Victims' Stories (listen and read)

StoryCorps Interviews with SNAP members:

Rosemary Bateman's Story

What happened to Rosemary's testimony?

Hundreds of pages detailing the destruction of a family and the daily humiliation to which a little girl was subjected were handed to the Royal Commission. Friend Sylvia says, "I know, because I helped edit them. Rosemary gave everything she had to recalling her childhood, because only she knew what it had cost her, and finally she had a chance to share her story. By the time she had finished recounting her painful memories, she had written something evocative and powerful".  To continue reading about Rosemary's story and to view her documents CLICK HERE

From Bega, NSW, John's Story

BEGA District News readers may remember “John”, a victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of Maurice Van Ryn.  He has also shared his experience of finally receiving an apology from the Church – 55 years after the abuse began.  “Everyone should have the courage to stand up for the child and speak out against the paedophile,” John writes.  John has offered a compassionate and understanding ear to those trying to come to terms with abuse.
He is willing to speak with people further about his own experiences or child abuse in general, with confidentiality integral to any contact.
Send an email to BDN editor Ben Smyth on or call Ben on 6492 1177 and he will get you in touch with John.
Click here to read John's story ... 
From Bega, NSW, John's Story

Secret Tears is a clergy sexual abuse victim.

She again was abused more than twenty years later, this time by the Catholic Church when she reported to them the crime committed by one of their members.  She then embarked on a lonely, hopeless road to alert the Australian government of the fraudulent and intimidating practice of the Catholic Church when dealing with victim compensation.  Articles published by Secret Tears on May 27, 2015 and August 5, 2014 are at this ABC link:

Jennifer Herrick's Story

March 4, 2014.  Father Tom Knowles, to the horror his victim, Jennifer Herrick, and others who had suffered abuse at the hands of priests, was returned to active ministry at St Francis’ Church in Melbourne. However, due to parishoners objection, on February 24, 2013, The Age reported that the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne had removed Knowles from one of Australia’s busiest churches.  Jennifer's story can be assembled from the press accounts that have covered her case.  Her latest post in the press comes from an article in Freethinker by Barry Duke, "I also want to tell you, Barry – and I’m sure you will be pleased to know – that I recently have taken out civil court proceedings against Tom Knowles and the trustees and the still-living provincial leaders of his Order (who ought to have been aware of what he was doing, being responsible for him) in the Supreme Court of NSW."

Dubbo man Paddy* is haunted by the memories of his boarding school days 

February 8, 2014.  Paddy* was abused and tortured at the hands of his primary educator. He talked to Natalie Holmes about the bitterness and the brutality. Paddy* was just a kid when he was abused by a staff member at the Catholic college he attended. At first, it seemed like a lovely place, but the dream quickly turned into a nightmare. Now, more than half a century later, those memories still haunt him and Paddy recalls some of the horrors of that time at the hands of someone into whose care his parents had entrusted him.  CLICK HERE to read the full story.

*Paddy’s name has been changed to protect his identity. He has also chosen not to name his attacker or the school he attended.

Di Frost made her statement to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

February 8, 2014. Di Frost was just four years old when abuse started at home. Her nightmare escalated when she was also abused by a member of the Catholic Church. She recently made a statement to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and was brave enough to share her story with NATALIE HOLMES.  CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Abuse survivor speaks of his guilt

September 13, 2013. Child abuse survivor Tony Nolan explains why he believes it's important to speak up, as the Royal Commission on Child abuse prepares to hold its first hearings in Sydney.  CLICK HERE to view video of Tony.

