The story of a priestly rape

13 September 2016 at 10.08am


Statement by victim CPA ( born in 1969; lived in Moree in 1978-1982, aged 9 to 13, with his parents and his siblings.).

"My mum was very religious. I was always a happy kid and enjoyed life.All my life I was very close with my dad. He was my
best mate until he died in 2005.

I was enrolled at St Philomena's Catholic Primary School [in Moree].Some time in 1980, when I was in year 5, I volunteered
to become an altar boy...I was excited when I became an altar boy as it was a big honour. There was a pool of around 10 or 12 altar boys.

Some time during the fourth term of school in 1981, Father Farrell came to the Moree parish as a new priest. I was
in year 6 at the time.

One afternoon during the summer of 1981/1982, I was at St Francis Xavier Church assisting Father Farrell with mass
preparation or some cleaning. I was in the cellar underneath the altar, which could only be accessed by a trapdoor and a ladder.
I think that I was in the cellar because Father Farrell asked me to clean the statues for the nativity scene.

While I was in the cellar, Father Farrell opened the trapdoor and climbed down the ladder. Without saying a word, he unzipped his pants and pulled out his semi-erect penis.The next thing I remember was that I was kneeling in front of Father Farrell and he held the back of my head and forced his penis into my mouth. Father Farrell then repeatedly pushed my head forwards to meet his penis, which caused me to start gagging. I felt like I was going to vomit. When he was doing this, I did not understand what
was going on.

Father Farrell ejaculated into my mouth, on my face and down the front of my t-shirt. He the zipped up his pants and climbed up the ladder and left the church. He did not say anything to me.

As soon as I heard Father Farrell's footsteps leaving the church, I climbed up the ladder and ran to the presbytery next to the church. I told Monsignor Ryan that Father Farrell had hurt me. Monsignor Ryan then placed his hand on my shoulder and he
told me, 'It's okay, I'll sort it out', or 'I'll fix it up', or words to that effect.

I then ran home and continued with the day as if nothing had happened.

The following morning I returned to St Francis Xavier Church as I had been rostered on by Father Farrell to assist with the morning mass. I arrived around one hour before the service. When I entered the church, Father Farrell was standing behind the altar. No-one else was in the church. As I walked in, Father Farrell looked at me and acknowledged me without saying a word. I did not feel scared at the time because I had been told by Monsignor Ryan that he would deal with Father Farrell. I continued walking down the altar.

As I approached the altar, Father Farrell grabbed my left arm and dragged me behind the altar. Father Farrell bent me over what I think was a single pew behind the altar. Father Farrell then pulled down my shorts and underpants. Father Farrell placed his finger inside my anus. This was  very painful, but not as painful as when he placed his erect penis in my anus moments later. The pain was immediate and excruciating. I remember the rotten smell of his breath as he pushed his penis in and out of my anus. While Father Farrell's face was pressed against mine, he leaned closely into my ear and said in a clear, whispered voice,
'If you tell anyone about this I will kill you and your family.'

After Father Farrell stopped raping me, I pulled up my pants and ran home. When I got home, I desperately needed to go to the toilet. I remember pulling down my pants and seeing a pool of blood in my underpants. I tried to clean my underpants by crubbing them, but it did not work, so I threw them out.

I did not tell my parents what Father Farrell did to me because I thought he would kill me and my family if I did.

For around a week after I was raped by Father Farrell,I felt pain in my anus. It hurt every time I went to the toilet because the tearing around my anus would split and re-split.

After Father Farrell raped me, I stopped being an altar boy. I began to hate going to church, so I stopped going. Since Farrell raped me I have been to church no more than 10 times.

There were times, such as during mass at Christmas in 1981, when I had to go to church with mum

In 1982, I started year 7 at Moree high school and no longer had anything to do with Father Farrell. I never spoke to Monsignor Ryan after I told him that Father Farrell had hurt me. I felt let down by Monsignor Ryan because I trusted him and I thought that he would help me.

After being raped by Father Farrell, I started getting into trouble at school and developing a problem with people in positions of authority. I wagged school a lot and when I was at school I would have fights with other students.

I lasted at Moree high school for about six weeks before I was moved to Courallie high on the other side of town. I started to lose the plot and it was at this time I began to steal cars and commit other petty crimes. From the age of 13 to 18 I was in and out of court a lot for all sorts of crimes.

At the beginning of 1983 my family moved from Moree to Sydney. I was enrolled at a local Catholic school and kept getting into trouble. After moving to Sydney my issues with people in authority progressively got worse and I did not accept or trust anyone in a position of authority.

When I was 14 or 15 years old I stole a police car
after a police officer told me to wake up to myself and go
home. I had zero respect for authority. Whenever I saw a
priest walking down a street I would spit in their face and
keep walking. I didn't care if I lived or died. I was

When I was 14 I left school and got a job in a
wrecking yard. This job was great as I was getting paid to
smash things up.

