Client Stories

Read the stories of our courageous clients

Steve’s Story

Offender: Frank Valentine Steve’s mother died when he was just nine. He was one of five children. His father was an alcoholic and couldn’t cope with raising children on his own. The Child Welfare Department stepped in. Steve and his sister were made wards of the State in 1981 and

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Mark’s Story

OFFENDER/S: KNOX GRAMMAR SCHOOL (UNITING CHURCH, SYNOD OF NSW & ACT) Mark* attended Knox Grammar School – run by the Uniting Church – as a boarder for three years in the late 1980s. Throughout his stay, Mark was repeatedly abused both physically and sexually by two of his teachers. When

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Tom’s Story

OFFENDER/S: BROTHER PATRICK TIMOTHY FARRELL Tom was born into a devoted Catholic family in 1950, starting high school at St Mary’s Cathedral School Sydney in 1964. At the time, the school was run by The Christian Brothers. A short time later, Tom became a member of the Guild of St

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Rick’s Story

OFFENDER/S: BROTHER LAETUS AND BROTHER JEROME (MARIST BROTHERS) Rick* was born to a devout Catholic mother and a violent, alcoholic father. Due to the violence, his mother left his father when he was 10 or 11 years old. As she was on the verge of emotional collapse, with no financial

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Jennifer’s Story

On the frontlines of the Royal Commission Jennifer Ingham went through the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing process. She was awarded a record lump sum payment at her facilitation meeting in Brisbane in May 2013. Peter Kelso acted for Jennifer at the facilitation. Peter encouraged her to speak to the Royal

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Jane’s Story

OFFENDER/S: FATHER ROBERT HICKMAN Compensation Awarded: $200,000 Jane was the youngest of four children, born into a family devoted to the Catholic faith. Father Robert Hickman had been a close friend of Jane’s parents for many years. Jane and her siblings regarded Father Hickman as family, even calling him ‘Uncle

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Matthew’s Story

OFFENDER/S: BROTHER JEROME (MARIST BROTHERS) Matthew* was a happy child from a supportive, though poor, family. His family struggled financially to provide for his education at St Patrick’s Marist Brothers Demonstration School in Dundas, but no doubt felt this was an important sacrifice to make for his future. For Matthew,

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Margaret’s Story

OFFENDER/S: FATHER COX (CATHOLIC PRIEST) Margaret came from a religious family in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire. She enjoyed a happy childhood with her parents and siblings. Receiving a Catholic education was a family tradition. This all changed when Father Cox moved to the Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Caringbah, where

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Kerry’s Story

OFFENDER/S: FATHER DENIS MCALINDEN Kerry grew up on a family farm in the picturesque heart of the NSW Hunter Valley. Her family was Irish Catholic. Their local Parish Priest was Father Denis McAlinden. Father McAlinden was a trusted friend of Kerry’s family. McAlinden would regularly call in to Kerry’s family

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Brett’s Story

OFFENDER/S: MAJOR VICTOR BENNETT AND LIEUTENANT ROGERS (SALVATION ARMY) Brett* was born to a British merchant seaman who was in Australia illegally. When his parents separated, his mother took his sister, and his father took Brett. Brett’s father was away for extended periods of time while working on the high

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Alex’s Story

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

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