The operator of this non-commercial website is the highly motivated community-minded Martin Mitchell from Australia (himself an instititionalised and abused minor in church institutions in the former West Germany)

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Child Slave Labour in Germany!


Who was like me a »child slave labourer« for the von Bodelschwinghsche Anstalten Bethel banished to perform heavy manual labour in Freistatt in the Wietingsmoor, a huge peat bog, in the 1960ies ?

I myself was there for over a year, in 1963, in Section 1 of the »closed institution« called House Neuwerk, in Freistatt, and was forced to work there in the moor in record time for Germany's largest with parochial rights bestowed upon diaconical business venture of that era, without my being paid any wages for my slaving for this Lutheran Church institution. There were hundreds of such places in West Germany at the time where »children« and »teenagers« were forced to slave for years for the Church without being paid. This systemic »child slave labour« in institutional care perpetrated by the Lutheran Church as well as by the Catholic Church and sanctioned and aided by the State, continued unabated for many decades.

After a wait, for me, of forty years it is time to settle accounts. Who will stand alongside me in trying to achieve that aim ?

And, so as to refresh your memory, Institution Freistatt in the Wietingsmoor is situated between the towns of Diepholz and Sulingen, in the Province of Hannover, in the State of Lower Saxony, alongside Federal Highway B214.

My Christian name is »Martin« and I am nearly 57 years of age. I have only just learned how to place such a message on the Internet. I live in Adelaide, South Australia. I have been living here in Australia for nearly 40 years, and before coming to this far away land was without country or nationality.

Other »child slave labourers«, who may have been held in either Protestant or Catholic »closed institutions«, in the Federal Republic of Germany, since the Second World War, at times other than the one mentioned above, and who were financially exploited, humiliated and / or physically assaulted or abused in such church institutions, may also contact me.

A CHILD is any young person under the age of twenty-one, unless a country's statutes do determine otherwise. »Forced labour« / »slave labour« is a crime against humanity and against human dignity which adversely affects anyone made to suffer such indignity whether male or female »child«, »youth«, »teenager« or »adult«.

It also so happens that according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed at the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948 and according to the German Constitution, which came into effect on 23 May 1949, »forced labour« / »slave labour« is totally outlawed.

For further information on »child slave labour« and »child abuse« in church homes in Germany read the article »KIRCHE Unbarmherzige Schwestern« (»CHURCH Sisters of no Mercy« ) in SPIEGEL ONLINE 19 May 2003.

I always use the Internet at the public library, and my E-mail address is martinidegrossi@yahoo.com.au

Or one can write to me via the post: Martin Mitchell P O Box 112 LONSDALE SA 5160 AUSTRALIA


This message was first placed on the Internet in June 2003.

 

This document, without any alterations being made to it, may be copied, reproduced and republished at will, by whatever means, anywhere, without prior permission.

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A very important Notice! Please scroll down.

With regard to the Homepage "Heimkinder-Ueberlebende.org".

The operator, himself a victim of institutional abuse, declares.

I am a very simple man, who has had little schooling, and has even less money.

The situation – very simply expressed – is as follows:

I study and research, formulate and write – constantly – primarily for myself, for my personal needs, as a therapy. In a way, I am writing a “chronicle” / a “non-fictional work” / a “doctorial thesis”, instead of on paper, on my PC. Naturally, I do also discuss what I do and write within my own social circle.

New Information
is constantly added to my writings, and includes texts and quotations from other authors and sources of differing lengths (all of which is – without fail – credited to its source, as required).

All that I write is being archived in my repository – on this my homepage – assembled and stored. Likewise, do I allow all those who visit me – particularly fellow victims of institutional abuse – without payment, to look at all that which I have written down and accumulated; to help them with their own self-therapy, which they themselves set about developing and carrying out, and which they apply as they themselves see fit.

I do not promise anything, and I do not take any responsibility for the conduct or the approach that others take. I am unable to foresee how others may react, or what they may undertake to help themselves. Responsibility rests solely with each individual for what he or she does or does not do.

I myself do not duplicate and/or distribute anything. Neither do I pretend anywhere to anybody that I am the owner or copyright-holder of scientific works or papers, which are the property of somebody else. I do not ever plagiarise.

What other people who visit me do is a matter for them; and I have no control over that.. Likewise, can I not be expected to control or police my visitors, or to tell them what to do or not do. I do not demand that visitors identify themselves first, that they present their passport and state their business. I won’t do that – it is not my style. I am not a supervisory board or control agency. That is not my job.

I hope that those who are more educated than I am will also be able to understand this my explanation. I am certain that people who as children where likewise abused, and have suffered, in children’s homes, juvenile halls and reformatories (institutions of one sort or another) in postwar West-Germany (Federal Republic of Germany), will have no problem understanding me.

It will serve absolutely no purpose to attempt to intimidate me, or to attempt to take me to court. I will not stop speaking out., or cease saying that what must be said. The crimes that were committed in these institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany, and the extent of these crimes, cannot be denied. And I will not be silenced!

Equally important to me is the maintenance worldwide of the right to exercise freedom of expression and discussion, the right to obtain all available information and the right and ability to use it. Freedom is not a foregone conclusion. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Martin Mitchell from Australia

A very important Notice! Please scroll up.


always New Documents (all dated!)

English Main Index

Please scroll down



DW WORLD.DE - DEUTSCHE WELLE on 23.01.2009 in English ( Sabina Casagrande reporting )
( relating to the former West-Germany ) »Abused Wards Of The State Demand Reparations In Germany«
An apology and compensation are long overdue

( The current CDU/SPD Government of the German Federal Republic, however, is dragging its feet. )

News in brief in the German news-magazine FOCUS, Munich the 12 August 2007:
»The Association of Former Wards of the State [ of the former West-Germany ] /
Former Institutionalised Children / Care-Leavers-Survivors demand compensation -
"The firms that made use of institutional child labour ( "unpaid forced labour" ) have to pay"« -
announced the lawyer for the victims, Munich
human rights lawyer Michael Witti.


Media reports pertaining to an Australian compensation case indexed by GOOGLE:
Court Judgment:
Compensation for Aborigine of the "Stolen Generation":

TREVORROW -v- STATE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA (No 5) [2007] SASC 285
Judgment of The Honourable Justice Gray - 1 August 2007


Former wards of the state take the initiative.
German care-leavers-survivors take Government to task.
The German Federal Government is being challenged to answer the following simple question:
Ehemalige Heimkinder stellen eine sehr einfache Frage an die Deutsche Bundesregierung:


Legitimate critical observations by the Australian operator, Martin Mitchell, of the
community-service-site
cum postwar German history site Care-Leavers Survivors.org
@
www.care-leavers-survivors.org with regard to specific human rights violations -
extra-judicial incarceration and "forced labour" and the profiteering therefrom
by the postwar West-German State
, the churches and private enterprise
(between ca 1945 - 1975) - which should concern us all.


