Neerkol victim’s harrowing account of sexual abuse

SHE was bound up in a large, rusty chain of corruption, deception and sexual abuse.

And the only way she could find solace was by singing to herself the lyrics "please release me, let me go".

Witness AYB, a pseudonym for a 67-year-old woman who was a former Neerkol Orphanage resident, was sexually abused by pedophile priest Father Reginald Durham during her time at the facility.

In her testimony, AYB was a little over 21 years old when she married her husband.

AYB was married at Neerkol by Fr Durham because he was considered family.

"When we got married, Fr Durham would not let my husband look at me walking down the aisle... he told him to face the altar," AYB stated.

"Only Fr Durham had that joy. This still makes me sad when I think about it."


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On Christmas Eve, when AYB was 11 years old, Fr Durham dropped off presents he had been minding for her. She was under her family's house with Fr Durham when he said to her, "Father deserves a kiss for looking after your presents".

She said Fr Durham then kissed her using his tongue and fondled her breasts.

When she was about 12 years old, AYB on several occasions was sexually abused by Fr Durham.

She stated after Fr Durham had sexually abused her, he would take a thin purple stole with gold crosses out of his pocket, kiss it and put it around her neck.

He would then hear her confession.

She estimates he abused her more than 100 times.


Topics:  neerkol inquiry neerkol orphanage rockhampton sexual abuse

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