Sadistic punishments dealt out at Riverview boy's home
BOYS living at a Riverview farm were locked in a prison-like cell for days at a time as one of many sadistic punishments dealt out by a rapist Salvation Army captain, the royal commission has heard.
During day two of the hearing into the Salvation Army's treatment of child abuse victims at the home near Ipswich, five former Riverview residents told of the torment they were subjected to while the late Major Victor Bennett was in command in the late 60s and 70s.
One victim, who can only be referred to as ES, told the commission Major Bennett had once performed an enema like procedure on him with a garden hose to teach him a lesson.
He said he had tried to run away and catch a nearby ferry when Major Bennett and some of the older boys caught up with him.
When he was taken back to the farm, the victim, who had soiled himself out of fear, laid on the grass in front of laughing boys while Major Bennett "grabbed a hose, stuck it in my backside and filled me up with water".
As punishment, he was locked in a cell which the boys referred to as "the cage".
Meals were brought on plastic plates and the boys were forced to defecate in a bucket.
While he was in the cell, an older boy who ES referred to as Major Bennett's "pet", took him down to cut lantana.
ES said the older boy forced him to perform oral sex on him and engage in sex acts with "another little fella".
He said when he reported the abuse, Major Bennett "bent me over a table, shoved a towel in my mouth" and raped him.
Many of the witnesses gave evidence of being made to run naked around a pole of a morning before they were taken to the showers, which were public and often the place where older boys took advantage of the younger residents.
One said the younger boys knew that if you ever "dropped the soap" or didn't stand up to the older boys, you would be sexually assaulted.
ES also recalled a time when he was forced to crawl naked across an oval in front of the other boys because four chooks had died in the pen he was looking after.
He said Major Bennett blamed him for the animal's deaths and as punishment, told him to take his clothes off and crawl between posts while holding one of the chooks in his hand.
Of the five officers being focused on as part of the current case study, Major Bennett was the only one who worked at all four of the Salvation Army's disgraced boys homes - Riverview, Alkira at Indooroopilly and Bexley and Gill in NSW.
The commission will examine the Salvation Army's processes at the time to "identify, investigate, discipline and/or remove" perpetrators and whether there was a policy of "moving such persons to new homes or placing them in non-child related employment".
A senior NSW police officer and two retired Salvation Army officers who were dismissed after complaining about the treatment of children at one of the homes, are expected to take the stand when the hearing resumes in Sydney on Thursday.