Absolute prohibition of all forms of forced labour / compulsory labour !, or not ?
Was "forced labour" / "compulsory labour" / "work therapy" /
"indoctrination by toil" / "labour discipline" / "pressganged labour"
"hiring out of involuntary labour" / "forcing people to work without pay" ever permitted
in the Federal Republic of Germany, or not? Was it ever permitted in the 1950s, the 1960s,
the 1970s and the 1980?
Is it permitted in the Federal Republic of Germany today?

The use of and the profiteering from forced labour are crimes under international law and they
constitute a serious violation of human rights and an unlawful curtailment of human freedoms.


German wards of the state / institutionalised children used as slave labourers (in the former
West Germany
) demand adequate compensation and the making of appropriate amends;
they don't want to be "paid off" / "to be bribed henceforth to keep quiet"; no "compromise" !

Deutsche Heimkinder / Kindersklaven verlangen eine anständige Entschädigung und
Wiedergutmachung; keine "Abfindung" / "kein Schweigegeld", keinen "Kompromiss" !




Horrific (hidden) POSTWAR GERMAN HISTORY unearthed !!!
Justice at last for abused wards of the state being detained
and slave laboured in ‘institutional care’ in
(West) Germany
by church and state
(a couple of million of them between 1945-1975+;
the exact number has not as yet been able to be determined).

However, whether these victims will in fact obtain justice remains to be seen.

THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN AND JUVENILES OF POST-WAR WEST-GERMANY (1945-1985)

SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN – THE INSIDE STORY OF IRELAND'S INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS
Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan – First published in 1999 – ISBN 0-8264-1337-4 – (425 pages).
Well-researched non-fictional documentary-type account of Irish institutional child abuse –
in this case perpetrated almost solely by Catholic orders of religion in institutions run for profit
and enrichment of themselves, and to the total disregard of the needs of the children in their ‘care’.


SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN – THE INSIDE STORY OF IRELAND'S INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS
Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan – First published in 1999 – ISBN 0-8264-1337-4 – (425 pages).
The MythsThe five main myths that the Catholic Church has spread about and
wants you to believe – laid wide open and once and for all laid permanently to rest
.
Pertinent and highly revealing extracts from a most powerful book.


Forgotten Children – The Secret Abuse Scandal in Children's Homes.
[ Institutional child abuse in the UK ]
Author Christian Wolmar – Vision Paperbacks . October 2000.


America's Deep, Dark Secret - Eugenics in America [ Systemic Child Abuse and Neglect in Institutional Care ]

Cleansing of the unfit : War Against The Weak : Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create A Master Race : Eradication by sterilisation and institutionalisation of all perceived "scum" and the so-called "dumb" and "worthless" (and all those who were not considered suitable for exploitation or as "service personnel" for the rich and mighty).

Institutional child abuse in church homes in Germany
Rampant institutional child abuse in German church institutions and children’s homes. Help and Assistance for victims of institutional child abuse. Join forces to fight for your rights. Supported by the Association of Former Homekids. Visit our Webpage DiakonieFreistatt.de.vu, www.freistatt.de.vu under use of the original address
www.heimkinder-ueberlebende.org


The S.Ü.H.N.E. Team demands Antonement!
German Surviving Care-Leavers themselves are taking the Initiative
Find out all about it @ www.Heimkinder-Ueberlebende.org


Reader’s Letter to DEUTSCHE WELLE ON-LINE (Germany) and to the Adelaide Advertiser (Australia) of 4.6.2004 and to the remainder of all the print and broadcasting media worldwide:

[ Institutional Child Abuse in Australia (1920-1980) ]
[ Australian ] Victims of Abuse in [ State ] Care welcome [ Federal Government ] Senate Report


Senate report into the forgotten Australians: Child abuse in institutional care. Dr Ben Mathews discusses the Senate Committee Report which exposes a record of abuse in Australian care.
( View the entire text of the report as a single document )


Apologise to children abused in care: Senate Report recommends – THE AGE 30.08.2004

Media release: The Forgotten Australians Senate Inquiry Report Release.
ACTION ON INSTITUTIONAL CHILD ABUSE OVERDUE


30.08.2204 – Australian Senate Report on institutional child abuse – Reparation and redress schemes for victims – Consideration of various alternatives on the long road towards healing for survivors

A parliamentary delegation from Germany ( led by Mrs. Marion Caspers-Merk, MP under the Minister of Health and Social Security Mrs. Ulla Schmidt (SPD) ) visited an Irish Parliamentary Hearing on Tuesday 7. October 2003 whilst an address on the "Commission to Inquire into Institutional Child Abuse" was being presented by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan) and recommendations for compensation of Irish victims of institutional child abuse were being debated. What is the German government itself proposing to do in relation to its own victims of institutional child abuse?

(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) THE AGE – 15.08.2004 - [ Institutional Child Abuse Victims ] - Wounds that will not heal

Child abuse in the Anglican Church in Australia. Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide. Church is finally making amends. Will the Churches in Germany do likewise or harden their hearts even further?

Child abuse offenders of yesteryear relentlessly pursued by Australian law enforcement today. Church officials and carers of children alleged to be involved in paedophilia.

Child abuse in Church Institutions in Australia. Anglican Church confesses its sins: "We've been shameful"

String of sex-related incidents have wracked South Australian Churches. Police in hot pursuit of all such offenders. The passage of time does not lessen the seriousness of the allegations levelled against these abusers.

Child abuse offenders of yesteryear and today will have nowhere to run. Mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy by their peers an urgent necessity.

"Heimkinder" Group Claims Rampant Institutional Child Abuse in German Chruch run Children's Homes : Article on DEUTSCHE WELLE ON-LINE 29.5.2004

Readers Letters of 1.6.2004 in response to Church Child Abuse article on DEUTSCHE WELLE ON-LINE of 29.5.2004

[ U.S.A. "HOMIES" = "HEIMKINDER" = "HOMEKIDS" ] Victims: Church Needed To Admit Wrongdoing

[ "HOMIES" = "HEIMKINDER" = "HOMEKIDS" : What the victims ( of every form ) of institutional child abuse may reasonably expect from those responsible for their suffering and the associated betrayal of trust, in order that healing may now commence and a semblance of trust may be restored: ]

Institutional Child Abuse: Apologising for Serious Wrongdoing:
Social, Psychological and Legal Considerations, Report of May 1999, Final Report authored by
SUSAN ALTER, Researcher, prepared for Law Commission of Canada,
http://www.lcc.gc.ca/en/themes/mr/ica/2000/html/apology.asp

Institutional child abuse victims in Germany : Their expectations and demands

Law Commission of Canada: Institutional Child Abuse - Restoring Dignity:
Responding to Child Abuse in Canadian Institutions. (An Executive Summary of this Report
is available under separate cover: ISBN: 0-662-64474-3 and CAT: JL2-7/2000-1);
[
http://www.lcc.gc.ca ]. © Minister of Public Works and Government Services, 2000).
Full length Report, March 13, 2000: ISBN: 0-662-28154-3 and CAT: JL2-7/2000-2E.
http://www.lcc.gc.ca/en/themes/mr/ica/2000/html/restore1.asp

US Bank JP Morgan apologises for the participation of its predecessor banks
in the slave-trade, in America, between 1831 and 1865.

