Sex abuse victim speaks out

SPEAKING OUT: After 40 years of silence, Northern Rivers local David McNamara has finally come forward with his story of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of St John of God Order catholic priests.
SPEAKING OUT: After 40 years of silence, Northern Rivers local David McNamara has finally come forward with his story of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of St John of God Order catholic priests. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

FOUR decades after David McNamara was sexually abused as a young boy by a "ring" of Catholic Church paedophiles, the Northern Rivers man has filed his allegations, for the first time, with police after being officially released from a church "gag" order last month.

Mr McNamara claims he was first sexually abused by Father Roger "Gabriel" Mount in a sick bed at the Kendall Grange home for intellectually disabled boys near Newcastle when he was 12 years old.

"Just before I was pubescent, I was sexually abused, by Roger Mount, when I was in a sick bed," he said.

"And then after that, he would sort of abuse me whenever it was convenient.

"He would come to my bed at night and touch me again, and after a while, he got me to touch his penis.

"Then after that he would touch me whilst I was sitting next to him in the television room and he would get me to masturbate him."

Father Mount's sexual abuse would continue for over a year, until he left the Kendall Grange home.

However, Mr McNamara would go onto endure a total of about three years of abuse, at the hands of two other brothers.

Mr McNamara said he was also traumatised by being "shoved" in the home for convenience, despite having no intellectual disability.

Mr McNamara said he first notified the Catholic Church of the abuse in 1991 and was told to take up it up with the St John of God Order.

For the abuse and its lifelong consequences, Mr McNamara was given a payout of $91,000, $11,000 of which went to legal fees, and the remaining amount towards counselling, medical bills and relocating to the Northern Rivers.

Along with the settlement, Mr McNamara was asked to sign a deed of release which contained a "silence" clause, preventing him from discussing the abuse, abusers and where it occurred.

Browsing the internet, Mr McNamara said he stumbled upon an article by Fairfax journalist Rory Callinan who wrote Father Roger Mount, who had three separate claims of sexual abuse made against him in the past decade, was still working as a priest in Papua New Guinea in close proximately to children.

Realising no action had been taken to prevent Father Mount abusing again, Mr McNamara contacted the church through the Royal Commission to enquire about the status of his "silence" clause.

On September 11, 2014, he received a letter from the St John of God Provincial, Brother Timothy Graham, assuring him he "is at complete liberty to discuss his experiences at Kendall Grange" and that "clause 5 of the deed will not be enforced."

On Wednesday, Mr McNamara made an official report of the abuse to police at the Lismore Police Station.

Originally, he said he had wanted to deal with the abuse on his "own terms" through the church so he could ask questions of his abusers and pursue some sort of future prevention strategy from the church.

But "shocked" to learn Father Mount was still working in Papua New Guinea with children despite his disclosure of the abuse, Mr McNamara decided it was time to come forward.

Mr McNamara said he feels there would always be a certain percentage of the population who were attracted to children, something that is known to have occurred in civilisations as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, but that society should become proactive and work towards protecting children and preventing such abuse from occurring.

"I think that the reason why a lot of abuse has happened is because we blindly trust," he said.

Mr McNamara said: "We have to really look at this and work out how we're going to protect our children from this in society."

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