Historic sexual abuse forum held at Bathurst

NO JUSTICE: Member of the NSW Legislative Council David Shoebridge and Carole Nielsen at BMEC on Tuesday night. Photo: BRADLEY JURD 150317bjustice

NO JUSTICE: Member of the NSW Legislative Council David Shoebridge and Carole Nielsen at BMEC on Tuesday night. Photo: BRADLEY JURD 150317bjustice

VICTIMS of historic sexual abuse at St Stanislaus’ College had the chance to have their voices heard in Bathurst during a public forum on Wednesday night.

The forum at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre also gave people the chance to vent their frustrations over the failure of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to hold a public hearing in Bathurst.

Carole Nielsen, whose son was abused while a student at the college in the late 1980s, said she was devastated that the Royal Commission was not going to investigate Stannies.

“I can’t understand why the Royal Commission won’t go into something as big and horrifying as this,” she said.

“An apology is all well and good, but two things are more important – justice and further prevention.

“We need to keep fighting, to get justice and prevent it.”

A former victim said the situation was horrific.

“As a victim, I relive it every day,” he said.

“The school has had a chance to apologise but I’ve received no phone call. The school do things for themselves. The amount of deception is horrific.” 

Retired Bathurst journalist Terry Jones, who covered court matters for the Western Advocate involving sexual abuse charges against former Stannies staff, said it was shocking that some of the cases were ongoing.

“Imagine someone being charged in 2008 and the matter is still ongoing,” Mr Jones said. “They have used every legal loophole to delay the cases.”

One person likened the Catholic Church to a terrorism organisation, due to the way it has treated children, judges and the media. 

Another recommended refusing to recognise Vatican City as a nation-state. 

Member for Orange Philip Donato, who was unable to attend the forum, had a statement read by Delanie Sky, the Greens’ candidate for Calare in the 2016 federal election.

Mr Donato said all victims of sexual assault must be treated with respect.

“We, as a society, have an obligation to give victims the appropriate service and security,” he said. “Schools should not hinder [sexual abuse] reports and investigations and provide transparency in all investigations.”

Ms Sky said more should be done to expose the extent of the “paedophilia ring”.