IT was naive to think that the Marist Brothers would treat survivors with anything but contempt at the negotiating table, says one Hunter victim who was abused by two different brothers in the 1970s.
The man, who did not wish to be named, said he shouldn't have been surprised.
"I innocently thought that this was going to be the final chance for them to have an apology, but what I got was a business interested in spending as much money as they could to give away as little as they could," he said.
"I came away from the negotiating table exhausted."
Anyone can say sorry, he said, but they had an opportunity to show it, maybe even to say "here's a little bit extra'.
His matter was dragged out for years and in the end, he estimates that the Marist Brothers spent $150,000 to give him less than half of that.
"Whatever I got, it cost more than double," he said.
"The process was to drag it out for as long as possible. They went in and low-balled from the start, they questioned my credibility, and I felt I was cut short by at least $60,000. It was very good business, but there was no end to what they were prepared to spend.
"They'll spend hundreds of thousands on the lawyers because I suppose we have got to watch the flood, and the flood is coming. At the end of the day I was under duress."
The man gave evidence at the child abuse royal commission - evidence which was accepted, and validated by the commissioners.
He went to the same school as Andrew Nash, who died by suicide at the age of 13, in 1974.
Audrey Nash, Andrew's mother, gave evidence at the commission that within two hours of Andrew's death a number of priests and Marist Brothers came to the house. They included Francis William Cable, aka Brother Romuald Cable, and Brother Christopher Wade. The brothers delivered a statement to the royal commission with regard to Andrew Nash's death, saying that the evidence points to Andrew having been sexually abused before he took his life.
That story, and the stories of other survivors are told in the Walkley-award winning three-part series Revelation which, after airing on the ABC for the first time in 2020, is now available on Netflix.
"We are delighted that people like Audrey Nash and Geoffrey Nash, who trusted us with their stories, because this gives them another platform," director Nial Fuller said.
The program is being aired in Australia and New Zealand and may also travel to other territories, he said.
"We just felt that every opportunity we could find to give the survivors a platform we will take. For us to get Netflix on board, it does allow us to get that out to a much broader audience."
Where to get help:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14, lifeline.org.au
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, suicidecallbackservice.org.au
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 635, beyondblue.org.au
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800, kidshelpline.com.au
- SANE: 1800 18 7263, sane.org
- Headspace: 1800 650 890, headspace.org.au
- MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978, mensline.org.au