The mother of a son who suffered at the hands of a paedophile priest and a man abused by a Marist Brother when he was just a boy have revealed their stories in a DVD.
Breaking the Silence: The Impact of Sexual Abuse by Church Personnel presents the testimony of two Maitland residents, Patricia Feenan and Bob O’Toole, in a confronting and unflinchingly honest account of their experiences.
The DVD was produced by Insights – an arm of Zimmerman Services in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle that was established in 2009 to explore the ongoing consequences of historic child sexual abuse in the diocese.
“I think this is a very worthwhile venture because it’s a way of getting the message out there about what this does to a family,” Ms Feenan said.
“Hopefully this DVD will help to educate people. So many people have opinions, but the truth will stand up all by itself.”
Late last year Ms Feenan released her book Holy Hell – Faith, betrayal, pain, courage, justice?, which tells the story of her son Daniel who was abused by Father James Patrick Fletcher.
Fletcher was eventually jailed for 10 years on nine charges of child sex abuse. He died in 2005, 14 months into his sentence.
Mr O’Toole was abused by a Marist Brother in the Newcastle area when he was a schoolboy.
In 2011 Mr O’Toole, along with wife Bev, helped form the Clergy Abused Network.
“I thought I was the only one, the only victim of this guy because when I asked if anyone had complained about him I was told no,” Mr O’Toole said.
“But I just knew that couldn’t be right and it wasn’t.”
q The DVD was released last night during an invitation only event in Newcastle.