Orphanage abuse victims sue
VICTIMS of sex abuse and physical torture at a Geelong orphanage have launched legal action against the State Government seeking millions of dollars in compensation.
The class action involves 14 male victims who were aged between 10 and 14 at the time of the abuse at Newtown's St Augustine's Orphanage in the 1960s.
Papers will be lodged in the Supreme Court soon and will allege the State Government failed to protect the children that were placed in its care as wards of the state.
It can also be revealed that sex predator and Christian brother Robert Charles Best will be sued after he is sentenced in August for 27 offences between the 1960s and 1980s at three different Victorian schools, including Geelong's St Joseph's College.
The Christian Brothers will also be sued in a separate law suit relating to Best's sexual abuse of 11 young boys.
The law suits are expected to be for millions of dollars as the victims struggle with ongoing health issues and with more victims expected to come forward and detail their abuse.
Barrister Dr Vivian Waller is heading up all the law suits and she told the Geelong Advertiser yesterday it was time to make someone accountable for the ongoing trauma her 25 clients faced. She said the children at St Augustine's were victims of corporal punishment, rape, sex attacks, beatings and other physical abuse.
"They were subjected to long-term abuse. It was terrible," Dr Waller said.
"There is no doubt children were targeted by some Brothers and were abused in the Brothers' dorms.
"The Government needed to ensure these children were supervised. There are a large number of sexual assaults and physical abuse it's hard to imagine they were properly supervised."
Best, 70, appeared in the County Court this week and his victims looked him in the eye as they detailed the impact his cruel acts had on them, including depression and suicidal thoughts.
Best, who has close links to Cardinal George Pell, pleaded guilty to six sex abuse charges related to three boys aged between 11 and 12.