Sunday, 3 May 2015

Abused should come forward

From today's ABC online
The principal at one of Melbourne's top private schools has, for the first time, admitted the extent of child sex abuse that took place on college grounds.

Nine Xavier College students were sexually abused at the school in the 1960s and 70s, according to principal Chris Hayes.

Another six other former students are in the process of having their claims heard.
"There has been nine [cases] where there has been a resolution reached, and yes, they involved sexual abuse."Mr Hayes said no criminal convictions were ever recorded for the offences.

"There has been no criminal prosecution or matter brought to the criminal court relating to any Xavier Jesuit or Xavier lay teacher referring to sexual abuse at Xavier College," he said.

"I'm very confident things have changed but in saying that we are always vigilant to make sure that the protection of children at the school is paramount," he said.

Other victims have been encouraged to come forward by their friends and families.
Janusz Skarbek, who attended Xavier for three years in the 1970s, said his time there left him scarred for the rest of his life.
"Corporal punishment was quite common at the time but they went way over the top and in some cases it went as far as sexual abuse," he said.

Mr Skarbek is one of six former students still fighting for compensation from the Jesuits for alleged abuse.He said he believed there were dozens more victims yet to come forward.
"You can't move on until that's resolved. It's defined my life and my entire family's life," he said.

The school is encouraging any other victims to come forward, to have their claims heard.
"My advice is that if they're troubled by what did take place, please go to the police," Mr Hayes said.

The Catholic Church previously acknowledged Father John Byrne, who taught at the school in the late 60s and early 70s, was a sex abuser.

However the Jesuit Professional Standards Committee would not answer questions from the ABC about how many other sex abusers had worked at Xavier College.

Survivors said most of the offenders were now dead.

Postscript  05/05/15

Former Xavier College students who were abused at the school say claims of just nine cases of abuse are just "the tip of the iceberg".
Days after principal Chris Hayes admitted nine legal cases of abuse in the 1960s and 1970s were later settled, victims are demanding the college and Jesuits speak out about the true extent of the abuse.
They claim to be aware of dozens more cases during the same period.
Victim advocate Mark Fabbro​ said the number of cases was "definitely more than nine", adding more victims were still reluctant to speak about the abuse they were subjected to.
"The figures that were produced by the principal of Xavier in my mind, with the knowledge I have ... is that that figure is grossly inadequate in terms of the numbers of cases," Mr Fabbro​ said.
Victim Janusz Skarbek​ said he knew of 35 other victims of abuse by Jesuit priests and brothers, with most cases involving abuse at the college.
Mr Skarbek​ has been negotiating with the Jesuits for nearly three years for compensation for his abuse in 1971 and 1974. He said he is seeking to establish a foundation supporting victims of abuse – modelled on the Jewish advocacy and support group Tzedek​ – because the Jesuits' response to victims had been inadequate.
"The Jesuits put this under the carpet and hoped it would go away and used pressure against victims to not come forward and talk about it. I would like to see them recognise this as a problem that they have created."
The Australian Jesuits is responsible for resolving cases of abuse at Xavier College by seeking mediation or offering compensation.
Australian Jesuits Provincial Father Brian McCoy said the Jesuits respond "compassionately, contritely, generously" to claims of abuse. He said five former students were seeking compensation from the body.
Rector for Xavier College, Chris Middleton, said the school's information was provided by the Jesuits.
 It should be noted that the Royal Commission looking into child abuse sits in Ballarat soon. That should be very disturbing and cause considerable grief.
and also......
A travel agent told the Supreme Court of Victoria today she was approached by a contract worker for her agency in 2008, with a late-night plea for a hurried purchase of airline tickets to Israel on “compassionate” grounds.
Tammy Koniarski, who runs Breakaway International Travel, processed the tickets urgently requested by co-worker Hadassah Ernst on March 5, 2008.
Hours later, in the early hours of March 6, they were used by Adass Israel School principal Malka Leifer and her family to take a night-time flight via Hong Kong to Israel.
Leifer is now under house arrest in Israel, with efforts underway to extradite her to Australia to face criminal charges in relation to her role at Adass.
Hearing evidence in a lawsuit against the Adass school and Leifer by a woman claiming she was sexually abused by the principal, the court today heard evidence from Ernst’s husband Mark (Mair) Ernst, then a member of the Adass Congregation board, that Leifer had been “stood down” after the accusations surfaced.
According to Mark Ernst, Leifer had been “rude” and “aggressive” in a speaker-phone conversation with an emergency gathering at the home of Adass stalwart, the late Izzy Herzog, denying the sex allegations, only hours before the airline tickets were ordered.

From The Jewish News 


  1. How can Chris Hayes say no convictions ever recorded. What about Willi Kovic jailed 13yrs in 2005. My experience of that school in the 70's was traumatic to say the least.

  2. Why did boys in the 70's nickname one Jesuit priest "stiffy"? stop hiding he truth and dare I say it Confess the truth about the general culture of priests at Burke Hall during the 70's.