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Warren's story

Having battled alcohol and cannabis addictions in the past, Warren has rarely been able to hold down a job and wonders how his life might have panned out if he hadn’t been sexually abused when he was 11.

He told the Commissioner that while attending a Christian Brothers college in Victoria in the 1980s he was molested and raped by two Brothers.

‘I was invited to a meeting with Brother Lee and Brother Carmichael. They asked about my family life and how was I enjoying school. I thought it was nice to get some attention, I was just a naive little boy. There was some kind of wink or something, ‘cause the next time I was invited to come back they proceeded to masturbate me and put their finger up my bum. They said it was “our secret”.’

During a third meeting, Warren said he was raped by each Brother in turn, before an older Brother was brought into the room.

‘Brother Lee put a condom on the third man, but he was unable to penetrate me.’

Warren described being in pain and bleeding anally in the days following the rapes. He believes he was one of several boys being sexually abused by the men, and said it only stopped when Brother Lee ‘took pity’ on him.

Finishing school in the 1990s, Warren maintained silence about the abuse for over a decade until he told a counsellor. The following year, he told his parents.

‘I came from a good Irish Catholic family and grew up going to church, and when I told my family they were mortified, just horrified.’

With his father’s support, Warren approached Towards Healing. He described the process as ‘deceptive’ and ‘like being raped again’.

‘I was told I’d be meeting with the director of counselling, but that person was actually an employee of the Christian Brothers. The assessors deciding whether my claim was valid turned out to be Catholics, which raised the concern of conflict of interest.’

Warren said at one point he was even offered a pastoral meeting with the two men who’d raped him.

‘It felt like they were about to open the door and let the tigers in the room. When the outcome came through they said, “Sorry, it didn’t happen”. Paraphrase, “You’re lying”. Apparently I’d provided the wrong dates or years and [they’d] … just denied they’d known me at that time.’

When his claims were rejected, Warren discussed his concerns about the Towards Healing with a senior member of the order.

‘Brother Rogers was unresponsive and told me the alleged events couldn’t have happened because they had no other complaints about Brother Carmichael or Brother Lee, but that turned out to be untrue, there had been other complaints.’

In the 2000s, Warren provided police one of 15 victim impact statements that would see Brother Lee convicted and jailed for over 40 child sex offences.

‘I want the Church to be held accountable for deceptive, cruel and selfish behaviour. I want them to show explicitly and in writing what they’re doing to fix the wrongdoings of the past. Forget apologies, they mean nothing when coming from compulsive liars. Hit them in the back pocket where it hurts the most.’

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