Our client, HMD was the only child born into a working classcatholic family. His parents saved up to send him to what they thought would be a school that provided him with the best education possible.
In 1984, HMD began year 7 at Marist Brothers College, Canberra. He was a bright, confident, and excited about the next chapter of high school.
Part way through term 1 of year 7, HMD started to get abused by Brother Kostka Chute. The abuse was severe and repetitive throughout the school year. HMD developed anxiety about attending school and his parents took him to the general practitioner for treatment. The general practitioner prescribed valium for his anxiety and he was sent back to school. The abuse escalated and continued until part way through year 8.
In year 9, HMD refused to attend school. He continued to cut classes and eventually convinced his parents to allow him to leave Marist Brothers College, Canberra. He started to use alcohol and drugs to drown out the memories. He attended the local public school where he continued to abuse drugs and eventually left as there was no merit in staying at school. He could not be in an environment where male teachers were telling him what to do.
HMD became an alcoholic and a heroin addict. He was never arrested, even though he sold enough drugs to support a $1,000 per day heroin habit. His life continued down a trajectory self-destruction. When HMD was in his 40’s, he found the courage to tell his parents about what happened when he was a child at Marist Brothers College, Canberra. They encouraged him to come forward about it and he brought proceedings in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory against the Trustees of the Marist Brothers. HMD claimed general damages, exemplary damages, past and future economic loss and future medical expenses. During the case, he spent large periods of time in a rehabilitation centre for alcohol abuse.
HMD settled his case against the Trustees of the Marist Brothers prior to hearing. His parents felt strongly that they had made sacrifices to pay for what was meant to be the best education available and in part, blamed themselves for allowing it to happen. There is no doubt that Brother Kostka Chute and the Trustees of the Marist Brothers were to blame for HMD’s abuse.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse dedicated case study 13 to the responses of the Marist Brothers to allegations of child sexual abuse against Brother Kostka Chute and Gregory Sutton. A link to the report can be found at