12 students had told the school's principal or the church that they had been sexually abused by Father Tony Caruana.

Australia: Clergy abuse victim wins $20,000 payout - Comment on 2012 November 24 (5)

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2012 November 24 (5)

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One of at least 12 students who allege they were sexually abused by a priest at a New South Wales Catholic school has been awarded compensation by the state government. Read more:

Extracts from an article of today:

 

Clergy abuse victim wins $20,000 payout

One of at least 12 students who allege they were sexually abused by a priest at a New South Wales Catholic school has been awarded compensation by the state government.

Cameron Searl, a former student of Chevalier College in Bowral, was awarded $20,000 by the Victims Compensation Tribunal in December 2008 after it determined he had been sexually abused between 1984 and 1985 by a priest who taught music at the school.

The head of Missionaries of Sacred Heart, Father John Mulrooney, last week confirmed that 12 students had told the school's principal or the church that they had been sexually abused by Father Tony Caruana during the 1980s.

Former students who allege they were abused by Father Caruana have claimed that the school discouraged them from reporting the abuse to their parents and police.

But Father Mulrooney has disputed this, saying records showed the school had passed on complaints to police.

''Twelve students then made statements, which were then taken immediately to the local police,'' he said.

It is understood neither the school nor the Missionaries of Sacred Heart retain any copies of the statements provided to police.

Mr Searl, who was 13 when he was allegedly abused, says he was groomed after music lessons at the school for months before the molestation took place. ''It pretty much destroyed my ability to have a normal adolescence,'' Mr Searl, now 42, said. ''I told the headmaster and the school's counsellor but nothing happened.''

Mr Searl said he had decided to speak publicly about his ordeal after Prime Minister Julia Gillard's announcement of a royal commission on child sexual abuse.

''I think it is important for people who had that happen to them to make sure things are out in the public domain because there has been enough secrecy around this for too long. Only then will the church and everyone else move on and perhaps solve the wider issue of paedophilia.''

 

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