As a teenager, I drank a lot and I smoked marijuana
regularly. I would drink until I was written off. I did
this every couple of months. I rode motorbikes that I had
stolen as fast as I could and I didn't care if I fell off.
I also often had nightmares about Father Farrell
during my teenage years. I literally would feel him
grabbing me and pulling my pants and underpants down and
I would wake up muffling a scream. The nightmares or
'Farrell moments', as I called them, made me feel dirty.

In 1990, I went to Long Bay Gaol after going to court
for stealing a car. It was also around this time that
found out that I had a daughter from a one-night stand a
few years earlier.

In 1991, I crashed a motorbike which I had stolen.
I have a scar which runs from the bottom of
my ribcage to the bottom of my stomach. I punctured both
lungs, ripped my liver, broke my ribs and scratched my

After the motorbike accident, and particularly after
my two youngest children were born in the mid-1990s,
I became more settled. I found it difficult to hold down the same job for
long periods of time and still had problems with people in

In November 2005 my dad died. It was within a few
hours after dad dying that I finally disclosed to another
person that I had been raped as a child.
I did not want to tell anyone before dad died because
I thought if my dad found out that I was raped he would
have killed the person who did it. I told my mum that I'd
been raped when we lived in Moree. My sister was also
present and heard me say that to my mum.

I'm not sure if mum heard me. She was in shock. She'd just lost her
partner of 40 years. I felt relieved that I had finally
told someone. It was a huge weight off my shoulders.
Around 18 month or two years after dad's funeral
I told mum that the person who raped me in Moree was
Father Farrell. I was living with mum at the time and
I recall that we had this conversation in the evening. Mum
was shocked when I told her this.

I decided not to do anything further after telling
mum. I was happy for the matter to be done and dusted.
It was not until 2012 that I decided to report
Father Farrell to the police. In July 2012, I was
listening to a radio show and they were
talking about a priest in Moree who sexually abused
children. When I heard this, I completely broke down.
I called in to the show and spoke to a producer. I told
him about my own abuse and he arranged that I would be
interviewed [on the radio program] the following day.
I called mum and told her that she should listen to
the interview. The radio interview was the first
time that I told anyone in specific detail about being
raped by Father Farrell. When the interview was finished,
mum called me and was balling her eyes out.

After the interview, [the radio producer]  encouraged me to make a formal complaint to
police. I made a complaint to Sergeant Glen Coleman in January
2013. I made a second statement to police two weeks later
and a third statement in August 2014.
The police were fantastic from the first meeting that
I had with Sergeant Coleman. They made the court process
as easy and relaxed as it could be. Even though the police
from the Sex Crimes Squad have the scummiest job, they
always had a smile on their face. I can't thank the police
enough for everything that they did for me, my mum and my
partner. I still occasionally speak to Sergeant Coleman on
the phone and consider him to be a friend.

I found the court process at the District Court to be
honest. I felt that justice was served when Father Farrell
was sentenced to 28 years for crimes committed against me
and other children.

What Father Farrell did to me changed my life forever.
It changed me in every way. I stopped caring about school.
I went from a happy kid who used to go motorbike riding, go
to the pool, play soccer and have fun, to someone who
I didn't like. I went on to self-destruct. Anyone in
authority was an instant enemy.

I spent many years completely off the rails.
I don't sleep well and will only sleep four to five
hours a night. In 2003, I thought about going to sleep and not waking
up. I bought a petrol generator and I was going to start
it in the laundry and wait until I went to sleep.
Everything became too hard. My daughter stopped me from
turning on the generator. I think that she saved my life.

I have never been able to commit to work. I couldn't
handle bosses telling me what to do so would often change
jobs. Sometimes I'd be sacked for fighting with bosses or
other employees. This didn't happen a lot because I could
feel it coming on, I could feel the anger building and I'd
just stop showing up or resign.
I do not trust people.

It has only been since dealing
with the Sex Crimes Squad at Parramatta that I have started
to trust people in authority. Making my statement to
police was the turning point for me. It was the first time
that anyone in authority had believed me.

I do not have many close friends. I lost contact with
all of my old friends from Moree when I moved to Sydney.
It was not until the court case against Father Farrell that
I saw some of the kids that I grew up with in Moree.

I hate all religions because of what happened to me.
I hate the Catholic Church. I think that the world would
be a much better place if there was no religion. My mum
has lost her faith in the Catholic Church and is now a
Jehovah's Witness.

Since the moment my kids were born, I have been
hyper-vigilant around them. When they were growing up,
I didn't let them go to camps or have sleep-overs. Since
the age of two, I have told them if anyone touches them
they are to tell me or their mum, and to tell nan and pop
if mum or me touches them. I made it clear that they would
never get in trouble for telling the truth. My kids
suffered because of my paranoia.
I hope that my statement to the Royal Commission
encourages other kids who were raped by Father Farrell, and
have not made a report, to come forward. I hope that my
statement gives them strength to report Father Farrell to
the police as I did."