12 students from the Ballarat Catholic school photograph their own lives after abuse
It should be a photo filled with happy childhood memories, but instead it tells the tragedy of a community torn by horrific child abuse.
The photo shows the 1973 class 4 of the Christian Brothers School of St. Alipius in Ballarat. In the second row from the front, Philip Nagle is fourth from the right with his head tilted.
Looking at the image today instead of getting a smile on his face, it only evokes feelings of sadness and anger, claiming that 12 of the 33 students portrayed in the photo committed suicide because of the sexual and physical mistreatment that took place at the school.
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Philip Nagle (circled) claims that 12 of the 33 students in the photo committed suicide because of the sexual abuse that took place at the school
But Mr. Nagle believes that what happened to his deceased classmates will not be forgotten.
The 50-year-old was the first person summoned Tuesday at the opening of the Royal Commission on Institutional Child Sex Abuse, a pedophile ring involving Catholic clergy in Ballarat in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
At the end of his testimony, he asked for a minute's silence to honor his 12 classmates. His only hope now is that more people will be revealed about the heinous crimes that took place at St Alipius so that justice can still be done.
& # 39; If more of my classmates come forward, fewer of them will commit suicide (in the future). Because those who don't come forward are the ones who kill themselves. Twelve in my class committed suicide, & Mr. Nagle told Daily Mail Australia.
Mr Nagle said that some did it indirectly after years of alcoholism and drug use, because they could not cope with what was done to them.
Mr. Nagle, 50, was the first person to be summoned Tuesday at the opening of the Royal Commission on Institutional Child Sex Abuse
& # 39; Some didn't even reach it until 50 years old, some didn't even reach 40. They reach a breaking point and can't handle it anymore, & # 39; he says.
Some of Australia's most notorious abusers, including Gerald Ridsdale, Robert Best and Edward Dowlan, were part of a pedophile ring that operated at St Alipius & # 39; and St Patrick & # 39; s College.
Mr. Nagle, 50, was repeatedly sexually abused by Stephen Farrell, who was a Christian brother at school.
& # 39; He was our teacher at the time. Because Risdale and others were such serious offenders, Farrell flew under the radar, & he told Daily Mail Australia.
Gerald Ridsdale was part of a pedophile ring that worked at St Alipius & # 39; and St Patrick & # 39; s College
& # 39; Only three victims of Farrell have emerged – myself, my brother and another victim. He has 10 convictions of this. But because people like Risdale and Best had many victims who came forward and Farrell did not, he faintly got away. & # 39;
Farrell didn't even go to jail. He received a suspended sentence of two years and three months for his crimes.
& # 39; Reedsdale got much more because his offenses were so bad and more people came forward. But Farrell was also part of the pedophile ring, & Mr. 39 says. Nagle.
He knows other victims of Farrell, but he was warned by the police not to hunt for the victim and is not allowed to name them.
Ridsdale was jailed in 1994 for pedophile money for stealing children between 1967 and 1987
& # 39; I have spoken with a few of them, but they are not ready to do anything about it & # 39 ;, he says.
What he had to endure at St Alipius & # 39; is branded in his psyche. Nothing can erase the horrible ordeal that he had to endure through Farrell.
& # 39; He was too strong for me. I was just a nine year old boy. He would just get you alone, wrestle you, and sexually abuse you, & Mr. 39 said. Nagle to Daily Mail Australia.
& # 39; You must realize that we were just small children and that they were adults, so we had no chance.
& # 39; They were probably men of God in their black robes. Priests and Christian brothers were held in higher esteem that your parents still had at the time, they were flawless.
It all happened over a 12-month period. We were terrified. It has ruined our lives. & # 39;
Gordon Hill told the investigation that he was brought to the St Joseph & # 39; s House in Ballarat in 1946 and was initially abused by a priest when he was only five years old
He is still devastated that Farrell did not go to jail and believes that conditional penalties for such crimes are simply unacceptable.
His comments came as Gordon Hill, 72, the investigation told on Wednesday that in 1946 he was brought to the St Joseph & # 39; s House in Ballarat as a three-year-old and was initially abused at the age of five by a priest in a place called & # 39 ; the horror rooms & # 39 ;.
But Nagle & # 39; s struggle for justice continues.
& # 39; I don't know what the investigation will accomplish unless they begin to persuade some of these perpetrators to take the position, but I was very happy with the process, "he says.
& # 39; In Ballarat we become & # 39; survivors & # 39; We come together as a group of survivors of this atrocity and try to help these other victims live. & # 39;
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