DANIEL Feenan thanked two women yesterday for helping him deal with being sexually assaulted by a priest as a child.
The first was his mother, Patricia Feenan, who will launch her book about the church’s betrayal, Holy Hell, in Newcastle tomorrow.
The second was Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose decision to hold a royal commission into child sexual abuse ‘‘validated what happened’’ to him and sent a message to the many Catholics who refused to accept Father Jim Fletcher was a paedophile.
‘‘I cried, I don’t mind telling you. It was just a massive relief,’’ Mr Feenan said.
‘‘To actually have the Prime Minister say a royal commission was needed, told everyone that children were sexually assaulted by adults, and the government believed them.’’
Mr Feenan will be at his mother’s book launch at the Catholic Cathedral complex in Hunter Street at 5pm.
‘‘I’m proud of mum and dad and my family, and [Detective Chief Inspector] Peter Fox, the Newcastle Herald and the community for getting justice,’’ he said.
‘‘We got justice in 2005 when Fletcher was jailed, but a royal commission is final justice for everyone who has been sexually assaulted as a child, and their families.’’
In her book Mrs Feenan recounts the agony of supporting her son as he dealt with the anger and grief of being sexually abused, and through a trial, where many Catholics refused to accept the truth.
‘‘I was totally unprepared for the shock of denial and ostracism,’’ she said.
To buy the book: firstname.lastname@example.org