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Timothy Paul's story

‘Either myself or someone else would be picked out and you’d have to sit on Brother Hogan’s knee, up the front of the class ... You’d have to sit on your hands, you’d have to put your hands under your bum, and actually sit on him.

‘You’d feel him, and all that sort of stuff. Also, you’d be getting kissed, on the neck or the cheek or somewhere.’

Sexual abuse was a daily occurrence for Timothy and his classmates in the regional Victorian Catholic boys’ school. It was the mid-1970s, and Brother Hogan was his teacher for most of Years 3 and 4.

Whenever a boy was made to sit on Hogan’s lap, everyone else would have to keep their heads down while Hogan abused him. ‘You sort of went into a bit of a survival mode. You were hoping it wasn’t going to be you that was taken up to the front of the class.’

Regularly, Hogan would take the students outside to an area of spongey grass (‘we called it jumpy grass’) near a creek.

‘We were stripped off, and you could either get your feet wet or jump on the jumpy grass ... I remember Brother Hogan he’d always have a small, goldy-yellow sort of a rag, and if you weren’t quick enough to get dressed, that’s when you were, he was drying you, as he used to call it.

‘But it was more sort of fiddling. So I’m not too sure how many kids come home wet, ‘cause you just wanted to get dressed very quickly, without being dried.’

Physical violence, including being hit and punched, was also common. ‘It was actually pretty brutal, for kids our age. Hogan did a lot of that. He had quite a short temper.’ The Brother would also use a home-made contraption to give them electric shocks.

Timothy didn’t feel it was an option to tell anyone at the school what was happening. ‘They were mostly Brothers ... It was a pretty domineering sort of an environment to be in.’

Around this time, Timothy’s school performance deteriorated.

‘I can never remember ever, I don’t know whether I’ve blocked it out, ever remember seeing Hogan up at a chalkboard doing school work or anything ... People said that he did, but I can never ever remember it, in the two years I was down there.’

He had trouble focussing on his work too, as ‘you didn’t know what was happening’. ‘I never took a real lot of schooling in. It was a bit hard to concentrate ... Still, to this day, it still is hard to sort of take stuff in. I know at that age you should be learning how to take stuff in, but I still find it hard now to take a lot of stuff in, my mind sort of wanders a lot.’

Timothy ‘didn’t even really finish Form 4’ at high school, and ‘then I just sorted floated around for a while’. He started doing factory work, and has now been with the same employer for over 20 years.

In the past Timothy has had trouble managing his anger, ‘but as you get older, it seems to calm down a bit’. He never told his parents, who are now quite elderly, about Hogan’s abuse.

Timothy keeps in touch with a number of his former classmates, and they meet up at least once a year now. At a recent school reunion, some of them spoke about the abuse by Hogan. ‘A bit come out then ... More seems to come out each time you meet.’

He lost one of these friends to suicide not that long ago, and another is ‘actually a chronic alcoholic ... I remember him telling his dad about it [the abuse] one night and he actually copped a beating for it. They were pretty churchy. So it affected him in a big way’.

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