THE Warrnambool victim of a Catholic brother who sexually abused five young boys in the 1970s while giving them sports massages has welcomed a three-year jail term imposed on Monday.
"I don’t think the pain will never go away," the victim said.
Gerard Joseph McNamara, 80, pleaded guilty at the Melbourne County Court to sexually assaulting the aspiring athletes when he was sports master and principal of St Paul's Catholic College in Traralgon between 1970 and 1975, including one boy he abused 30 times.
Judge Duncan Allen condemned McNamara's "abhorrent" actions as he jailed him for three years, but all but nine months was suspended given the offender's age, ill health and remorse.
The Warrnambool man said the victims were “pretty pleased” with the jail term imposed and had been warned by the prosecutor that minimum term would be at the lower end of the scale.
He said reporting the indecent assault and finally making a statement to police had been extremely stressful.
"I still have in my mind the shed and the smell of dencorub. I do not think this will ever go away," he said.
"In more recent times I have gained a clearer understanding of how this assault directly impacted me, particularly during my teen years and how it had a major impact on the things that I gave up.
"I went from being very outgoing and involved in a wide range of activities to being isolated and withdrawn."
He said being “the chosen ones” of Brother Gerard led to bullying and he became embarrassed and ashamed.
"I would often run home from the bus stop quickly to get to the toilet. I was very reluctant to use the toilets at school," he said. "When playing football I would not have a shower after any games even when it was very muddy and wet. I would wait until I got home".
The victim said Brother McNamara was a strict disciplinarian.
"I would not even think to ask Brother McNamara questions about what he was doing to me in the shed," he said. "I could not say anything to my parents as they also had complete trust in the brothers. I doubt whether they would believe me."
The victim said he completely withdrew from sport, including his great passions football and athletics, and isolated himself by spending most of his time in his bedroom.
"My final years at secondary school were very disruptive. My school work really suffered and to avoid being noticed I would sit at the back of the room," he said.
"Due to the stress of what had happened in the previous years, I failed to pass my form six."
The victim said the trauma of being abused impacted on his relationships throughout his life.
"I was always quiet, but this trauma has resulted in me becoming a very introverted person," he said.
"My mood swings are difficult for those around me to deal with. I have been diagnosed with severe stress, severe anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"When I provided a statement to the police about the indecent assault by Brother McNamara it was the first time that I had told anyone about the assault in detail."
The victim said it took him nine months after his initial disclosure to have the courage to make a formal statement to police.
"I was extremely anxious and it was very difficult for me to talk about what happened," he said.
"It was very hard to discuss the details of the abuse with the police, although in hindsight I felt relieved that I had reported the abuse."
He said he felt let down by the Catholic school system and those within it, in particular those in positions of authority.
"The cover ups and the decisions not to follow through with complaints make me feel very angry," he said.
"Any time issues are brought up in the media I feel sick and disgusted with what has happened in the past."
The victim said he found it difficult just to get out bed each day.
"I find it difficult to go anywhere where there will be large groups of people with the fear that I might see someone I know," he said.
"I have virtually become a prisoner in my home.
"I feel that every time I seem to take a step forward something triggers me to go a number of steps backwards," he said.