CLERGY sexual abuse survivor Paul Levey says he has spent his whole life trying to escape his past.
Mr Levey said he been a “broken man” since he was forced to live with notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale after his parents separated in 1982.
After being subjected to daily sexual abuse at the hands of Ridsdale, Mr Levey spent years in a haze of drugs and alcohol, trying to numb the pain.
In his private hearing, Bishop Brian Finnigan said he knew there was a boy living with Ridsdale at Mortlake in Victoria. But in the public hearing, the bishop said he only discovered that years later in commission transcripts.
He said he was struggling with his parent’s separation and Ridsdale offered to take care of him.
He said his time in the “monster cave” tore his family apart.
“It destroyed me and everything I was,” Mr Levey said.
Mr Levey broke down as he told the commission how he was forced to sleep in Ridsdale's room.
"I was sexually abused all the time, just about every day," Mr Levey said.
"I had my own bedroom at the presbytery but that was just a front. I always slept in Ridsdale's room where there were two beds. No-one else lived in the presbytery."
Mr Levey said told the inquiry last week he suffered severe depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and physiological trauma.
Mr Levey said he believed Bishop Brian Finnigan, knew he was living with Ridsdale inside the presbytery but failed to intervene.
He fought back tears as he said he still suffers from nightmares and flashbacks.
“The only reason I’m here is because of my family, my partner Michele and my three beautiful daughters,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here.”
Mr Levey had never gone public with his story until last week when he took the stand to give evidence against the disgraced priest alongside his mother Beverly.
He said a recent car accident had pushed him to seek counselling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and finally given him the courage to reveal the abhorrent sexual abuse he endured at the hands of Ridsdale.
Mr Levey and his mother, both spoke of how Ridsdale had shattered their lives.
“Hopefully more people come forward and more people are aware of what happened,” Mr Levey sad. “I just want them to say that it happened and they knew about it. To say 'we didn’t deal with it how we should have dealt with it and we’re sorry we made a monstrous mistake'.”