The victims of child abuse in Salvation Army homes spoke about their experiences in the first public hearing in Sydney before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for 2014. On Jan 28, the commission began its fifth inquiry into the case.
Abuse victims claimed young boys were kept in a cage for days and raped in Salvation Army homes during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. According to revelations in the public hearing, Salvation Army leaders failed to impose discipline or remove those who committed abuses permanently. Perpetrators were simply transferred to other homes where abuses continue.
Mr Beckett said the focus of the hearing would be the response of the Salvation Army and government agencies to charges of child sex abuse inside the homes for boys located in Indooroopilly, Riverview Training Farm in Queensland, Bexley Boys home in North Bexley and the Gill Memorial Home in Golbourn.
The Royal Commission will focus on the alleged abuse on young boys aged 6 to 17 years old by Salvation Army officers Russell Walker, Laurence Wilson, Victor Bennett, Donald Schultz and John McIver.
Based on testimonies heard by the commission, Mr Beckett said the boys were punched, thrown on the ground and hit with straps until they bled or had welts on their bodies. The boys were anally raped by officers and forced to have oral sex with their house parents. The victims were also abused by other boys in homes.
One witness, who is only known as ES, is expected to tell the commission that he was locked in a cage in the Riverview home for nine days. After he was released from the cage, his house parent Mr Bennett allegedly sodomised him.
Mr McIver was named as the one who broke a boy's arm and refused to let a boy go to a hospital for a dislocated shoulder. He allegedly forced the boy's injured shoulder to go "back into its socket."
Mr Beckett said the victims of abuse had complained but no one believed them. Those who complained were severely punished.
The Royal Commission is set to hear from two former house parents in Salvation Army homes, Cliff and Marina Randall, who were dismissed after complaining about Mr McIver. According to reports, only three out of five officers being charged are still alive. They have denied allegations of child abuse.
The inquiry continues as more details of the investigation are revealed.
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