Fighting spirit defied brutality

Edward Delaney, told royal commission of rape and brutality by Christian Brothers. Picture: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

Allowing priests and brothers to marry would solve a lot of the problems of the Catholic Church, an abused former Christian Brothers' resident told a royal commission in Perth this morning.

Giving evidence on the third day of the hearing into systemic sexual, physical and mental abuse of young boys at four WA Christian Brothers homes, Edward Delaney said there also needed to be greater scrutiny of the people allowed into the Catholic Church.

Mr Delaney, the 10th former resident of the orphanages to give evidence, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that the Australian and British governments had a lot to answer for in regard to the atrocities committed against him at the Bindoon home for boys.

He said no amount of money could ever compensate him for the sexual, physical and mental abuse inflicted on him by the brothers who had been entrusted with his care.

Mr Delaney was brought to Australia as a child migrant from England at the age of five.

His mother had fallen pregnant after she was raped, then disowned by her family.

Unable to support her young son, he was initially placed in a home in England. Mr Delaney said that after being reunited with his mother decades later, she revealed she had never given permission for him to be sent to away to another country.



He said his mother had shown him a photograph of him as a four-year-old that she carried in her purse.

"That was probably one of the most emotional moments I have ever had in my life," Mr Delaney told the commission.

Mr Delaney said after being transferred from Castledare to Bindoon at the age of nine, he began planning to commit suicide and unsuccessfully tried to drown himself.

He described beatings which left him with broken fingers on both of his hands and unable to sit down for weeks.

Mr Delaney was 13 when the sexual abuse by Brother Parker began, saying he was raped at least once a month for 18 months.

When he was about 15, he was told Brother Parker had been sent to Tasmania as a way of dealing with his behaviour and under threat of punishment, he was warned never to speak of the abuse again.

Put to work at 14, Mr Delaney told the commission he had once been injured so badly after falling from a pile of rocks that he cried in pain for two weeks. When finally taken to hospital, it was discovered that he had a broken arm and leg.

"The legacy of Bindoon has been with me every day of my life since I left aged 16," Mr Delaney said.

"I was hurt and neglected and I did not receive the care and attention you need as a child."

Mr Delaney said he reported the abuse to police in Mt Lawley when he was aged 18.

"I was told by the police that if I continued on with this conversation, I would be charged," he said.

Mr Delaney said when he left Bindoon, one of the brothers told him he would never be anything in life.

But he said he was a mentally strong person who went on to educate himself and lead a successful life.

"I feel satisfied that I have been able to prove the Christian Brothers wrong," he said.

Mr Delaney said there were never any welfare checks when he was a resident at Bindoon and the brothers were left in complete control.

"I believe the Australian Government neglected their responsibilities," he told the commission.

"They dragged us from a country with the permission of the British Government.

"They dragged us here and placed us here to make it a bigger country. Then they did not actually care about it."