German state churches, however – with regard to the very large number of child-slave-labourers they kept locked up, and they exploited and abused in their tax-free church institutions and business enterprises – refuse to follow the example set by JP Morgan Chase


CENSORSHIP in some cases accompanied by threats and intimidation of the publisher of this topic - institutional child abuse in German church institutions - is being perpetrated and attempted even on the Internet

Vatican told Catholic bishops to cover up all clergy sex abuse (worldwide)

Public Announcement of First Annual "German institutional child abuse victims" Congress in Kassel



( 10.10.2003 )

EXAMPLES OF CHURCHES, AND CHURCH ORGANISATIONS, OWNING UP AND TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHILDREN ABUSED IN THEIR CARE IN ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES


IN GERMANY, THEY DON’T WRITE OR SPEAK ABOUT THAT WHICH IS HAPPENING IN THIS REGARD IN OTHER COUNTRIES, LET ALONE ABOUT THAT WHICH HAPPENED TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN IN "THE FATHERLAND" OVER MANY DECADES SINCE THE END OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR


Accusation of abuse "hush money"

Aug 19, 2003

A new scandal has rocked an organisation in Australia which was supposed to care for children.

The Salvation Army has been forced to apologise for the treatment of children in homes it ran over several decades, amid allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

It is the first apology of its kind for the abuse, some of which occurred up to 50 years ago.

The Salvation Army is a strong supporter of the scouting movement as a means of building healthy bodies and minds - ideals that are carried through to their schools for children from broken homes. For those youngsters, school is home.

But there are now stories of staff, mostly male, psychologically, physically and sexually abusing children under their care.

Barry Maslen is just one of 30,000 children that went through Salvation Army homes in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.

"They are absolute mongrels. I can't think of words for them and these people call themselves Christians," Maslen said.

John Dalziel of the Salvation Army said the children's trust had been betrayed and he apologised to the Australian public.

But victims question the sincerity of that apology. They say their complaints were initially met with offers for counselling and then offers of tens of thousands of dollars in "hush money".

Dalziel said they were not encouraged to keep quiet about the abuse, just about the payout.

Despite receiving what they call "hush money" the victims are intent on continuing to uncover the abuse in the Salvation Army homes.

[ from
http://onenews.nzoom.com/onenews_detail/0,1227,214406-1-9,00.html ]

[ Date of first publication on this Website: 10 October 2003 ]




( 10.10.2003 )

The Advertiser, Adelaide, Wednesday, September 24 2003, Metropolitan Edition

CHURCH OFFERS PAYOUTS TO SAY SORRY $2 million compensation

E X C L U S I V E....
By COLIN JAMES


THE South Australian Catholic Church has created legal history by offering an unconditional $2 million compensation package to victims of child sex abuse.

Offers will be delivered today to more than 30 families of young boys who allegedly were abused by a bus driver at a Catholic school for the intellectually disabled between 1987 and 1991.

The offers are unprecedented in that they do not contain any confidentiality clauses and recipients do not have to waive their rights to take legal action against the church for compensation.

Full details of the packages will be revealed today by the Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, who is understood to have ignored legal and insurance advice not to make the offers on such an unencumbered basis.

Instead, he has decided to offer compensation to families under the church’s "Towards Healing" process of dealing with victims of child sex abuse at amounts which exceed those recommended by lawyers and insurers.

The decision has national significance, as past church payouts to victims across Australia have included confidentiality clauses barring them from discussing details with third parties. Previous payouts also have been made on the strict condition victims agree not to take any further legal action or to seek more compensation.

Archbishop Wilson yesterday declined to comment, but The Advertiser understands he has been the driving force behind the compensation package, which will be fully funded from within the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

He has been adamant, right from the beginning of this terrible saga, that the victims and their families must be looked after by the church," said a senior church official, who asked not to be named.

"He has made it very clear to all of us that every effort is to be made to provide all the support that we can, pastorally and financially”.

Other church officials said the decision to offer compensation as a "gift” was made by Archbishop Wilson more than a year ago, but was stalled by the prosecution of paedophile Brian Bertram Morris Perkins. Perkins, 67, was sentenced earlier this month to 10 years’ jail, [ . . . . . ] after pleading guilty [ . . . . . ].

[ . . . . . ]

[ (edited version) extracted directly from The Advertiser newspaper by Martin Mitchell ]

[ Date of first publication on this Website: 10 October 2003 ]



( 10.10.2003 )

Salvation Army apologises to vicitms of abuse

AM - Monday, 18 August , 2003 08:14:23

Reporter: Nick Grimm

LINDA MOTTRAM: After the damaging scandals in the Catholic and Anglican Churches over the abuse of children, the Salvation Army has now issued an unreserved apology to those who were victims of abuse while in its care.

Stories of years of beatings, sexual molestation, and slave-labour type work conditions, endured by some children in Salvation Army-run institutions will be detailed tonight by the ABC's
Four Corners program.

Nick Grimm reports.

EXTRACT FROM SALVATION ARMY AD: The Salvation Army is a strong supporter of the scouting movement, as a means of building healthy bodies as well as healthy minds – ideals that are carried through to their schools for children from broken homes. For these youngsters, school is home.

VICTIM 1: My number was 68 and every article of clothing or anything that we owned was put, that number was put on.

VICTIM 2: I was number 32. Now I'm sorry I'm going to get upset if I hold that for too long.

NICK GRIMM: Merely a number – just one of ways that children who were sent to church and State-run institutions during the 1950s, 60s and 70s found themselves dehumanised by the system.

For some it was just the start of the brutality they were to experience.

VICTIM 3: Once he came up and just punched me right in the side of the head and then he dragged me and kicked me and punched me all the way to his office.

VICTIM 4: Absolute mongrels. I can't think of other words for them and these people call themselves Christians.

VICTIM 5: And then he would ask me for like a cup of hot Milo or some biscuits and lollies and of course I said yes, and then once we got to his room he started fondling me…

VICTIM 6: The older boys, I think they grew up with that environment, so they thought it was perfectly normal. They would prey on the younger boys.

