Alex’s Story

A life-changing breakthrough

Offender/s:
Brother Patrick Lawrence

Alex grew up with devout Catholic parents in suburban Sydney. He attended high school at Marist Brothers, Eastwood in 1965, where Brother Patrick Lawrence was the principal. In his first year of high school he stole a bike from another schoolboy. The police told Alex’s parents and his school of his mistake.

Lawrence summoned Alex to his office to ‘reprimand’ him. Lawrence shut the door. He told Alex to sit on his lap. The principal proceeded to sexually violate Alex. Alex lost consciousness during the abuse, waking up sometime after the ordeal. Alex told his parents when he arrived home from school that day. His parents refused to believe that a Catholic Brother would do such a thing. They told Alex they did not want to hear anything more about it.

Kelsos were able to negotiate an unreserved apology from the Marist Brothers for Alex. The settlement has changed Alex’s life.

Alex’s life would never be the same. He changed from a happy, charming and studious youth, to a young man wracked by anger and rebellion. Traumatised by the abuse, Alex could not maintain relationships and always felt uncomfortable around people. Alex was eventually admitted to hospital for psychiatric episodes during the 1990s. He attempted suicide on several occasions. During one hospital admission, he disclosed he was being haunted by the “face of the principal”.

Later, Alex received a payout from the Victims Compensation Tribunal (now called the Victims Support Scheme). The sum Alex received was grossly inadequate considering the nature of the abuse by Brother Patrick Lawrence. Alex contacted Kelsos in 2013 to try to force Marist Brothers to take some responsibility. Within six months Kelsos had negotiated a substantial financial settlement from the Marist Brothers and their lawyers. More importantly, Alex received an unreserved written apology from the Provincial of the Marist Brothers in Australia.

Alex used his compensation to pay off his children’s debts and buy his daughter a new car. He has just come back from a resort holiday with his wife. Alex keeps in touch with the team at Kelsos, dropping in to say ‘hi’ when he can.

The settlement has changed Alex’s life. He began to smile again. Alex’s wife is still overjoyed to see Alex making jokes and laughing again. They shared a celebratory dinner the night of the settlement. Alex used his compensation to pay off his children’s debts and buy his daughter a new car. He has just come back from a resort holiday with his wife. Alex keeps in touch with the team at Kelsos, dropping in to say ‘hi’ when he can. It has been a huge thrill for our team to be part of Alex’s life-changing breakthrough.

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