Orphanage witness describes abuse by priest, beatings by nuns

More horrific testimony

A woman has told an inquiry how she was sexually abused by a priest and forced to drink her own urine to stay hydrated at St Joseph's Neerkol Orphanage at Rockhampton, reports the ABC.

Diane Carpenter, who lived at Neerkol intermittently until she turned 17, was giving evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which is holding public hearings in the central Queensland city.

The inquiry is continuing to hear evidence from former residents of the orphanage, where hundreds of children were physically and sexually abused from the 1940s to 1970s.

Ms Carpenter, one of several Aboriginal children at the orphanage, said her sexual abuse at the hands of Fr Michael Hayes, who ministered to the Indigenous children, was witnessed by another priest.

She also gave evidence she also witnessed an orphanage employee sodomising a young boy, an episode that she said made her physically ill.

"The first time I was abused was around four months after my father died," Ms Carpenter said. "I went to visit Fr Hayes at the presbytery opposite the church in Rockhampton because, naturally, I was feeling upset and missing my father.

"[Fr Hayes] would frequently touch the Aboriginal girls; for example, I went back to Neerkol when Fr Hayes was visiting; he would put his hands up my blouse and fondle my breasts."

Fr Hayes died without ever being charged with an offence.

Ms Carpenter said she believed all five of her siblings were sexually abused at the orphanage, where children from the same family were kept apart.

Ms Carpenter told the inquiry the Sisters of Mercy nuns who ran the orphanage regularly kicked the children as they slept.

STATEMENT byThe Triuth, Justice and Healing Commission here.

FULL COVERAGE

Witness describes sexual abuse by priest, beatings by nuns at Rockhampton orphanage (ABC)

Claims of gang rape at orphanage: inquiry (AAP/Yahoo7)

Statement from Bishop of Rockhampton

RELATED COVERAGE

Ballarat Orphanage: Digging resumes for children's bodies (The Age)

'The emotional scars will remain forever', victim's mother says in Young principal child porn case (The Canberra Times)

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