NICK GRIMM: Tonight's
Four Corners examines some of the stories of the children who suffered mental, physical and sexual abuse while living in facilities run by the Salvation Army.

One such victim even admits it was an ordeal that later turned him into a child sexual offender as well.

VICTIM 7: I remember I started enjoying some of the stuff that was happening to me when I was 13. So my mind locked in on 13-year-olds and I couldn't get out of that. To be truthful, I cannot look at a 13 or 14-year-old and not think, I wouldn't mind that.

NICK GRIMM: Some victims have sought redress from the Salvation Army, and a number of financial settlements have been made.

Salvation Army Spokesman John Dalziel denies it's hush money.

JOHN DALZIEL: No, we're not trying to muzzle the victims. We are doing it for their own benefit. It is not always a good thing to make public a private thing like that. No, in some cases it does benefit them, and psychologists will recommend that people do it. But, as I understand it, it is only rarely that it is a good thing.

The financial amount varies according to the client concerned, but dollars speak, and we don't want that to be the criteria. We want the person to be seeking healing.

NICK GRIMM: Later this year a Senate inquiry will begin investigating the extent of the abuse meted out to former wards of the State around Australia.

The Salvation Army will be just one of the organisations that provided care facilities who are expected to be asked to make submissions to the inquiry.

But it's already made a frank admission that it has betrayed the trust placed in it by Australians over decades.

John Dalziel again.

JOHN DALZIEL: I feel that the Salvation Army has betrayed its trust. We have extremely high regard in Australia because of the superb work that's being done by so many, both officers, paid staff and especially volunteers and it's been built up over literally millions of incidents over the years. And, in these cases we've just been talking of today, that trust has been betrayed, and to the Australian public now I apologise.

LINDA MOTTRAM: Salvation Army Spokesman John Dalziel ending that report from Nick Grimm.

And that full report can be seen on [Australian] ABC TV's
Four Corners tonight.

[ Date of first publication on this Website: 10 October 2003 ]




( 10.10.2003 )

[ P r o g r a m...S u m m a r y ]


8.30 pm Monday 18 August


Read the [television] program transcript


viewers comments go to the following link: http://abc.net.au/4corners/content/2003/20030818_homies/default.htm


They were the kids society didn't want... orphaned or wrenched from broken families, then shunted off to loveless places called - without irony – "homes".

Over decades, tens of thousands of Australian children were sent to state and charitable institutions to be raised by complete strangers.

Some kids were identified by numbers, not by their names. Chores were numbingly routine. Discipline was harsh at best. Many endured extreme cruelty - emotional, physical and sexual.

This is not distant history, but the living present.

For these children are today's middle aged Australians. They live daily with the painful memories and scars of their upbringing…"the bitter, lonely years", as one woman tells it.

Four Corners explores how the childhood experience of "the homies" continues to intensely affect their lives. In some tragic cases the abuse appears to have bridged generations... yesterday's sexually abused child becomes today's paedophile.

Reporter Quentin McDermott finds it's not just the homies who are yet to come to terms with their childhoods. To this day, the people and the organisations that ran the homes struggle to face the past.

"The Homies" was first broadcast on [Australian] ABC TV on Monday 18 August, 2003.

[ Date of first publication on this Website: 10 October 2003 ]






( 10.10.2003 )

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

FOUR CORNERS

Investigative TV journalism at its best



The Homies



Four Corners explores how the childhood experience of "the homies" continues to intensely affect their lives.



QUENTIN McDERMOTT, REPORTER: Scattered around Australia are crumbling structures that once housed the children society didn't want. These were children's homes, run by the most respectable bodies in the land - States, charities, churches, the Salvation Army. But for many older Australians, the memories are intensely painful.

TRISH PASCOE: The bitter, lonely years.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Why do you call it that?

TRISH PASCOE: Because they were bitter and lonely. That's the only thing I can use to describe it.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Some homes were well-run. In others, abuse turned children into angry, sometimes criminal, adults.

MAN IN SHADOW: To be truthful, I cannot look at a 13- or 14-year-old and not think, "I wouldn't mind that".

BEVERLEY FITZGERALD, PRESIDENT, QLD CHILDREN SERVICES TRIBUNAL: Its repercussions are enormous and they ripple out to every facet of a person's life, and we have to start looking at that.

JOHN DALZIEL, THE SALVATION ARMY: That trust has been betrayed and to the Australian public now, I apologise.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Tonight on Four Corners, the secret history of the extraordinary cruelty inflicted on children in care.

NEWSREEL: The Salvation Army is a strong supporter of the Scouting movement as a means of building healthy bodies and minds - ideals that are carried through to their schools for children from broken homes. For these youngsters, school is home.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, tens of thousands of boys and girls from broken homes were dispatched to institutions around Australia.

(PHOTOGRAPH LABELLED 'INDOOROOPILLY')

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: The damage some homes caused is still there in the lives of middle-aged Australians like Lewis Blayse.

LEWIS BLAYSE: It was out in the middle of nowhere, which is where most of these places were - out in the middle of nowhere.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Lewis Blayse went into care in 1950 when he was five months old. His parents simply couldn't cope.

LEWIS BLAYSE: My mother was about fifth-generation Australian, uh...English, Welsh. Year 6 education, uh...schizophrenia. My father came out as a refugee during World War II from Yugoslavia. The whole village was shot, eventually. Uh...he became a canecutter. He had two years education.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Lewis Blayse's fate was typical of an age when large numbers of children were institutionalised through no fault of their own, with no choice where they went. Placing them in a home run by a church or charity was seen as a safe, inexpensive option.

BEVERLEY FITZGERALD: Children placed in care was usually an economic motivation rather than a child development or child nurturing or child protection, and that the state found often the cheapest way to look after children.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Life in the hundreds of institutions around Australia was ordered and impersonal. At the age of nine, Lewis Blayse was sent to Indooroopilly - a Salvation Army home in Queensland where boys were referred to by numbers.

LEWIS BLAYSE: I was number 32. I'm sorry. I'm going to get upset if I hold that for too long. Number 32.

WALLY McLEOD: I was sent to Indooroopilly, supposedly for psychiatric treatment, of which I never got.

BARRY MASLEN: I was deemed a juvenile delinquent, and my single mother at the time couldn't cope with me.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Wally McLeod and Barry Maslen share memories of life in care. Their stories of life at Indooroopilly tally with Lewis Blayse's accounts.

WALLY McLEOD: You would get up, you would have breakfast, you would collect a lunch wrapped in rag, with dry mince, and you would be marched to school with an officer in a line of three rows.

