Australia

Former students suing Mentone Grammar over historic abuse claims from 1970s


Mr Whitcher, whose attorneys are to file the same writ and who has recognized himself within the 1977 {photograph}, mentioned he was abused by one instructor after initially refusing to open his coat, and that he just lately spoke to a different former classmate who recalled being bodily dragged from his tent to the road.

“It was [considered] a ritual passage for boys becoming men … ‘man up and accept it’,” he mentioned.

“They took it upon themselves out of arrogance, out of control, while the whole environment was isolated.”

The mates recall about 10 males – both lecturers “dressed up” in navy gear or church figures from the realm – have been current through the alleged abuse, both immediately concerned or watching.

Afterwards, the chums recall, the boys felt betrayed and humiliated, however discussing the incident was “taboo” for the remainder of the 10-day camp and after they returned house to their households.

“None of us wanted to talk about it because it was so shameful,” Mr Sheppard mentioned.

“And I think they [the teachers] knew that too. We were young boys, and they did it just to exploit us sexually.”

Mr Sheppard alleges he was additionally abused at cadet camps in 1978 and 1979 when aged 15 and 16. He mentioned he skilled pangs of dread throughout sleepless nights earlier than every camp.

Mr Whitcher mentioned he was so anxious earlier than the 1978 camp he requested if his pal’s sister, then a registered nurse, may assist.

“She didn’t ask why, she may have had her suspicions … she put a plaster cast on my arm,” he mentioned.

“That was the only exemption you could get to get out of the cadet camp. I was so relieved. I stopped wetting the bed, I was able to function.” He gained an exemption by means of his sporting abilities to keep away from the 1979 camp.

Mr Sheppard, a retired police officer, and Mr Whitcher, an ambulance paramedic educator, mentioned they have been able to recall their ordeals in court docket if essential.

Shine Lawyers mentioned each males had been identified with post-traumatic stress dysfunction and different psychological well being issues immediately associated to the abuse.

Mr Sheppard mentioned the ordeal modified him from a vigorous boy to a reserved and jumpy teen who turned an at instances bitter man who thought of suicide.

“Someone needs to speak out” over what occurred, he mentioned, to deal with what his writ alleges was a breach of care by his former college to its college students.

Some lecturers on the camps have since died, however Mr Whitcher mentioned he discovered it galling the varsity honoured these males for his or her careers.

“You think, ‘What a load of shit’ knowing they were sexual predators … that got to me and I thought I can’t have this ebbing and flowing in my life all the time,” he mentioned.

“It just started a flame in me that hasn’t subsided. I want justice for it.”

Mentone Grammar is but to file a response to the court docket and in an announcement didn’t say whether or not it could contest the boys’s allegations. It declined a request for an interview.

Acting principal Jarrod O’Neill mentioned within the assertion: “We abhor any past situations that have created any kind of student abuse and want to express our most sincere apologies for any historical failings.

“We stand ready to provide pastoral support, including assistance with counselling, to any affected student.”

Mr O’Neill mentioned the allegations have been being investigated, but it surely was inappropriate to remark additional.

Sara Kaurin, a senior affiliate in abuse regulation at Shine, mentioned Mr Sheppard and Mr Whitcher hoped the varsity acknowledged the ache inflicted on them and different former college students.

“Our clients have shown great courage in coming forward to seek compensation for the abuse they suffered,” Ms Kaurin mentioned.

“Since doing so, more former students have contacted us to speak out and seek compensation for themselves, which has only strengthened our clients’ resolve to seek justice for what happened.”

If you or anybody you understand wants help, you possibly can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

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