Two women abused by Salvation Army officers were told by the charity not to report the incidents to police.
A Salvation Army officer who was dismissed for abusing an eight-year-old girl in 1990 was allowed to rejoin, an inquiry has heard.
Three years after he admitted assaulting the girl, Colin Haggar rejoined the army which is only now conducting an internal investigation into his conduct following his forced retirement last year.
The second royal commission hearing into the Salvation Army, which opened in Sydney on Thursday, has also been told that abuse victims who went to the charitable group for help were not always believed.
Simeon Beckett, counsel advising the commission, said victims were offered payments varying between $5,000 and $100,000.
He said a victim, identified only as EF, had suffered multiple acts of anal rape by Major Victor Bennett but was only ever offered $11,000.
The first hearing into the Salvation Army in January identified Bennett, who has since died, as a man who inflicted violent punishments and raped children when he ran boys’ homes in NSW and Queensland.
Mr Beckett said the second hearing would consider how the Salvation Army handled historical and more recent claims of child sexual abuse.
In particular it would examine what disciplinary steps were taken against officers Mr Haggar and John Lane.
He said evidence in the coming weeks would show two women, identified as JD and JG, were raped by Lane when he ran a Sunday school at Fortitude Valley, Queensland from 1971 to 1984.
Both reported the abuse in 1992 to Colonel Stan Everitt, the army’s divisional commander for south-east Queensland.
Mr Beckitt said he questioned their honesty and praised Lane as a “Korean war veteran and a good man” and instructed both women not to go to police or the media.
In 1997, JD and JG did report Lane to police.
He was charged with five counts of sexual assault and was sentenced to 16 months in prison. He has since died.
Mr Beckett said Mr Haggar was dismissed from the Salvation Army in 1990 after admitting to sexually touching the eight-year-old girl.
A decade after his readmission to the army, concerns were raised about his conduct and he was demoted and required to retire in 2013, Mr Beckett told the hearing.
He said evidence would be presented that after the incident, Mr Haggar met the parents of the girl and said “It wasn’t that serious, I only fingered her.”
Her parents were shocked. Senior Salvation Army officers contacted them and encouraged them not to go to police.
Mr Beckett also said the army went to great lengths to support Mr Haggar and his wife who was also an officer.
The hearing continues.