LEWIS BLAYSE: The lining up, the...the whistles, the toilets, the lights-out time. You know, it was just military and...and your bunks are sort of like, you know, this far apart. No...not...no personal possessions. Spartan.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: The chores were as nothing compared with the discipline handed out by the officers in charge.

LEWIS BLAYSE: If you spoke in your own language, you got six cuts on each hand. If you spoke during meals, six cuts on each hand. If you stepped out of line, 'cause you had to line up everywhere, six cuts on each hand.

BARRY MASLEN: I ran away from home with another boy. And...the police caught us at Eumundi and drove us back to the home. On the way back, they asked why we ran away, and we told them and they said they would look into the matter, but I don't think they ever did because nothing changed. When we got back to the home... Um...we were caned 6 times on each hand - 6 times on the knuckles - and 18 times on the backside - bare...bare behind.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Sometimes the pain endured was as much psychological as physical. Lewis Blayse was one of the cleverest boys at Indooroopilly, and he helped organise an escape attempt. When the boys were caught, he had to watch while his mates were brutally punished.

LEWIS BLAYSE: Boys had been escaping, which is part of what you do in boys' homes, and when they brought them back, you know, they were sort of stripped naked, beaten with a bloody rubber hose over a vaulting horse, and we all had to stand around and watch. You know, it was, like...ridiculous. It just got worse and worse - you know, beating people...you know.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: That's completely unacceptable, isn't it?

JOHN DALZIEL: Absolutely. There is no justification for it whatsoever in any circumstances and, even at the time, the Salvation Army did not condone that.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Lewis Blayse lives alone in a ramshackle house in the country. His years in children's homes left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Like so many former state wards, he's a loner. His marriage has broken down, even though his wife Sylvia remains his greatest supporter. On one thing they both agree - the emotional price paid by them all has been high.

SYLVIA BLAYSE: There's been a lot of screaming, a lot of fighting, a lot of throwing glasses on the floor, a lot of breaking furniture. That's as violent as we ever got, really. But there's been so much anger in our family. That's really, I guess, the main effect.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Has Lew ever tried to harm himself?

SYLVIA BLAYSE: Yes, he's tried to suicide a number of times.

LEWIS BLAYSE: If anybody is to be compensated, I'd say it was my family, because they, you know... You compensate a breadwinner if he's killed at work or something. If they're psychologically killed...the family should still be compensated.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: In the 1950s and 1960s in Queensland, some boys like Wally McLeod, who the authorities thought wouldn't benefit from a school education, were dispatched instead to a Salvation Army training farm called Riverview. The boys worked from 4:00 in the morning in the dairy, milking cows.

BARRY MASLEN: If you spoke while you were milking, we were flogged with a stockwhip. The stockwhip was used exclusively in the dairy.

WALLY McLEOD: I still have dreams of seeing blood coming from boys' backsides, as we were...we were strap...we were hit from the...we were naked from the waist down when we were punished.

LENEEN FORDE, COMMISSIONER, FORDE INQUIRY: They were maybe more brutal times, but certainly that was not acceptable at any time. To horsewhip a child, for goodness' sakes, no.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Leneen Forde is one of Australia's foremost experts on the abuse of children in state institutions. Four years ago, the former Queensland governor delivered a landmark report into the State's institutional homes. Her investigations came to be known as the Forde Inquiry.

LENEEN FORDE: We had a job to do, and so we had to keep in control and... But the staff on the inquiry - we were all affected by these terrible stories that we heard, and all had the feeling that it could have happened to any one of us or to anybody.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Homes run by many institutions were criticised. One was Riverview, which had a punitive regime.

WALLY McLEOD: All boys would be marched into the recreation room. The boy or the boys that were in trouble would be called out into the centre. They would be made drop their trousers and underpants, bent over with hands touching the toes and they would be given anything up to 10 to 15 of the cane or the strap. And if you left that position, you got extra.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: How would you describe the officers who carried out these punishments?

WALLY McLEOD: Absolute mongrels. I...I can't think of other words for 'em, and these people call themselves Christians.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: There are even more serious allegations. Barry Maslen says he was sexually abused at Riverview.

BARRY MASLEN: While this particular officer was on night duty, he used to come into the dormitory and...he used to pick different boys, but when he chose me, he'd sit beside the bed and he'd rub my leg, eventually working it up, his hand up underneath my pyjama trousers, and fondle my penis. And then he would ask me if I would like a cup of hot Milo or some biscuits or lollies - which is something that was never, ever given to us, and, of course, I said yes. And then once we got to his room, he started fondling me again and I was sodomised and I had oral sex performed on me. And that's how I acquired the name of one of that particular officer's bum boys.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Barry Maslen recalls that there were four other boys who were liable to be abused whenever the officer was on dormitory duty.

Did you talk about it together?

BARRY MASLEN: Yes, we did.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Did you talk about taking any action against him?

BARRY MASLEN: Well, we did, but...we were just frightened of getting the retribution of...of being flogged.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Was he a flogger?

BARRY MASLEN: Oh, yeah. Terrible.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: The last occasion Barry Maslen was abused was at Christmas time. Decades later, the emotional damage done to him by the experience continued to cause havoc.

BARRY MASLEN: One particular Christmas, my wife said, "Why do you make Christmas so hard for us?" And I couldn't tell her, and she said, "Well, either you tell me or we're out of here." So I just wept and wept and wept and I told her, 'cause I had it bottled up inside me for...for...nearly 40, 45 years - 40-odd years.

DR WAYNE CHAMLEY, BROKEN RITES: They cannot hold down jobs, they have major problems with alcohol, they are major users of public housing. Many are on the streets. They trust no-one. They're the classic loners that we see in society.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Lewis Blayse, Wally McLeod and Barry Maslen have all taken their complaints to the Salvation Army. None of them is satisfied with the outcome. Lewis Blayse hasn't been compensated by the Salvation Army for the psychological trauma which he says he suffered at Indooroopilly. Wally McLeod was offered $5,000, rejected it, and eventually accepted $20,000.

What did you feel about the fact that they offered you $5,000 to start with?

WALLY McLEOD: It was humiliation to the...humiliation to the very best. I was devastated.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Barry Maslen lodged a complaint five years ago. The Army's divisional commander, happy that Maslen was now a born-again Christian, told him that the blood of Jesus would cleanse him of his sense of dirtiness and filthiness, and gave him a sincere apology. But when the complaint was passed on to Sydney headquarters, the Salvation Army offered him 10 sessions of counselling.

BARRY MASLEN: I think it was an insult, to be quite honest.

JOHN DALZIEL: There's first of all counselling that takes place so that we can work through the issues, and we don't promise any more at that stage, but as the counselling unfolds and other issues become evident, then we offer help based on that. And if there have been expenses in the past, we offer help with those expenses and, um...even to the tune of legal expenses.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Shouldn't the Salvation Army be making restitution?

