A FEMALE supporter of one of the Marist Brothers’ most senior educators hissed “rotten sods” to his two child sex victims as he was jailed on Friday for offences four decades ago.
The verbal abuse helps explain why child sex victims can take many years to report the crimes, said one of Brother William Wade’s victims, who was sexually abused at Hamilton Marist school in 1976 when he was 13 and Wade was the headmaster known as Brother Christopher.
“He’s been convicted but they still don’t believe he did it. These men have always had their believers. What hope would a kid have had back then if he’d said Brother Christopher did these things to me?” said the man.
Wade, 81, was sentenced to 18 months’ jail, with a minimum sentence of nine months, after he was found guilty in a judge-alone trial of three counts of indecently assaulting two boys at Hamilton Marist school, and Kogarah Marist school in 1980.
Sydney District Court Judge David Arnott accepted his victims’ evidence that Wade sexually abused them in his school offices after both boys turned to him for help when they were sick and in pain.
Wade sexually abused his first victim after the boy complained of feeling sick and was taken into the headmaster’s office by a female school administrative staff member, who left the boy in the office and shut the door.
Wade called the boy to him with the words: “Come and sit on my knee darling, and tell me all about it.”
Wade put his arm around the boy’s waist and his hand down his shorts where he fondled the boy’s genitals.
Judge Arnott accepted evidence that Wade committed a similar act at the Kogarah school four years later when a boy in severe pain with a twisted testicle was taken into the headmaster’s office and the door was shut.
Wade asked the boy if he could see his genitals and knelt in front of him.
“He said words to the effect of ‘This might help you’, and put the boy’s penis in his mouth,” Judge Arnott said.
Hospital records showed the boy was admitted to St George Hospital later that day for treatment.
The two men separately reported the offences to police in July, 2015 and July, 2016, when Wade was charged.
One of his victims cried outside the court while talking about the impact of child sex offences on people’s lives, after the court heard he had still not told his mother of the sexual abuse.
“People don’t understand the damage it does to the victims. Even after all these years it still affects me. And it’s not just the victims themselves who are affected. For every victim there’s layers of other victims. The families. The suicides.”
The “Rotten sods” comment from one of Wade’s supporters was a shock, but not a surprise.
“What are these people thinking? That we made this up? That we went through all this, for what?”
Wade’s earliest release date is August 2, 2018. Judge Arnott said he was required to sentence him under the sentences that applied at the time of the offences.
Wade was an “opportunistic” offender who committed gross breaches of trust against his victims, and relied on his authority and position as a headmaster to silence the boys, the judge said.