The boy who manned up to the church    I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend …  

May 20, 2013, North Queensland Register article.  By a campfire at a school retreat, a 10-year-old boy sings Fire and Rain, James Taylor's sad and sweet ballad of the times. It is 1972. The boy is John Saunders, the youngest of nine children from a Catholic family that loves to sing. Listening are schoolmates from Marist Brothers Primary, Mosman, and a lay teacher in whom John has found a friend, a man he has come to love and trust. Twenty-five years later, in March 1997, Saunders will recall this evening while making a statement to police, detailing how the teacher betrayed that trust. And in December that year, Saunders will describe his spiral into depression to an eminent clinical psychologist commissioned by the Marist Brothers.  CLICK HERE to read the full story


Holy Hell - one family's story of sexual abuse by their priest  Interview of Patricia Feenan by Carol Duncan, ABC Newcastle, (Local Radio)

March 26, 2013. . When senior NSW Police Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox told ABC TV's Lateline programme that the Catholic Church had covered up crimes by paedophile priests, silenced investigations and destroyed evidence to avoid prosecution - the public outrage triggered a Royal Commission into institutional child abuse. One of the stories that led to this is that of Patricia Feenan's son, Daniel, a 14-year-old altar boy when first raped by a priest in the Newcastle/Maitland diocese.  CLICK HERE for the audio interview

Daniel Feenan's Story (as told by his mother Patricia)

Sunday Mar. 10, 2013, Herald Sun article. MOST people don’t understand the impact of sexual abuse. They rattle off words like ‘rape’ and ‘molestation’ but they don’t really understand it. If they did, they’d do something about it. My husband, John, and I have four boys, Daniel, Luke, Dominic and Bernard. We raised them on a 25-acre property 40 minutes from Newcastle, NSW, and led a happy life with a strong Catholic faith. The boys were 11, 10, seven and three when Father James Fletcher arrived in our parish. CLICK HERE for the rest of the story  

Chrissie and Tony Foster's Story

Mon. Nov. 12, 2012 .  Anti-child abuse campaigner Chrissie Foster who is fighting for change within the Catholic system discusses the tragic story of her daughters, who were abused over a number of years by members of the clergy.
CLICK HERE for the rest of the story

Sylvia's Story

When will the other churches come to the party?  Why are they silent and letting the Catholics take all the heat?   Aged 17 I was groomed and assaulted by an Anglican church official. Nearly 14 years after I first complained, they are still telling me to go away. In 1997, they said I had to withdraw my complaint from the Police before they would investigate.  Then they said "he didn't do it" and told me to go away.  Then after continued pressure, they appointed a barrister who said my complaint was substantiated.  Then they fired the perpetrator and told me to go away. Although they magnanimously paid for some counselling, they have never once apologised or taken responsibility for the destruction of my childhood.  They say at 17 I should have known better.  But I had only just turned 17 and was a school leaver.  I had never even seen a male unclothed before he exposed himself to me in the cathedral organ loft. I am still waiting for any form of justice. This is despite a memo obtained from the Diocesan office that detailed his molestation of a 12 year old in the 1950s!
CLICK HERE for the rest of the story


Nicky Davis Video and Interview

StoryCorps Interview with Nicky and other SNAP members:

MICHAEL EDWARDS (ABC News PM): A gloomy sky and rain provide a sombre backdrop for Nicky Davis as she visits St Anthony in the Fields Church for the first time in decades. As a child she attended mass at the parish, which is located in Terrey Hills, a suburb north of Sydney.

NICKY DAVIS: It's certainly extremely uncomfortable. It's not a place I ever want to be. I'm trying not to go down the path of remembering the abuse itself but there's also lots of feelings of how badly I was treated.

MICHAEL EDWARDS (ABC News PM): Nicky Davis says that she was abused by a member of the Passionist Order, Vincent Crawford, or Brother Brendan as he was then known.  Looking inside the church she recalls attending mass there as a young girl. She says her memories of Brother Brendan are terrifying. ... CLICK HERE for the rest of the interview  .................... CLICK HERE for Nicky's letter to Pope Benedict relating her story and struggles.