JOHN DALZIEL: Where we can make restitution, we have done, and there have been a number of cases where we've done that...but we don't offer carte blanche up front, a fee. That...that's an insult too. What we say is, "We want to work with you on this process."

(PHOTOGRAPH LABELLED 'KALIMNA')

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: It wasn't only home boys who were abused. In 1959, Trish Pascoe arrived at a correctional facility for girls in care in Queensland called Kalimna, which was also run by the Salvation Army. Trish Pascoe was already traumatised. Three younger sisters had died at a very young age, both parents were alcoholics, and her father had been abusing her for years.

TRISH PASCOE: From the time I was about 11, the abuse got really bad for a year - worse than it ever been when I was a little younger, and I used to go out Friday night and Saturday night when he was drunk and sit around in parks and down by the river and stuff like that, waiting for him to go to sleep. And the police picked me up one night and said what am I doing sitting there? Of course, I wouldn't tell 'em. Then, the next day they said, "You're going to court," and I said, "What have I done?" and they said, "You know what you've done." And I thought they meant...what I'd done.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: So, Trish, let me just ask you this - so you thought you were being punished for what your father had done to you?

TRISH PASCOE: (Tearfully) Yes.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: As soon as Trish Pascoe arrived at Kalimna, she was put into solitary confinement.

TRISH PASCOE: I was locked up in a tiny little room. Well, I thought it was two weeks - it might've been a bit less, but I thought it was around about two weeks.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Why did they lock you up?

TRISH PASCOE: Well, when I asked her why she was locking me up, she said so I'd know what it was like and I wouldn't play up or do anything wrong.

BEVERLEY FITZGERALD: A child comes into an institution and it's almost like an orientation session - "This is how we do business here. You are powerless, we are in authority, you will now knuckle down and stop this wickedness and become a good child."

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: For someone who's been abused at home, who's run away from home, who's picked up by the police, is then sent to Kalimna, locked up as soon as she arrives - isn't that a profoundly damaging thing to do to her?

JOHN DALZIEL: I think, if it's done in the way you describe, it would be. I would hope it was never done like that, but if it was, then the Salvation Army can only offer apologies to girls that suffered that.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Veronica Girle shared Trish Pascoe's experience of solitary confinement. In her case, she says, she was locked up for months because she wouldn't own up to stealing two salt shakers which were found in her locker.

VERONICA GIRLE: It was a pitch-dark room the size of an average bedroom with a mattress on the floor, no potty, no water, dark - very dark. They'd bring a tray in three times a day, and those three times a day, you were marched out to the toilet, which was just around the corner. One minute to have a...go to the toilet, four minutes, like, for your shower. Of course, coming out of a dark room only three times a day after five and a half months, you know, you go pretty crazy, which I did do.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: You're telling me you spent five and a half months...?

VERONICA GIRLE: Almost five and a half months.

JOHN DALZIEL: I could only imagine that it was done as a punishment rather than as a treatment. Doesn't justify it. I'm just saying that's the only reason it would've happened.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Veronica Girle and other women from Kalimna told the Forde Inquiry about the long and arduous hours spent working in the laundry.

VERONICA GIRLE: We had to iron starched...very stiff, starched uniforms, and they were really stiff. They had to rattle when they were finished ironing, and they had to have no creases, and you had to do so many a day.

TRISH PASCOE: We just ironed from the time we got there in the morning till it was time to finish in the afternoon.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: How many hours?

TRISH PASCOE: Oh, at least eight and a half.

DR WAYNE CHAMLEY: Children were put into a situation where they were doing unpaid work 30, 40 hours a week. They were supposed to be getting an education. They were not getting any education at all. And these child slaves were just given nothing and at 18 years of age, shown the door - "Out you go, we've got someone else to replace you in the factory or the laundry or out on the farm."

JOHN DALZIEL: The real purpose of that laundry was as part of that custodial sentence that, um...it was more or less expected that the Salvation Army would implement by the State Government.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Were the girls who worked in the laundry paid?

JOHN DALZIEL: No, they weren't.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Were the boys working on the farm paid?

JOHN DALZIEL: No, they weren't.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: After the Forde Inquiry, a group of former Kalimna residents lodged complaints with the Salvation Army. The Army didn't accept Veronica Girle's account of her solitary confinement, but it gave her, and several others, ex gratia payments of $10,000 - with secrecy clauses attached.

VERONICA GIRLE: To me, it wasn't the money. I wasn't after the money. It was the fact that they should come clean and say, "OK, we did this to these kids."

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: So what did you do next?

VERONICA GIRLE: Well, when they wrote to me and told me they'd talk to me in town, um, I did accept compensation - 'hush money', as I will call it - to be quiet.

JOHN DALZIEL: The Salvation Army is not into hush money at all.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: But the effect of it is to stop them, some of them, talking about those stories.

JOHN DALZIEL: Well, we've never suggested they can't talk about the stories. We've just suggested that we would like them to keep confidential the payments that were made to them, that's all.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the Salvation Army took charge of 30,000 children in 35 homes around Australia, and it wasn't alone in keeping what went on inside those homes secret.

JOHN CLEARY, AUTHOR, 'SALVO!': The Army were like all the churches and government institutions. I mean, you were in a society which was in denial about sexuality, um, sexuality was repressed. Kids didn't talk about it, adults didn't talk about it. "Children should be seen and not heard." I mean, I have no doubt that, um, you know...that you're talking about a period in which repression was...was the initial instinct.

JOHN DALZIEL: Especially amongst male officers, there was this feeling that tough love was the best love that could be given because it allowed, uh, the young boys to experience for the first time something that was consistent in their lives. There's no getting round it - that there were a significant number of officers who were tough, but they were never authorised to use corporal punishment.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Well, how did they get away with it?

JOHN DALZIEL: Often because the person in charge either did it themselves or turned a blind eye to it.

(PHOTOGRAPH LABELLED 'BEXLEY')

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: But does the Salvation Army have more to answer for than its fair share of horror stories from the Forde Inquiry? In NSW, Kevin Marshall entered the Salvation Army's Bexley Boys' Home when he was six, because his mother couldn't look after him. A few months later, she committed suicide.

KEVIN MARSHALL: I was called into the chapel one morning and told that my mother was dead, um, wasn't coming back to see me. I broke into tears - quite traumatic, obviously. After a while, I was told just to shut up and get on with life, and that was it. Nobody told me what happened to my mother, where she was buried, what arrangements were made for her, nothing. It took me, I think, years. It wasn't until the mid-'80s I managed to track down where her remains were cremated and found out what happened to her.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: As was the custom in Queensland's Salvation Army homes, life at Bexley was strictly regimented.

