A Former St Patrick's College student has told an inquiry of a culture of depraved sexual abuse and brutality which existed inside the school during the 1970s.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard from victim BWF on Tuesday.
He told the hearing how he attempted to seek help from the Catholic Church after his younger brother BWG was brutally bashed and molested by disgraced brother Edward Dowlan in 1973.
His evidence sparked more allegations about Cardinal George Pell’s intricate knowledge of abuse at the school.
“I went to the presbytery on the corner of Sturt Street and Dawson Street to seek out Father George Pell,” he said. “He was a well-known influential priest in the area and I wanted someone of authority outside of the school to know what was happening there and somebody who would be able to do something about it.”
BWF, then 14, told the inquiry the conversation quickly became heated.
“Pell became angry and yelled at me….’young man, how dare you knock on this door and make demands.’ We argued for a bit then and he finally told me to go away and shut the door on me,” he said.
BWF told the inquiry how Dowlan would often “hover” over the boys while they slept and fondle their genitals under their blankets.
“(In class)Dowlan used to come behind me and tell me to sit up straight,” BWF told the inquiry. “He would then smash me on both ears with his open hands. This happened very often and on one occasion, he did it so hard that I could not hear anything for about two hours. I thought that I had gone deaf.”
He said the Christian brothers would often watch the boys showering and “say smutty things.”
BWF said when he was late to class one day, he was forced to have a cold shower with another young boy while the brothers looked on.
He said they huddled together at the back of the shower, trying to keep warm while the younger boy cried.
Under intense cross-examination by Cardinal Pell’s lawyer Sam Duggan questioned the validity of BWF’s claims and told the inquiry Cardinal Pell did not live in the presbytery in question when the alleged incident occurred.
“I want to suggest to you that you are making this story up visiting Father Pell at the cathedral presbytery and you never confronted him there, do you accept that?” Mr Duggan said.
He questioned BWF about how he knew his brother had been sexually abused and not just physically beaten.
BWF said his brother had severe bruising to his legs and buttocks.
He said he instinctively knew he’d been sexually abused and his brother confirmed it to him years later.