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Sexual Abuse

Case Studies

Marist Brothers College, Canberra- Day Student

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

Case against Catholic Diocese for abuse by Parish Priest

Our client, MDC grew up in a small and regional town in Victoria. He was born into a working-class Catholic family and took great pride in his role as an altar boy. He attended the local Catholic Primary School which was on the same grounds as the Church and presbytery where the Parish Priest, Father Bryan Desmond Coffey lived.

In around 1974, MDC was sexually abused by Father Coffey when he was 11 years old. The abuse had a profound impact on him and consequently altered the rest of his life. He refused to attend church and left the town as soon as he was old enough to. MDC settled his case against the Church in 2000 for a very low sum as the statute of limitations was enforced and he was out of time to sue. He signed a Deed of Release which released the Diocese from paying him any more money.

TheStatute of Limitations was removed for child sexual abuse and a few years after that, MDC brought proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria against the Diocese. Fortunately, Justice Keogh of the Supreme Court of Victoria handed down a judgement in the matter of WCB v Roman Catholic Trusts Corporation for the Diocese of Saleand granted the application to set aside a deed of release in a historical sexual abuse claim. MDC sought damages for non-economic loss, past and future economic loss and treatment expenses. Shortly before the jury was empanelled for the trial, his case settled.

Case against Mt Penang Training School for Boys in the State of New South Wales

Our client, KPL had a tough start to life through no fault of his own. His family was suffering from intergenerational trauma and his mother was abusing drugs. His father was violent. When KLP was 10 years old he went to live with his maternal grandmother. His grandmother tried her best but KPL started to get into trouble for petty crimes.

In 1985 KPL was deemed uncontrollable by the Children’s Court and sentenced to Mt Penang Training School for Boys. KPL was sexually and physically abused by officers at Mt Penang when he was only 15 years old.

KPL brought proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW against the State of New South Wales for the abuse that occurred when he was in their care. The Court ordered that the parties participate in a mediation and KPL was able to settle his case.

At the conclusion of the case, KPL received an apology from the State of New South Wales for what happened to him and he felt as though he had finally stood up for the little boy who had been taken advantage of.

Cast against St Patricks College, Goulburn

Our client, AFS grew up in regional NSW. He attended the local primary school, helped on the farm, played with the kids on the street and rode his horse on the weekends. He lived an idyllic, innocent, and remote childhood. His family were catholic, and he attended church with them.

In 1978 , AFS was 12 and sent to boarding school in Goulburn NSW. There was a great legacy in the family in attending this school and he was excited about the opportunities. When he was in year 7, AFS was struggling with homesickness and under the guise of comfort, Brother Standen took advantage of him and sexually abused him. The abuse continued for most of year 7 and impacted AFS’s ability to concentrate. His grades depreciated and he ended up leaving school in year 10.

Proceedings were issued against the Trustees of the Christian Brothers in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The parties failed to settle his case at mediation and a hearing date was given. Three months before the hearing, the case settled and AFS received a written apology from the Trustees of the Christian Brothers.


I could write a book as to how the last 4 years would have been different if not for Tom and his team.
The support, assistance, advice from the first conversation till even after the settlement was second to none from the team at Stacks Goudkamp.
Four years on and after many downs, my children and I have our lives back.
We are unable to THANK YOU enough, but know that you have changed our lives for the better in so many ways since the accident.



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