KEVIN MARSHALL: The showers were, now I think back, I think, extremely bizarre. You'd basically line up in front of your locker, on command, you would strip down to completely naked and then you would file out into the bathroom. Basically you'd line up naked under the guise of one or two Salvation Army personnel and go through a footbath, and then stand in line and go through a shower with seven other boys.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: This man, who doesn't want to be identified, spent ten and a half years at Bexley. He was left there by his mother when he was five.

MAN IN SHADOW: We were each allocated a number from the day we went in, and every article of clothing or anything that we owned was put...that number was put on.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: What was your number?

MAN IN SHADOW: My number was 68.

(FOOTAGE OF ANOTHER MAN WORKING IN WORKSHOP)

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: This man, too, doesn't wish to be identified. At the age of 10, he was living rough with his older sister and 9-year-old brother after being abandoned in Sydney by their mother. He was picked up by the police, and the two boys were separated from their sister and taken to Bexley, where, he says, his younger brother was raped by an older boy on his first night.

SECOND MAN IN SHADOW: The second night I was there, I was bashed by, um...by one of the officers there. And, um, yeah, welcome to the real world.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Were the officers physically violent towards you?

KEVIN MARSHALL: They were. Yes, they were. Um...again, looking at it as an adult, I suppose it's probably the quickest way of dealing with boys who don't respond to words, but... Yeah, they were. You were bashed, you were hit, and at an early age. I remember being hit about the head, bashed on the arms and the face as well when I was six.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: According to all three men, this kind of cruelty was typical of officers each of them can vividly remember. One in particular stands out - Captain Lawrence Wilson.

MAN IN SHADOW: I had a reputation of having a very fiery tongue, and Wilson didn't like people being called names, so he asked one of the other boys who the main name-caller was, and he told him it was me. And at that stage I hadn't done anything wrong, but I was called up to the office and I was thrashed from head to toe with a cane, only because this boy had said I was the main name-caller.

SECOND MAN IN SHADOW: I was in the dining room and I laughed, and he told me to stop laughing and I couldn't. And then, um, eventually he come up and just punched me right in the side of the head. I fell to the ground. Then he dragged me, kicked me and punched me all the way to his office, caned me about 18, 20 times, threw me out in the corridor and told me to go.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Bexley Boys' Home in the 1970s was presented as a happy, caring environment. But as in the Queensland homes, the abuse there wasn't only physical. Kevin Marshall remembers a parade of men and older boys preying on the younger children.

KEVIN MARSHALL: When I was younger, some of the people that'd come in would either try to target you or get you into a room between the two dormitories or in the laundry. Some older boys grew up with that environment so they thought preying on younger boys was normal.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: What did they do to you?

KEVIN MARSHALL: Um...tried to sodomise me. Tried to make me perform oral sex on them, fondle my genitals, have me fondle their genitals. There were also places where, if you were out of the home - a camp or somewhere - people there would try doing things.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: The most serious allegations are that the home's senior officer in 1974, Captain Wilson, was himself responsible for sexual abuse. Four Corners has spoken to one of Wilson's alleged victims who wants to move on with his life, but allowed us to talk to his psychologist - a man who, in his early career, had extensive experience with kids needing care from the state.

MARK BLOWS, PSYCHOLOGIST: When the children were sent to a Salvation Army home, we used to say, "Thank God for the Salvos," because we thought they were going to be treated better than in the state homes. I was wrong. This story really shocked me. Very soon after he went to that place at a young and tender age, under the age of eight, he was actually put across a desk... He described the desk to me, the grains of the desk. And an attempt was made to penetrate him - to rape him. Before that, he'd received a caning, and then he was succoured and...as if comforted...then placed across the desk. And that sort of thing happened a number of times, and it always happened in that very sadistic context.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Who raped him?

MARK BLOWS: The...man who was in charge of the Salvation Army home.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Captain Wilson?

MARK BLOWS: Yes.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: That was his story?

MARK BLOWS: That Captain Lawrence Wilson, yes.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Do you believe him?

MARK BLOWS: Yes, yes, I believed him. We spent three years together checking and rechecking and going through this, and unravelling the effects of these experiences.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: The man who made these allegations would eventually be paid a substantial sum by the Salvation Army as part of a secret settlement. More than 20 years after these events, Captain Wilson was arrested and charged with a number of sexual offences relating to his time at Bexley. In an interview with detectives, Wilson described himself as a 'disciplinarian', but vehemently denied any sexual assaults. At his trial, the men who complained about Wilson were cross-examined, with the suggestion they were colluding in their stories.

What did it feel like to be told you were making it up, or not remembering it properly or lying?

KEVIN MARSHALL: Oh... (Sighs) ..rather comical, really. You know, it's par for the course. It's what you were told as a kid - "You must be lying. This doesn't happen. These are good people."

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Is it all true?

KEVIN MARSHALL: It is all true. It is all true.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: While the criminal case took its course, lawyers representing three old Bexley boys prepared to sue Wilson and the Salvation Army for damages in the civil courts. The Salvation Army's lawyers had already negotiated a secret deal with the witness who had told his story to psychologist Mark Blows - paying him a substantial sum. After the payment was made, Wilson was acquitted by the jury in his criminal trial, and walked free.

MAN IN SHADOW: I believed in the...the justice system that unless a person is 100% guilty or found guilty, then they're innocent until proven, only for the fact that as kids, we were guilty until proven innocent. And I'm still disappointed in the verdict, but that was the...the jury's decision and I just got on with life.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Now, the men we've interviewed from Bexley say they were beaten and bashed by officers in the home. Do you accept that this did take place?

JOHN DALZIEL: Yes, we do.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Some of the men say they were sexually abused by older boys, by volunteers and even by the captain who was in charge. Do you accept that this abuse took place?

JOHN DALZIEL: We accept that it's very likely it did, but we have no proof that it did.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: When Captain Wilson came to trial, what was the Salvation Army's attitude?

JOHN DALZIEL: That, uh...we would not support him in any way, and that if victims needed support, we would help them.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Did you expect Captain Wilson to be acquitted?

JOHN DALZIEL: No, we didn't.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: What was your reaction when he was?

JOHN DALZIEL: Um...we were surprised.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Dealing with these matters in court a quarter-century later highlighted the difficulty former home boys and girls face in bringing alleged abusers to justice.

LENEEN FORDE: The trouble is the people that were abused have a hard time in court. They're not really first-class witnesses in most cases and, er...and the juries have a doubt as to whether they should really convict the person, and that's very unfortunate.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Following Wilson's acquittal, the Salvation Army's lawyers strongly resisted the civil claims of the three Bexley men who had not yet been compensated, arguing that the statute of limitations would prevent them from pursuing the action for damages.