Angie Boede's Story

I am a single Mother of 6 beautiful children. I am a member of the Catholic Church community in Healesville. My eldest son who was just 14 at the time, was devoted to his faith and participated in the mass as an altar boy of the St Brigid’s Parish, He had worked under several priests before Fr Pavlou was introduced to our parish.  Fr Pavlou became infatuated with my son to the point he couldn’t go a day without seeing him. Even when I set Boundaries of their interaction he continually broke them and encouraged my son to lie to me and teachers.  CLICK HERE for the rest of the story.


Ian Lawther's Story in a letter to the Pope

Dear Pope,

I heard the other day that you apologized to five people in America who have been abused by Roman Catholic priests. Unfortunately, I feel that, like all of the Catholic Church’s efforts to deal with clergy sexual abuse, this was a gesture designed to protect the good name of the church.

But, you were not the one who had to lay awake at night, wondering if the car travelling at breakneck speed, disappearing in the distance, was the last time you would hear your son, a victim of a now convicted Roman Catholic priest, alive.

You were not the one who had to take your son to hospital at 2.30 in the morning, because he had broken three bones in his hand, in a fit of anger and guilt, because his mind had been so poisoned, that the priest was able to convince him everything was his fault.   CLICK HERE for the rest of the story.

Noreen Wood's Story

It has taken most of her life to discover, but Noreen Wood knows now she is a fighter. Like most victims of sexual abuse, she has many needs - financial, physical and emotional - but the most urgent, the one that drives her even when she feels that tackling the Catholic Church is like tilting at windmills, is for the truth to be heard and acknowledged.  CLICK HERE for the rest of the story................CLICK HERE for Related story


Betty (Payne) Millar's Story

One August evening in l947, nine-year-old Betty Millar (then Betty Payne) was called into the school hall of St Anthony's orphanage in Feltham, Middlesex, where she lived with 70 or so other children. Betty noticed that some of the home's young charges were puzzlingly absent. Without any preamble, the missing girls were brought in and the head of the orphanage announced these children had been picked to go and live in Australia, sailing the following day. Some of the children who had been picked had led such sheltered lives they thought Australia was a coastal resort in Britain, where they were going for a day trip.
CLICK HERE for the rest of the story

Victim of Denis McAlinden's Story

A NEWCASTLE woman, whose statement to future Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson about pedophile priest Denis McAlinden prompted an attempted secret defrocking of McAlinden in 1995, has lodged a formal complaint with police. "On behalf of all of the victims of Denis McAlinden, I am seeking justice," the woman wrote to Lake Macquarie Detective Inspector Dave Waddell yesterday.   CLICK HERE for the rest of the story


Michelle Goldsmith's Story

ONE of Victoria's most senior Catholic figures, Bendigo's Bishop Joseph Grech, broke church rules by leaking an abuse complainant's details, and allegedly described her as ''crazy''.  Bishop Grech was forced to write a letter of apology to Eaglehawk resident Michelle Goldsmith after an internal church inquiry headed by a senior Catholic cleric.  Bishop Grech breached the confidentiality designed to protect a clerical abuse victim when he spoke about Mrs Goldsmith with the former Eaglehawk parish president. ... CLICK HERE for the rest of the story

Michael Rounce's Story

More than 30 years ago Mary and Mike Rounce told Catholic Bishop Leo Clarke of their concerns about priest and St Pius X teacher John Denham and his behaviour with their son Michael. On Friday in Sydney District Court Judge Helen Syme sentenced former Hunter paedophile priest John Denham to jail until at least June 2022. Today the Rounces will tell Maitland Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone how Bishop Clarke’s failure to act, along with many others including St Pius X principal Tom Brennan, contributed to Michael’s death. ... CLICK HERE for the rest of the story

Marthasville woman helps victims of clergy sex abuse   Judy Block-Jones, SNAP Midwest Asso. Dir.: her story.

Judy's Story-in a video presentation   Judy Block-Jones, SNAP Midwest Asso. Dir.: her story.

"Coming out of the Shadows of Sexual Abuse"   Video of interview with three victims