Abuse of children at Marylands School in Christchurch was so rife it was described as a state-supported, church-run brothel for paedophiles. But so far the spotlight has focused on a handful of individual abusers. An inquiry this week tried to find out how deep the rot went.
Alan Nixon nearly had to burn a church down to get noticed.
After Nixon racked up 400 convictions including arson, vandalism and burglary, his lawyer eventually asked him why he had targeted church buildings.
Nixon told a story he had already told many times: He had been sexually and physically abused at a Catholic school, Marylands, in the 1970s. Any building with a steeple reminded him of the school in Halswell, Christchurch, which he attended from age 8 to 14.