HE was the altar boy from a devout Catholic family who wanted to be a brilliant engineer like his father.
He stood in court on Friday, hands shaking and fragile, to tell a judge about life after he was sexually abused for two years by a Marist Brother, and how 20 years of mail sits unopened in plastic bags that fill his house.
He can’t stand paper after Brother Dominic, whose real name is Darcy O’Sullivan, walked the classroom decades ago and sexually abused boys as they sat doing school work, in view of other boys.
“Brother Dominic presented as very confident and urbane but would quickly descend to a deep and barely suppressed anger,” his victim told Judge Kate Traill during a sentencing hearing at Sydney District Court after O’Sullivan, 78, entered guilty pleas to sexual offences against eight victims.
The offences occurred at Marist Brothers Hamilton in the 1970s and at Casino in the early 1980s.
The victim who hoards because of the sexual abuse told Judge Trail that Brother Dominic became irritated and then angry when students asked questions.
“I never remember there being more than three questions,” he told the court.
“He would begin to walk quietly around the classroom for most of the period, the time of danger. Brother Dominic had complete physical power over me.”
His hoarding is a distressing consequence of the abuse, and the powerlessness he felt as a child.
“I was living with a family and in a community from which I was now disconnected because what was real to me was unimaginable to them.”
He told Judge Traill “my house contains large amounts of my hoarded possessions and parts of it are inaccessible. I have about 20 years of mail unopened in plastic bags.”
Barrister Sean Hughes for the Crown applied for O’Sullivan to be denied bail and held in custody until his sentencing some time after August 26.
Judge Traill continued bail after accepting defence arguments O’Sullivan did not represent an “unacceptable risk” to the community after three years of complying with bail conditions since he was first charged in May, 2013.
A Casino man who burnt down his house in a failed suicide attempt told the court in a written submission that he had a complete mental breakdown at the age of 19 after abuse by Brother Dominic.
It started with a meeting in Brother Dominic’s office after the boy’s mother spoke to Dominic, the then principal of a Catholic high school, about her concerns for her anxious son.
A third man, who was taught by Dominic at Marist Brothers Hamilton, was an altar boy with his young brother. They were taught the Marist Brothers were special men in the service of God, who were God’s representatives on earth.
“My faith in the Marist Brothers was destroyed by Brother Dominic O’Sullivan. I was no longer a pupil there to learn. I had become an object that Brother Dominic O’Sullivan could use for his own sexual gratification.”
The man told Judge Traill he felt betrayal, anger and hatred because of the sexual abuse, and the failure of adults around him to believe and respond.
“I fought with my parents constantly. They would not listen to my complaints about the behaviour of Brother Dominic. They could not accept that these crimes were perpetrated by a member of the Marist Brothers.”
The man was in tears as he spoke about students of Hunter Catholic schools who had committed suicide, and the number of Brothers and priests who were subsequently convicted of child sex offences.
“When I think of my young brother and my classmates, boys and men who have taken their own lives, I am filled with a deep sorrow,” he said.