitty gritty’ of the abuse to the Commission. ‘I’d rather talk to a counsellor about it.’ However, this step has helped him to get it off his chest, and given him hope that he can now get help for his anger and panic attacks, and save his relationship with Mary.
‘I just know that he’d be a different person if it hadn’t happened’, Mary said. ‘We know that we’re not going to be able to get through this unless, unless he gets some help. Like basically we’re, we’re clinging to the fact that he can get some help so we can stay together.’