So devastating was the abuse suffered by a boy at an Anglican Church-run children's home in northern NSW that, years later, he welcomed a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer because it meant 'the pain will stop,' the royal commission has heard.
- The Sydney Morning Herald
And yet when this victim and scores of others launched a class action against the church in the early 2000s, the church allegedly did 'everything in its power' to avoid taking responsibility for the abuse inflicted by its clergy, often acting in its name.
'The Anglican Church did everything in its power to be a hindrance in this case,' the man, referred to as 'CK' said during a gut-wrenching 90 minutes of evidence before the commission yesterday. 'It deliberately dragged the case out, knowing that the impact on us was a beneficial outcome for the church.
'The pain doesn't go away. It holds you until all you hope for is death.'
In its third set of public hearings in Sydney, the Commission is focusing on the North Coast Children's Home at Lismore as a way of examining the Anglican Church's responses to allegations of child sexual abuse by its clergy and other church employees. Between the 1940s and the 1980s it is alleged that at least 200 children living at the home, in the diocese of Grafton , were sexually or physically abused.
In his opening address to theCcommission, counsel assisting, Simeon Beckett, SC, said the hearings would investigate whether the Grafton Diocese followed appropriate policies and procedures with respect to a group of claims made by victims. He said that, after a long, protracted class action, a settlement was reached in 2007, in which most of the claimants received just $11,000 each after paying their legal costs.
'The Royal Commission will also hear from further claimants who say they came forward to the Bishop to tell them of the sexual abuse ... [but] were told that their claims for compensation had been denied,' Mr Beckett said.
Gerald Francis Ridsdale admits to 14 new victims (Herald Sun)