A series of stories has revealed the shocking scale and enduring impact of decades of sexual abuse by Marist Brothers and Fathers. But as National Correspondent Steve Kilgallon explains, yet more survivors are now coming forward and the story is far from over.
“I was in tears reading your story,” says Dave Thomas (not his real name), of seeing the first in Stuff’s nine-part series about sexual abuse by the Marist Brothers and Fathers, two powerful Catholic religious groups.
Then, says Thomas, he sat and read it all over again. The story focused on a prolific abuser, Marist Brother Kevin ‘Brother Giles’ Waters, who never faced justice during his long teaching career.
Thomas says he too was raped by Waters, his rugby coach, while a student at Auckland’s Sacred Heart in the late 1980s. He says when he tried to complain to the principal, he was dismissed. Waters then repeatedly warned him to stay quiet, and made his life miserable, vandalising his bike, and ostracising him from his friends until he left school early, at 17.
Waters, he says, “was an absolute monster … I was absolutely petrified of him”. He’s certain Waters had realised he would complain, “so I was completely victimised – and no one believed me in the end.” Thomas also named another Brother, still alive, as abusing him later in his school career.