An abuse victim has slammed the Marist Brothers for their “sociopathic disregard” for sufferers.
The Marist Brothers have a “sociopathic disregard” for the welfare of child sex abuse victims and are more concerned about their reputation and limiting compensation payouts, a royal commission has been told.
And for 34 years, Marist Brother John Chute had denied he abused Damian De Marco as an 11-year-old at Marist College in Canberra.
Even this week, lawyers for the Catholic church were still trying to discredit Mr De Marco’s allegations, telling the royal commission his memory was affected by illicit drugs use.
But on Wednesday, 83-year-old Chute, also known as Brother Kostka, publicly apologised to Mr De Marco, admitting his crime and acknowledging the victim was telling the truth.
“He today accepts that you have always told the truth and that what you have alleged is true and that he would have done that to you,” his lawyer Greg Walsh said to Mr De Marco during a hearing of the royal commission in Canberra.
Mr De Marco had rejected the claims about drugs affecting his memory, insisting he has a vivid recollection of his mistreatment and more recent dealings with senior members of the church.
After being abused by Chute in 1981, Mr De Marco tried to alert school authorities about his concerns for other students.
His warnings fell on deaf ears, while those people he claimed to have contacted say no such dialogue took place.
Mr De Marco was asked if he’s surprised by the order’s attempt to discredit his evidence by raising his drug use.
“Their lack of response to try and find any other victims of sexual assault … and the sociopathic disregard for the welfare of victims, I wouldn’t have expected much (more),” he said.
Minutes later, Chute’s apology followed.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse also heard from a man abused by Chute at Sydney’s Marcellin College in 1960.
Now aged in his mid-60s, the victim who is known only as AAJ by the commission, recounted being groomed by Chute and at the time considered it a privilege.
But the abuse, which included kissing and molestation sometimes in front of other students, was “horrible”.
“I never considered telling anyone about what was going on, I was frightened,” he said.
AAJ detailed a lifetime of depression, anxiety, anger, panic attacks, apprehension and outrage which he attributes to the abuse.
He wants the Marist Brothers to be held accountable.
“It appears to me all they want to do was to protect their reputation and they want to not spend any more money,” AAJ told the hearing.
The Marist Brothers have paid out more than $8.5 million compensation to victims of Chute and another brother, Gregory Sutton, who both worked at schools in the ACT, NSW and Queensland.
Both men have been convicted and jailed for child sex offences but have served their terms and now live in the community.
Commission hearings continue in Canberra on Thursday.