JOHN DALZIEL: That's the first time I've heard that, and they should not have said it, because, as I've previously stated, we have no statute of limitations applying to victims of the Salvation Army.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Well, your lawyers have quoted the statute of limitations in defence of the Salvation Army's position.

JOHN DALZIEL: Well, the Salvation Army makes it clear that we will never close the book on anyone that has gone through our care as long as they live, and I believe we've demonstrated that with the people that we've been helping.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Seeing the statute of limitations as a major obstacle, the three men agreed to settle the case.

How much did they pay you?

MAN IN SHADOW: They paid me $85,000.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: The practice of secret payments to former inmates wasn't new to the Salvation Army. In 1966, Kerry Gormley was in care in a cottage in a Salvation Army home in Western Australia. One of the cottage parents was Alan Smith. Kerry Gormley remembers one morning in particular.

KERRY GORMLEY: He came early in the morning to wake me up and he said, "Well, look, you don't have to get up just yet. You can get up later." And he sat on the bed and he was patting my hand, and, um, his erection was actually showing out of his pyjamas, and he was trying to get my hand to...touch him, and, at that time, I...I didn't want that. I fought back. Um, you know, there was times when he used to come back in the evenings and...and literally sodomise me.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: 30 years later, Alan Smith, lying low in Tasmania, was arrested and flown back to Perth to face the courts. The Salvation Army had already dismissed him back in 1974 after he confessed to abusing three young men. Astonishingly, they had then rehired him in 1979.

How on earth can you justify that?

JOHN DALZIEL: Now...I can't. Though you must understand that the Salvation Army believes in, um, rehabilitation...for all people, so the way in which it would have been justified by the Salvation Army leaders at that time is that - one, he has confessed and admitted all his faults, he has stated he will never commit them again, and the Salvation Army will make sure that he's never, ever employed in any way near children or even in the same State in which the events took place. Now, I'm not justifying it. It shouldn't have been done and was wrong, but that is the way in which it was justified at the time.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Because he pleaded guilty, Smith was sentenced without the need for a trial. As in New South Wales, several financial settlements were negotiated and the victims were asked to sign confidentiality agreements.

Why do you think they did that?

KERRY GORMLEY: To stop us from talking - like I am now to you.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Are you trying to muzzle the victims?

JOHN DALZIEL: No, we're not trying to muzzle the victims. We are doing it for their own benefit. It is not always a good thing to make public a private thing like that. Now, in some cases it does benefit them and psychologists will recommend that people do it, but as I understand it, it is only rarely that it is a good thing. Um...the financial amount varies according to the client concerned, but dollars speak, and we don't want that to be the criteria. We want the person to be seeking healing.

(QUENTIN McDERMOTT AND KEVIN MARSHALL WALK TOWARDS THE GATE AT BEXLEY)

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Kevin, you must have very mixed emotions indeed coming back here.

KEVIN MARSHALL: Very strong emotions, very stressful. As a matter of fact, I've jumped out of aeroplanes at night-time, and that's less stressful than coming back here today.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: What about leaving?

KEVIN MARSHALL: That feels good. Walking back from here and getting towards the gate, I can feel the tension leaving my body - heavy pressure off my chest and shoulders.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: The damage done in these homes lives on.

KEVIN MARSHALL: A particularly harrowing case, just recently, when, unfortunately, my wife and I lost our little boy. He died, and when we had the ceremony, the thing that went through my head was, apart from looking after my wife, was that there are people who will laugh at me or hurt me because I'm at a very low point in my life now. And that's what I felt. Now sitting here, thinking about it dispassionately, I can say, "That's ridiculous. That won't happen." But at the time, the emotions going through my body, I reverted back to being younger. And I think, surely, being told, you know, "Look, shut up. Your mother's dead. So what?" has something to do with that.

SECOND MAN IN SHADOW: It affects me sleeping, affects my work. I always take jobs where I'm on my own, not with other people. I've lost a lot of jobs because of my aggression, because of all this. And...you have nightmares from it, but you live with it every day.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: There's another, even darker, consequence of abuse. This man says he started being abused by older boys at Bexley when he was nine, and that, later on, Captain Wilson abused him, under the gaze of giving him a medical examination. Eventually he himself started abusing the younger boys.

MAN IN SHADOW: I remember I started enjoying some of the stuff that was happening to me when I was 13. So my mind locked in on 13-year-olds and I couldn't get out of that...that thought.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Did that ever change?

MAN IN SHADOW: No.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: It hasn't changed to this day?

MAN IN SHADOW: To be truthful, I cannot look at a 13- or 14-year-old and not think, "I wouldn't mind that."

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: When he left Bexley, he continued his association with the Salvation Army.

MAN IN SHADOW: I ran away to Adelaide and, not knowing where to turn, I turned to the Salvation Army, because that was all I knew.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: In 1994, he was arrested for sexually assaulting several young adolescents and sent to jail for four and a half years, where he underwent a sexual offenders' therapy program.

MAN IN SHADOW: I have to stay away from what's called my danger points.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: What are your danger points?

MAN IN SHADOW: Being anywhere around 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Do you recognise now that what you did was wrong?

MAN IN SHADOW: Oh, shit, yes!

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Are you sorry you did it?

MAN IN SHADOW: Yes, I am. I wish I could turn back...back time, but you just can't do it.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: This man says he was sexually abused and he then became himself an abuser. Do you, does the Salvation Army, accept some responsibility for that?

JOHN DALZIEL: It certainly accepts the fact that people who are abused become abusers. Whether they become sexual abusers is not something on which we have any resolution at the moment, but we do know that abused people become abusers, yes.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Well, he became an abuser. He became a sexual abuser.

JOHN DALZIEL: Yes.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Do you accept some responsibility for that?

JOHN DALZIEL: Yes, we do.

QUENTIN McDERMOTT: Later this year, a Senate inquiry will start hearing the stories of former state wards from around Australia. The Salvation Army will be just one of the bodies invited to answer for the way they treated children in their care.

How do you feel for these men and women who were abused?

JOHN DALZIEL: I feel that the Salvation Army has betrayed its trust. We have extremely high regard in Australia because of the superb work that's been done by so many, uh...both officers, paid staff, and especially volunteers. And it's been built up over literally millions of incidents over the years, and in these cases that we've just been talking of today, that trust has been betrayed. And to the Australian public now, I apologise.

LENEEN FORDE: Not just the Salvation Army - other church groups too, you know, they...they have to realise that there's a...it's a moral issue for them. I mean, what would Christ have done?


For more information, expert opinions, and viewers' comments go to the following link:
http://abc.net.au/4corners/content/2003/20030818_homies/default.htm

[ Date of first publication on this Website: 10 October 2003 ]


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